Militarization of Police

Meanwhile, Back in Lima…

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The New York Times takes note of the botched Lima, Ohio drug raid from earlier this month:

A SWAT team arrived at Ms. Wilson's rented house in the Southside neighborhood early in the evening of Jan. 4 to arrest her companion, Anthony Terry, on suspicion of drug dealing, said Greg Garlock, Lima's police chief. Officers bashed in the front door and entered with guns drawn, said neighbors who saw the raid.

Moments later, the police opened fire, killing Ms. Wilson, 26, and wounding her 14-month-old son, Sincere, Chief Garlock said. One officer involved in the raid, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, a 31-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Beyond these scant certainties, there is mostly rumor and rage. The police refuse to give any account of the raid, pending an investigation by the Ohio attorney general.

The Times uses the raid to jump into a discussion of Lima's volatile relations between blacks and police, and certainly the raid has blown the lid off those tensions. But it's hard to see how race factored into the raid. Wilson's boyfriend was dealing drugs (though, it appears, not from Wilson's house, which is what was raided). Whether or not police targeted him because he was black seems irrelevant. The issue here is the tactics—whether it's appropriate to go kicking down doors for drug crimes, particularly when there children and innocent bystanders inside.

Incidentally, it's now been four weeks since Wilson was shot to death and her one-year-old son wounded in this raid. And the police still won't say what happened.

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  1. Well shit, Radley, why would the Times give a crap about the reasons for the raid when it’s so much jucier to have racial tension in America? Gotsta have people hating each other, rather than the government, right?

  2. “And the police still won’t say what happened.”

    And they never will.

    They legally murdered this woman, its murder by policy. The officers will be found to have followed all ‘polices and procedures’ the woman will be found to have caused her death by her own actions, they will issue an apology and condolences for the tragic event, and will be sure to point out that events like this are exactly why the war on drugs needs to be won.

    Then some pregnant cute white woman will disappear and everyone will forget all about it.

  3. These guy have seen too many Elliot Ness reruns.They can’t accept that they are fighting a losing battle and causing the same problems he did.

  4. I think the Times lack of concern over the tactics would be another example of the old joke NYT headline “World to End Tommorow; Minorities and Women Hurt Worst”. The fact that police are gunning innocent people down can never in the Times view be as important as the fact that it is disproportionatly effecting minorities.

  5. kanabiis | January 31, 2008, 2:10pm | #

    “And the police still won’t say what happened.”

    And they never will.

    The race-politics aspect of it may have the effect of putting the whole episode under a microscope. I suspect that the cops know that and are now exercising their own Miranda rights. i.e. They are in shit so deep that they’ll need a bathyscape to get out.

    Otherwise, they would probably have made some sort of bullshit cover story by now.

  6. Sad, to say, but it was a good thing for those of us opposed to the drug war that a small child was harmed. Some will blame the couple for having drugs in the house, but many will see that a child was injured because of excessive police action.

  7. nick,
    most would probably, sadly, blame that on the parents. it’s been pointed out many times on these boards: drug use or sale is a hellish sin and the greatest threat to america (also, islamists and communists and drunk drivers are each the greatest threat to america) and instantly turn your children into soulless criminals the instant they are touched by one of these people; therefore, all rules are out the window.

    and this is why i dont read the times much anymore.

  8. I don’t like the race angle in the story, but heck, at least it actually made the paper. At least the NCAAP is trying to do something about this. What is the ACLU of Virginia doing for Ryan Frederick? Are there any other organizations helping other victims of these raids? It’s going to take angry marches and bad publicity for the politicians involved before any of this changes.

    If the cops would actually use their noggins for a change, maybe they could convince their unions to put a stop these stormtrooper raids that endanger the officers as much as anyone.

    These stories need to be in the mainstream press, however they are told.

  9. Err, NAACP, that is…

  10. So much for silver linings. Just shoot me now.

    What would happen if 100,000 libertarians showed up on the Mall in DC and just starting smoking pot?

  11. I’m sure this was just another isolated incident. Besides, given the suspicious bulge in Sincere’s diaper and his refusal to obey instructions to “freeze” and put his hands over his head, it was perfectly reasonable for the cop to believe the kid was about to draw down on him and therefore justified in the shooting.

  12. Uhm…they’d all be shot, and 100,000 dogs would be purchased and then killed by police officers who were “afraid for their safety.”

  13. The Times uses the raid to jump into a discussion of Lima’s volatile relations between blacks and police, and certainly the raid has blown the lid off those tensions. But it’s hard to see how race factored into the raid.

    It’s the New York Times. If it takes perceived racial tensions to get them interested, then I guess that’s what it takes. Mere police brutality doesn’t much interest the mainstream media. There has to be a racial component, otherwise it doesn’t fit into the three-ring-circus format that is mainstream news.

  14. Methinks Johnny Clarke owns a dog?

  15. What would happen if 100,000 libertarians showed up on the Mall in DC and just starting smoking pot?

    10,000 libertarians showing up in front of city hall or the state capitol would have a big effect.

  16. Nick,

    They’ll say it’s the mother’s irresponsibility that caused the child’s injuries because she kept company with dangerous people. I read this sort of reasoning in the comments section of a news article about a 6-year-old girl who was near-fatally shot trying to defend her mother from a crazed ex-boyfriend: “what kind of mother would endanger her child, blah blah blah”. In America, we blame the victim.

    CL

  17. Probably the libertarians would be confused with librarians and the FBI would get all Nylon Queen Edgar on those bookpeddlers’ asses!

  18. The first difficulty is finding 10,000 libertarians. The second difficulty is to make the actual populace give a damn.

    First might be feasible, but good luck on the second.

  19. It would definitely have to be coupled with an MLK type speech by a famous person. Penn and Drew Carey are probably not good enough.

  20. Even if you find 10,000 libertarians willing to do something en masse (and the original posting suggested 100,000 anyway) how many would be willing to smoke pot just because you’re supposed to if you call yourself a libertarian?

    And how many would carry concealed for the same reason?

    Can someone who doesn’t smoke pot, but loves his guns (like me) still come as a libertarian? Are all those cops – the ones who (say they) don’t smoke dope, and love their guns – libertarians too?

    Could someone in the know point me to a libertarian hand-book somewhere? I get confused sometimes.

  21. How ’bout a general march where we demand free markets and indvidual liberty? Marajuana is a tiny piece of the larger problem.

  22. KD

    One of the best things about libertarianism is that there is very little that you are required to do, other than respect the rights of others.

    I suspect if any “Official Libertarian” were to try to regulate the group, a lot of those “concealed” weapons might suddenly be unconcealed.

  23. The first difficulty is finding 10,000 libertarians. The second difficulty is to make the actual populace give a damn.

    The next difficulty would be getting 100,000* (not 10,000) pot smokers to remember the appointment.

    As we can see, we can’t even remember the original number of 100,000 from one post to the next.

    Far out man.

  24. Aresen

    One of the best things about libertarianism is that there is very little that you are required to do, other than respect the rights of others.

    I suspect if any “Official Libertarian” were to try to regulate the group, a lot of those “concealed” weapons might suddenly be unconcealed.

    Yah I figured – I was just tryin’ to start something, and thought I’d see if I could do satire (- apparently not -).

    It was either that, pulling out my remaining hair, pistol whipping my computer, or taking an axe to my cable connection, over another story about the shit that keeps oozing out of the “justice system”!

    You know, sometimes I understand why certain kings and/or generals took to shooting the messenger.

  25. As we can see, we can’t even remember the original number of 100,000 from one post to the next.

    Or apparently understand basic arguments. My point being that 10,000 protestors (of anything) in front of city hall or a state capitol will have more effect than 100,000 protestors standing around on the Mall blocking the tourists.

  26. Uh, yeah, Lord knows race has never played a role in generating public support for oppressive police tactics. Especially when drugs are involved.

    People tolerate the War on Drugs because its victims are primarly poor and/or minorities.

  27. People tolerate the War on Drugs because its victims are primarly poor and/or minorities.

    Exactly. How many people frown on college debauchery, for example, in the same way as other forms of much milder fun? It’s socially acceptable, and — not coincidentally — done by a disproportionately white and affluent population.

  28. Nobody ever has any trouble understanding the racial aspects of the drug war when the subject is the cocaine/crack sentencing disparity.

    But heaven forbid the New York Times mention race, and then everybody forgets exactly the same points that they themselves used to bring up.

  29. joe

    The role of racism in the history of drug legislation is undeniable. However, I think the point here is abusive police tactics in general, not whether the victims in this case were black or hispanic. Focusing on the racial aspect will obscure the issue of whether the tactics or the WOD are wrong.

  30. What Aresen said.

    If we merely take these police organizations to task for beating up on brown people, the point is missed. We need to take them to task for beating up people, period.

  31. How about this? We get 90,000 libertarians with guns to escort the 10,000 pot smokers to the D.C. Mall (which is in front of the Capitol Building so the City Hall comment is weak) and protect and defend them while they light up. I’m neither a pot smoker nor a gun owner (not today anyway) but I fully support the right of everyone to both.

    I’ll be happy to send out reminders to the pot-smokers, so the gun owners don’t have to do it.

  32. “””People tolerate the War on Drugs because its victims are primarly poor and/or minorities.”””

    Depends on how you define victim. The rich get busted and go to rehab. Does that count? Not at the same level of course. The cops usually don’t bust in and start shooting on them.

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