Militarization of Police

SWAT Q and A

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I recently did an interview with the Raleigh News and Observer on the use of SWAT teams.

The hook for the interview was the SWAT shooting death of Wilmington college student Peyton Strickland late last year.

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  1. I don’t know how topical this is, but is anyone else disturbed by that “Armed and Famous” TV show? I mean, if policing is dangerous enough that various civil liberties have to be curtailed for the safety of police, why are they taking poorly trained cops-for-a-day and camera crews with them?

  2. They kicked me off the Cop Talk forum for suggesting that Peyton Strickland was shot through his door. Jerks.

  3. Radley:

    Keep up the good work. I only wish that a more reasonable police force would be exposed to your findings and your reporting.

  4. I can’t see the SWAT teams consenting to wearing or carrying a video camera, strictly on the basis that any violation of procedure or negligence could be caught on tape and used against them.

  5. I can’t see the SWAT teams consenting to wearing or carrying a video camera, strictly on the basis that any violation of procedure or negligence could be caught on tape and used against them.

    It would be a great chance to use the “If you’ve got nothing to hide…” line.

  6. David

    “It would be a great chance to use the “If you’ve got nothing to hide…” line.”

    Kudos. Hadn’ thot o’ tha’.

  7. Well that, and the fact that unlike citizens, government agents should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

  8. Was it a screen or storm door that Long fired through or was it a real door?

  9. A disappointingly brief article, but thanks for the link, Radley, and I thought you made your points well.

  10. @ tijjer:

    I would hope a SWAT team wasn’t using a battering ram on a screen door, but who knows…

  11. I live in Wilmington. The 3 cops were sent out of town almost immediately to protect them due to threats being received. One was fired and a grand jury indicted him on murder charges. Then a day or two later it came out that the jury checked the wrong box on the form and he wasn’t indicted (I wonder if somebody changed their mind for them). I think the DA is still pursuing charges against him. The shooter was responsible for a shooting in the past where he was cleared.

    There were guns on the premises, but unloaded in the back room, unless more recent news has been reported that changes this detail. I recall that the original article in the Wilmington Star News said that they were “registered”- the person writing the article presumably doesn’t know NC gun laws and assumes “legal” means “registered”. There is no gun registration here.

    I linked a story in the Wilmington Star that summarizes some of the details of this story. If you search their archives you can probably find some of the original stories.

    I think that they shot through a hard door and could see his face through small windows in the door. That is my impression of what I’ve read.

    http://wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061231/NEWS/612310407&SearchID=73268466310504

  12. The cops were raffling off a PS3 at one point to raise money for the cop’s family. They changed it to a tv after getting bitched at about it.

    http://wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061222/NEWS/612220385&SearchID=73268467497247

  13. Another guy that wrote an article with a similar viewpoint to Radley- that the system that put the cops in the situation is to blame.

    http://wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061229/OPINION04/612290307&SearchID=73268467497247

  14. Currence,

    I would agree, but I can’t wrap my mind around an officer mistaking a battering ram for gunfire when he is *right there* watching a door get rammed down and then firing past other officers into a door. It is too baffling to take seriously, but maybe that’s what happened. I thought it more likely that several officers were at the front door and several at the back.

    And the reason I ask what type of door is to try and determine whether Long could see what he was shooting at. Even your average Tenderfoot scout knows not to fire at what you can’t see.

  15. I am also troubled by the fact that he, standing there witnessing the battering ram activity, was startled by it and started shooting. The evidence suggests to me that he is trigger happy. The previous shooting that he was involved with was somewhat questionable too, but he was acquitted of any wrong doing, as they always are.

  16. And the reason I ask what type of door is to try and determine whether Long could see what he was shooting at. Even your average Tenderfoot scout knows not to fire at what you can’t see.

    If that drawing of the door on the Internet is accurate, then ex-Officer Long could see plenty.

    The battering ram thing does seem week.

    Maybe Ex-Officer Long shot because Strickland was taunting them or asking to see the warrant. Po po’s don’t have to show you the warrant I don’t think, but I have found that just asking can make some of them pretty angry.

    maybe ex-officer Long shot because he thought Strickland was running away from the front door to get a gun and take up a sniping position.

    Either of these explanations seem likelier than the battering ram thing.

    it is funny to see LEO’s complaining about grand jury process on Strickland thds at other boards. Where you been, Big Blue Buddies?

  17. I can’t let the police off by saying it is their bosses fault for putting them in this situation. If my boss told me to do something that I considered wrong I would not do it. Maybe the cops don’t not only think what they are doing is not wrong but they are happy to do it?

  18. Opps…double negative. I meant to write “Maybe the cops don’t only think..”

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