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.