Drug Policy

4.5 SWAT Raids Per Day

Maryland's SWAT transparency bill produces its first disturbing results

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Cheye Calvo's July 2008 encounter with a Prince George's County, Maryland, SWAT team is now pretty well-known: After intercepting a package of marijuana at a delivery service warehouse, police completed the delivery, in disguise, to the address on the package. That address belonged to Calvo, who also happened to be the mayor of the small Prince George's town of Berwyn Heights. When Calvo's mother-in-law brought the package in from the porch, the SWAT team pounced, forcing their way into Calvo's home. By the time the raid was over, Calvo and his mother-in-law had been handcuffed for hours, police realized they'd made a mistake, and Calvo's two black Labradors lay dead on the floor from gunshot wounds.

As a result of this colossal yet not-unprecedented screw-up, plus Calvo's notoriety and persistence, last year Maryland became the first state in the country to make every one of its police departments issue a report on how often and for what purpose they use their SWAT teams. The first reports from the legislation are in, and the results are disturbing.

Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.

Worse even than those dreary numbers is the fact that more than half of the county's SWAT deployments were for misdemeanors and nonserious felonies. That means more than 100 times last year Prince George's County brought state-sanctioned violence to confront people suspected of nonviolent crimes. And that's just one county in Maryland. These outrageous numbers should provide a long-overdue wake-up call to public officials about how far the pendulum has swung toward institutionalized police brutality against its citizenry, usually in the name of the drug war. 

But that's unlikely to happen, at least in Prince George's County. To this day, Sheriff Michael Jackson insists his officers did nothing wrong in the Calvo raid—not the killing of the dogs, not neglecting to conduct any corroborating investigation to be sure they had the correct house, not failing to notify the Berwyn Heights police chief of the raid, not the repeated and documented instances of Jackson's deputies playing fast and loose with the truth.

Jackson, who's now running for county executive, is incapable of shame. He has tried to block Calvo's efforts to access information about the raid at every turn. Last week, Prince George's County Circuit Judge Arthur M. Ahalt ruled that Calvo's civil rights suit against the county can go forward. But Jackson has been fighting to delay the discovery process in that suit until federal authorities complete their own investigation into the raid. That would likely (and conveniently) prevent Prince George's County voters from learning any embarrassing details about the raid until after the election.

But there is some good news to report here, too. The Maryland state law, as noted, is the first of its kind in the country, and will hopefully serve as a model for other states in adding some much-needed transparency to the widespread use and abuse of SWAT teams. And some Maryland legislators want to go even further. State Sen. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George's), for example, wants to require a judge's signature before police can deploy a SWAT team. Muse has sponsored another bill that would ban the use of SWAT teams for misdemeanor offenses. The latter seems like a no-brainer, but it's already facing strong opposition from law enforcement interests. Police groups opposed the transparency bill, too.

Beyond policy changes, the Calvo raid also seems to have also sparked media and public interest in how SWAT teams are deployed in Maryland. The use of these paramilitary police units has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, by 1,000 percent or more, resulting in the drastic militarization of police. It's a trend that seems to have escaped much media and public notice, let alone informed debate about policies and oversight procedures. But since the Calvo raid in 2008, Maryland newspapers, TV news crews, activists, and bloggers have been documenting mistaken, botched, or disproportionately aggressive raids across the state.

Lawmakers tend to be wary of questioning law enforcement officials, particularly when it comes to policing tactics. They shouldn't be. If anything, the public employees who are entrusted with the power to use force, including lethal force, deserve the most scrutiny. It's unfortunate that it took a violent raid on a fellow public official for Maryland's policymakers to finally take notice of tactics that have been used on Maryland citizens for decades now. But at least these issues are finally on the table.

Lawmakers in other states should take notice. It's time to have a national discussion on the wisdom of sending phalanxes of cops dressed like soldiers into private homes in search of nonviolent and consensual crimes.

Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

NEXT: Health Care Reform's Procedural Gauntlet

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  1. Challenge to Ken Schultz and Shriek:

    Re: Ken Schultz,

    Somehow I knew you would weasel out. Here are the links:

    http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/123737.html

    http://www.economicpolicyjourn…..-paul.html

    1. Dude. Cut that retarded shit out!

      1. Make me.

        1. ya, you need to post less and fuck more.;-)

          1. That sounded a little like volunteering.

            1. keep your pants on

              1. Guys. You need to be more civil to each other. Chill out.

    2. I don’t know what you think the second link proves, other than the blogger in question is a bit of a ‘tard about how the U.S. banking system processes checks.

      1. I have to agree. I didn’t see anything convincing in that blog at all.

        1. Re: Cabeza de Vaca,

          I have to agree. I didn’t see anything convincing in that blog at all.

          That’s because you did not read it all.

      2. Re: juris imprudent,

        “A few minutes on google news produced this 1982 story from the Milwaukee Sentinel by Richard Bradee of the paper’s Washington Bureau:

        “Police who searched the room the Watergate burglars used found $4,200 in $100 dollar bills, all numbered in sequence. Proxmire asked the Federal Reserve Board where the money came from. As he explained in a letter to the late Rep. Wright Patman (D-Tex.), chairman of the House Banking Committee: ‘I got the biggest run-around [from the Federal Reserve] in years. They ducked, misled, lied, and gave me the idiot treatment.’ ”

        Read the whole post, not just the first paragraph. In both cases, Rep. Paul did not make any “bizarre” comments regarding the Fed’s past deals. Mr. Paul knows the history of the Fed better than Mr. Bernanke, at least – or, Mr. Bernanke is playing dumb.

        1. I think Helicopter Ben is fully aware of just what a rotten outfit he’s in charge of, but he doesn’t see any alternative to bluffing and hoping that the scrutiny blows over.

          -jcr

    3. fabulous story, thank you very much for informative stuff

  2. “And some Maryland legislators want to go even further. State Sen. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s), for example, wants to require a judge’s signature before police can deploy a SWAT team. Muse has sponsored another bill that would ban the use of SWAT teams for misdemeanor offenses.”

    A judges signature? OMG, there will be chaos in the streets.

    Forgive me for you know actually reading the text of the Constitution rather than the FUBARed version given to us by the Courts. But doesn’t the Amendment say

    “he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    And doesn’t unreasonable at least by the ordinary meaning of the term mean both method and kind? And by that I mean sure it does mean that you have to have probable cause to search. But couldn’t a search that is done with probable cause but done in a way that is totally out of proportion to the subject of the search (like say kicking down the door, shooting the dogs and terrorizing everyone over a petty marijuana bust) also be unreasonable under the 4th Amendment?

    1. In the same sense that “due process” now guarantees both procedural and substantive rights, I see no reason why “unreasonable” couldn’t refer to both kind and method.

    2. John, your point is taken, but the SWAT team presumably does have a warrant describing the persons to be seized.

      What this story is suggesting is that the mere use of the SWAT team itself would require an additional judge’s signature.

  3. the widespread use and abuse of SWAT teams.

    Doesn’t that wording imply that the proper use of swat teams is also widespread? 6% falls below my threshold for “widespread” though.

    1. To abuse the power of the SWAT Raid, you first have to use it. But I agree what I think is your position… if anything the fact that only 6% of SWAT uses were for the reasons that most people believe SWATs should be limited to being used for is awful.

    2. If it was your door and your dogs, I’m sure that you’d find that threshold isn’t high enough. As an NRA member and shooter I’ve often wondered just why such a paramilitary force was needed for every little town in the United States. For our Republic having a highly trained paramilitary force that doesn’t fall under the Posse Commiatus Act is unnerving and very dangerous to freedoms. A perfect force for dictatorship in certain circumstances.

    3. I also wonder how all these self made writers use the statistics; 6% has nothing to do with widespread.

  4. PG county has had a (deservedly) bad reputation for a while. I remember reading an expose of the sheriff’s office in 1992.

    1. As a former resident of PG County and specifically, Berwyn Heights, I can attest first-hand the the near infinite dickheadedness of PG County cops. They have been that way my entire adult life and long before that, I presume.

    2. Wasn’t Greenbelt originally some grand experiment in planned communitarian living? From what I heard it was more a “people’s glorious October suburb” than Columbia.

    3. Yeah if you google it there are all sorts of horror stories. Back in the 90’s and early 00’s there was a flurry of vicious attacks by police dogs, most of them on innocent persons or non-resisting suspects. I think the feds got involved.

  5. There is at least one good thing about living in Columbia, MD; it is not in Prince Georges county.

  6. War is Hell.

    That includes the War on Drugs.

    1. You bet there’s a drug problem in this country; drugs cost much more that they should.

      1. He could provide his own rimshot, too.

  7. This is almost a good news story. Coming from Balko that means the steel-toe boot to the groin will surely follow.

  8. For petes sake, lets make sure that American Citizens hear much more about these overreachig police tactics. It’s not the American way.

    1. For ‘pets’ sake too?

  9. I still remember the pictures of the Gestapo SWAT dudes picking up Elian Gonzales. Couldn’t just show up with a court order and take the kid – better knock the door down and come in with the M16s at the ready. Cause, you know, the kid might have had a water pistol or something. Or they might have had two viscious Labs, and we know what a particularly-viscious breed Labs are.

    Unfortunately, I don’t recall that we got the benefit of dog euthenasia in that particular episode of “good police work”, so it wasn’t a perfect raid rescue.

    1. Actually they were H&K MP5s, a very common SMG.
      Less accurate, full auto, bigger bullet (9mm).

      *gun pedant* off

      1. Can anyone tell my why the hell a domestic LE officer needs a fucking full-auto weapon? I mean what can full auto accomplish that you can’t do with aimed semi auto fire (except wildly spray bullets everywhere)?

        1. If you knew about firearms and police tactics you probably would be able to answer your own question. Its not about “spraying” rounds, a trained tactical officer can control the # of rounds that he fires. Because it is fully auto doesn’t mean that bullets just fly out of the weapon at an unintended target-there are reasons for full auto. Read some articles on how many cops have been killed in 2010. Its off the charts and as a citizen you should be glad they are armed because the criminals don’t care and will use whatever they can get their hands on. Balko’s articles suck and he appears to be a bunny-hugger that is pro-criminal. Nearly a million peeps in Prince George County and the SWAT team is used to execute 1 warrant a day? The state does 4.5 a day? Give me a break. You can’t put an average or statistical data on this. I guess Balko would rather attend a cops funeral then see them safe or the dirtbags in jail.

          1. Seems you spend a lot of time on your knees. Exactly what does blue spunk taste like???

          2. Gee Birdoggy, that depends. If the criminal in question is only a criminal because policymakers decided to declare his private, constitutionally-guaranteed activities criminal, then yeah, I’m as pro-“criminal” as you can get. And if you’re not supportive of those types of “criminal,” then you are a fool because the next “criminal” will be you, you dummy.

            On the other hand, if by “criminal” you mean the criminals who daily violate the Supreme Law of the Land, then I’m decidedly NOT pro-criminal.

            I guess it escaped your notice that the criminals in this case were the SWAT goons who violated these people’s home. Perhaps when someone busts down your door and shoots your pet or family member, you’ll become a little more pro-“criminal.” As it stands right now, YOU are defending a group of criminals who broke into law-abiding citizens’ home, unlawfully bound them, and killed their pet while threatening and rummaging through and damaging their private property. Sounds to me like you are the one supporting criminals, asshole.

            Let me guess — your motto is “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about” right? In the words of that wise philosopher Bugs Bunny: WHAT A MAROON!

          3. A “trained tactical officer?”… Is Maryland really so violent that we need “tactical officers?” Really… You are a cop-sucking idiot. Quit blindly supporting people just because they wear a uniform and whine about how hard their job is. Grow a set and learn to think for yourself. It isn’t patriotic to blindly support an out-of-control authority, even if they wear a badge. Especially if they wear a badge.

            I get the sneaking suspicion that you’re a cop or ex-cop. Well, here’s the problem with cops tht run around playing commando: They wanted to have a job where they can exercise authority over people, so they need to quit whining about how stressful it is and accept that with great power comes great responsibility. Even comic books teach this. Along with that responsibility comes severe checks on your power and oversight of your activities. Quit whining and go back to pretending you’re just a friendly neighborhood cop, and maybe people will trust you again. Until then, you are un-amercan scum in many NON-criminals’ opinions. Deal with it.

          4. Off the charts? How about some figures. It’s not as dangerous as being a garbage man.

          5. Lame, whiny, chickenshit, Brotherhood fluff. I’d like to see you count the # of rounds in a burst from an MP-5, much less reliably control the # and direction in close quarters. And if you RTFA, you would know that the frequency of SWAT deployment was not the point. You defend actions because they’re right, not because your buddies did them; not because they sooth some deep-seated loathing for the people you serve.

            +1 Chucko

    2. Yeah man, that family had a vicious lab, a vicious meth lab!

      Those cops were brave, braver than you or I.

      1. Yeah, it takes a lot of guts to wear full body armor, carry a weapon which is illegal for anyone else, kill with impunity, break into homes and seize property under cover of the law, and then whine about how stressful the job you freely chose to take is.

        Yep, that’s real manly manliness right there. Jeepers, we should give these brave souls even more power and maybe a few more unearned medals to pin on their steroid-inflated chests. That may help compensate for the testicular atrophy from too many hormone injections to look “manly” and “intimidating.” It’s my theory that half of these goons are homosexuals in denial. That’s why they are so angry and overcompensate in order to seem tough. They’d be much happier if they’d just come out of the closet, imo.

  10. State Sen. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s), for example, wants to require a judge’s signature before police can deploy a SWAT team. Muse has sponsored another bill that would ban the use of SWAT teams for misdemeanor offenses. The latter seems like a no-brainer, but it’s already facing strong opposition from law enforcement interests.

    I think the thing that disturbs me here is that common sense has been lost. I’m not sure that a legally binding ‘law’ banning the use of a SWAT team is the right way to go. One would think that common sense would dictate the proper use of SWAT teams.

    However, it’s been clear that SWAT teams are grossly over and misused.

    I’m not sure what the proper defining line here is.

    1. A violent felony, in particular and of course a hostage situation.

    2. How about this? If there is a hostage situation, use the SWAT team. If there aren’t any hostages and he doesn’t have a bomb, just wait him out.

      1. gotta hit refresh more often

    3. In the age of video, there is no reason why serving warrants on potentially violent offenders should not require positive video identification of the location and persons to be arrested to a presiding judge. This would allow the judge to assess at least the external environment and help guard against wrong house raids. I’m in total agreement that extraordinary use of force should require extraordinary justification.

      Or, an actively violent perpetrator who can be best stopped by a tactical team. Although, after Columbine and Ft. Hood, it seems that tactical teams are rarely suited to anything except guys driving tanks or dug in hostage-takers.

  11. When you have all that cool SWAT gear that the DEA paid for you just want to use it. Not using it would be like have a Corvette and never doing a burn-out.

    Since there are not that many hostage situations or standoffs with armed killers, then you have to resort to using it for arrests of non-violent offenders, drug busts, loud parties, kids selling lemonade without a permit, dogs crapping on the neighbor’s lawn, etc.

    1. Exactly right! The boys have toys and they want to use them.

    2. Not to mention how your funding is tied to how many arrests you make. And heck — if you can convince the citizenry that there’s a killer, terrorist, evil drug gang, or pedophile on every corner, they’ll gladly vote you into office and hand over as much tax money and power as you want. It’s just too tempting for everyone from the politicians to the badge-wearing thugs to the citizen who would rather live in fear than be responsible for his own life.

      There is one situation where I wouldn’t mind these thugs running around the countryside: If every citizen is as well-armed as the thugs, and their right to shoot anyone who busts down their door is protected, then I’d have no problem with these power-mad steroid freaks playing commando in the neighborhood.

      Otherwise, they had better be careful or someone will take their little toys away and make them stand in the corner like any other adolescent who doesn’t understand responsibility.

  12. Re the following excerpt from the Radley Balko article on the MISUSE of SWAT units, the guiding principle is, I submit, the following, at least in the minds of some, perhaps many in LAW ENFORCEMENT, and GOVERNMENT.

    We’ve got this wonderful toy and oh boy, are we going to “play” with it.

    “Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George’s County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state’s SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.”

    1. 365 times 4.5 equals 804.

      1. The article states “Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland” Six months… dammit! Not 365 times 4.5.

        No wonder the jack-booted thugs get away with stuff like this. The public can’t read nor count.

  13. I don’t understand this article.

    According to the author, the police went to the correct address stated on the drug package right?

    Drug dealers are invariably heavily armed. So what does the author want, cops to get killed by going in without a swat team? Does the author want more citizens to get killed by criminals by having cops not enforce our laws?

    Does the author think it is really great if criminal gangs take over our society because cops are prevented from enforcing our laws?

    Why is the article so unbalanced as to not consider the costs to citizens and society of failing to go after criminals, or putting cops in harms way needlessly by having them unprepared for likely dangerous confrontations?

    Cops have families too.

    The author uses the term “nonserious felony”. Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? What on earth is a non serious felony? How many cops does the author want to see killed by going into confrontations less prepared, or how much more crime in society is he eager to tolerate by proposing less enforcement of laws?

    The author suggests swat teams for misdemeanors is never warranted. That’s ridiculous and shows a lack of thought. There are violent misdemeanors, or misdemeanors where the accused is likely to be heavily armed. Again what is the goal, more cops dead or lack of enforcement?

    1. Well played madam, you win this thread.

      *applause*

    2. Susan: The house these thugs raided happened to belong to the MAYOR of the town.

      The goon squad didn’t bother to find out who lived at the address, and although the JBTs were aware of the ploy of sending a drug package to a random address on the assumption that the druggies would get to it before the homeowner would, they assaulted anyhow.

      It boils down to little boys dressing up and playing Army, with live ammo, and no repercussions. Have you noticed, lately, the LEOs strutting around in bloused cargo pants, boots and pumped on ‘roids, just itching to get their Gun off? Those are the ones that have a high proability of never having been in the actual military…

      This behavior tends to escalate a situation, rather than the opposite, with is what police are SUPPOSED to do.

      1. Oh, because Mayors couldn’t possibly involved with drugs??? think Marion Barry…
        Oh wait, let me guess, OJ was innocent because he’s famous, and couldn’t possibly be guilty??

        1. Except that this guy wasnt moron, and the cops also knew beforehand that criminals were sending drug shipments in the mail and then intercepting the packages.

    3. Poor poor stupid Susan. Its the well-meaning retards that bother me the most because they try, they really do.

    4. Are you stupid, or just play one on the internet? Read the background on these cases. SWAT teams are going to the WRONG HOUSES, terrorizing innocent people. It’s a case of small dick boys having to play with their big dick toys. And yes, more dead cops would be an acceptable alternative.

      1. ChuckO….you must be a convicted felon because any retard that makes a comment about dead cops as an acceptable alternative is a criminal or a wannabe.

        1. Not a convicted. But I said it. And yes, I absolutely meant it. You can spend your days on your knees sucking the dick of law enforcement if you please. But this hero worship crap has to stop. The are not gods, they are not the deciders of who lives and dies and it’s about time people in this country fought back. If that means more blue funerals, I got no problem with that.

    5. You know what you’re 300 times more likely to find in the home of a marijuana grower than a gun?

      A child.

      Horticulture isn’t really all that dangerous, until evil men decide automatic weapons should be involved.

      Counts for both sides.

    6. C’mon everyone. Leave Susan alone. She’s obviously a graduate of the public school’s “Voluntary Retard” program. Hell, I bet she’s even a registered Republican too!!

      Look Susan. You’re a fucking moron. This is a fairly well known case so try doing a tad bit of research. If you sit around getting all your news from Fox and episodes of DEA and Kansas City SWAT you’re bound to say something stupid. Whoops! Too Late.

    7. Guys, Susan is writing satire.

      Well, done, Susan. Well done.

    8. If a police department believes SWAT must be used to enforce a warrant there should be probable cause for using SWAT. Perhaps evidence that the suspect has a past record of conviction for violent crimes. The suspect owns firearms. The suspect is a member of a violent gang or criminal syndicate. Merely having narcotics does not make the person violent or a member of a criminal syndicate.

    9. Susan, the cops could just knock on the door and request to serve the warrant.

  14. Keep voting, sweetheart. It’s Americans like you that have made this country what it is.

    BTW, do you have a dog? If so, I suggest you commit no misdemeanors.

  15. There are some people who value the companionship of their animals. At some point, average citizens will awaken from their stupor and will begin to think about what can be dome about out of control police. I hope that the police find the push-back to be painfully instructive.

    Michael Jackson is a thug in a policeman’s uniform. He should be removed from office yesterday.

    1. The King of Pop was hardly a thug to anyone but children.

  16. I did things in life backwards. I was a Deputy Sheriff, then joined the Army where I’ve been for over 20 years. I’ve served multiple tours as an Infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We knuckle dragging Infantrymen used less violence and force in capturing insurgents and searching their homes in Baghdad than the average police department SWAT Team uses in serving search warrants on American Citizens.

    1. Thanks, John, for your insight and your service. I hope you returned to police work. You are the kind we need there. It’s gotta be tough, though, to be a LEO when you’re not a groupthink imbecile.

  17. There has been a War On Drugs declared, and that is what the SWAT teams purport to be part of with their military tactics and equipment. So then the Geneva Conventions should apply. What the SWAT teams are doing is contrary to the clear wording of the conventions.

    2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

    http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/475?OpenDocument

    1. That would be helpful if, you know, these people could read.

  18. too bad you’re more concerned with your beltway status than actually paying attention to the countless details. william grigg continues to outperform reason and others on police militarization, all by himself. what price rubies, balko?

  19. While I sympathize with the intent behind not allowing use of SWAT in misdemeanor raids. However what if the misdemeanor is committed someone with an extensive felony record and record of assaulting officers?

    Additionally I assume the idea of additional judicial signatures needed for SWAT callouts would not apply to no-notice emergencies like barricaded suspects and officer down calls?

    An unintended consequence of making it harder to let tactical teams serve warrents will likely be the use of non-tactical elements to serve them. This will have its own risks to the safety of citizens.

    Tactical teams themselves are here to stay, their oversight, ROE from their supervisors and when they are asked to do missions is what needs to be looked at.

    1. An easier solution would be to just end the war on drugs. Oversight and whatnot is like you said just more burocracy. Just stop arresting people for non-violent drug offenses and that would solve most of the problem.

      1. “”Just stop arresting people for non-violent drug offenses and that would solve most of the problem.””

        First you would have to convince LEOs and tough on crime pols that their belief of a drug/violence nexus is over rated. Good luck with that one.

      2. That would reduce the number of SWAT callouts (and I think the war on drugs should be ended), but it still doesnt stop the problem of SWAT Team use. There will still be occasions (even if less frequently) where they will be utilized and how they are utilized needs to be addressed.

  20. Man, so glad I live in Canada. We dont have nearly as much of that stuff here (and surprise! the crime rate is still much lower http://www.investinontario.com…..ql_602.asp) although the Conservative government is now trying to be tough on drugs which is starting to worry me.

  21. “and Calvo’s two black Labradors lay dead on the floor from gunshot wounds.

    Based on another example of a swat raid given in these REASON pages not 3 days ago, in which a pit bull and a corgi were gunned down…I conclude that most criminals are dogs….who are viscious drug dealing kingpins and pedophiles.

  22. “”These outrageous numbers should provide a long-overdue wake-up call to public officials about how far the pendulum has swung toward institutionalized police brutality against its citizenry, usually in the name of the drug war. “”

    Over due wake up call???? Come one Radley, they are in on it.

    It’s society electing tough on crime candidates biting them in the ass.

  23. CORRECTION:
    Math *Fail* !!

    804 SWAT actions divided by 365 days = 2.2 SWAT actions per day. The author stated the facts as 200% of this number (i.e. 4.5 SWAT actions/day).

  24. Correction FAIL:
    The 804 actions were over a 6-month period.

  25. With respect to the war on drugs, it is time to declare victory and go home.

  26. I know it is a very crude statement that has been uttered many a time before but: FUCK THE POLICE!

    1. DON’T DO THAT!!! The LAST thing we need is for those BASTARDS to breed!!!

  27. Why did they just cover the last 6 months instead of the last year?

  28. This is long, long overdue. I applaud MD for taking these moves.

  29. Here in Atlanta, Georgia we had a ninety something year old lady KILLED by this same sort of nonsense. If my memory serves me well, one or two of the officers were convicted of murder. The pendulum has definitely swing way to far and the citizenry is becoming fearful of these squads. I am all for supporting our police departments, but there are just too many of these types of instances occurring throughout the country.

  30. If you have not broken any law, can you then defend yourself against these Gestapo style unreasonable search and pet euthanasia tactics without then being charged with felony self defense?

    1. You are allowed to defend yourself against anyone with lethal force, but only if you feel your life is in immediate peril. The SCOTUS has ruled in favor of people over the police in more then a few occasions, in regards to self-defense. One caveat: You’ll most definitely die if you kill a police officer in self-defense, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in the right or not. They will hunt you down and off you, so choose wisely when you’re getting corn-holed by a cop.

      Pro-tip: Better to not get into that type of situation in the first place.

    2. Weird. My post got ‘spamminated’, interesting.

      Anyway, yeah you can shoot a police officer in self-defense. The SCOTUS has ruled in favor of the people many times in this regard. One caveat: Good luck making it out alive! It won’t matter whether you were right or wrong. Cops don’t care if one of their own was corn-holing you, brutally beating you, etc.

      So, pick your battles carefully…

      1. It’s been done before. Sagon Penn, San Diego, CA. Shot two SDPD cops. Killed one. Turned himself in. Pleaded self defense. Was acquitted of murder.

  31. maryland is all fucked up. am i the only one who watches the wire?

  32. The way things are going, the SWAT teams are facing the same budgetary ax that a great many government ‘services’ will.

    The economy will cause the old ‘guns or butter’ problem to have some teeth this time, and it will become more difficult for a politician to give fiscal support to the War on Drugs to ‘save the chil-drennnnn!’ when those children are in danger of being homeless and hungry, and their parents need the money being blown on wrong-house drug raids…and the legal repercussions that result. It’s just a matter of time…

  33. The thing is eventually they will pick the wrong house to go into illegally and someone will send 10 of them to the morgue. Some people break down our door especially when we do nothing illegal will be met with force. What happens then?

    1. ATF already did. Haven’t you seen the video from Waco? I love it. Three ATF agent shot off the roof. And all three deserved it.

  34. It’s time to shoot back at these stormtroopers.

  35. Both the Marines and cop academy teach “us vs. them” mentality. Civilians are considered “pukes”. Many of the boys like to play dress up and get major wood kicking down doors and terrifying “dirtbags”. The answer is simply. Rig the doors.

    1. Jack boots are nothing but revenue cows for the government arm that wants and encourages this behavior.

      Retired a few years back, I remember the worst cops always got promoted.

      Look here- made by former cops!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH9k8L3oDa4

      So they now count how many times they stomp on people’s faces- whoop dee daa , do NOT expect any changes except for the worse.
      Soon we will get swatted at red lights for thinking out of line!
      INFOWARS – WAKE UP!

  36. USA is a police state, they just didn’t bother to tell us

  37. Susan asked “What on earth is a non serious felony?”

    This would be such things as having a piece of wood or steel which is 1/4″ too short (NFA 1934), being a digit off when putting your Social Security number on a bank application (IRS Code) or contempt of a government official. If you do a little looking, you can find plenty of felonies which are pretty much meaningless except to those who are looking for a way to stick it to someone.

  38. “There’s no way to rule innocent men.
    The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
    Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.
    One declares so many things to be a crime
    that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    ?Ayn Rand

  39. In all fairness: I saw the SWAT team in Seattle serve a warrant on and arrest my neighbor about 10 years ago.

    It was 2 guys and they showed up in plain clothes, and each had a holstered sidearm. One guy knocked on the front door while the other went around back.

    I have no idea what the charge was, but the officer I spoke to said that SWAT is used for this between hostage type situations.

    Granted, a lot can change in 10 years, but it seems that Seattle tends to not have too many of these bad SWAT outcomes.

  40. Why not just publish the home addresses of SWAT team members?

  41. The only time a swat team would be appropriate would be when there was viable evidence of potential violence on a major scale emenating from the target, such as a motor cycle gang or a mafia hit. That’s it!

  42. You cowards are comical. Talf tough on your keyboards, but will crap your pants if faced with a real life or death situation. Ever wonder why you psuedo libertarians are the butt of so many jokes? Because you are an endless source of comedic material. So long losers.

    1. Don’t bet your life on it “tuffguys”. Why don’t you mosey your ass over here and try kicking down MY door? And if you are a cop, you better announce, or you will get 000 buck to the face AND balls.
      No. I aint a tuff guy, but I don’t take kindly to having my rights squirreled with.
      Loser. hahahaha.

    2. Take your badge off.

  43. Bravo, Radley! Great article. I hope that this movement in MD moves across the nation.

  44. PG county has had a (deservedly) bad reputation for a while. I remember reading an expose of the sheriff’s office in 1992.

  45. USA is a police state, they just didn’t bother to tell us
    reply to this

  46. I may or may not install this on our production site quite yet though, for the following reason. Limit-Login must be placed in the Plugins folder to work, and then it only works for the blog on which it is activated. We do not want to give all users this level of control. Using WMPU Plugin Manager, I limited activation to the main blog only, and this solves half the problem ? sub blogs no longer have access to the plugin, but then it no longer limits/logs login attempts on those blogs either.

  47. The author uses the term “nonserious felony”. Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? What on earth is a non serious felony? How many cops does the author want to see killed by going into confrontations less prepared, or how much more crime in society is he eager to tolerate by proposing less enforcement of laws?

  48. The author uses the term “nonserious felony”. Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? What on earth is a non serious felony? How many cops does the author want to see killed by going into confrontations less prepared, or how much more crime in society is he eager to tolerate by proposing less enforcement of laws?

  49. The author uses the term “nonserious felony”. Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? What on earth is a non serious felony? How many cops does the author want to see killed by going into confrontations less prepared, or how much more crime in society is he eager to tolerate by proposing less enforcement of laws?

  50. Hey, thank you for your usefull post. I found it on google. I’ve been following your blog for 3 days now and i should say i am starting to like your post and now how do i subscribe to your blog?

  51. See this comment I am a little messy

  52. they love excessive force.

  53. Recently, SWAT was run worse. It seems to me that the cause of poor funding. Sally from mahjong club.

  54. I think making sure the SWAT team is completely properly used is easier said than done. I just hope the government will do its best and keep improvement in it.

  55. I think making sure the SWAT team is completely properly used is easier said than done. I just hope the government will do its best and keep improvement in it.

  56. I think making sure the SWAT team is completely properly used is easier said than done. I just hope the government will do its best and keep improvement in it. Thanks for the information provided here.

  57. Yeah i agree Sally, its been getting worse and worse recently. I dont think poor funding is the answer though…

  58. Yeah i agree Sally, its been getting worse and worse recently. I dont think poor funding is the answer though. I think its lack of training, they should be trained up to military level.

  59. I hope the U.S. government will improve in this or the American will be scared of possibly being the next.

  60. Without sounding like I am stating the obvious I assume that you are trying to teach us bloggers something with this post Liz. So I will say what I have learned and APPLIED from reading this site and this post.

  61. WOW that really is the abuse of SWAT. I think the bill passed by Maryland state law should be enforced in every county and will eventually result in the control and only necessary use of SWAT

  62. It seems that this entire article is based on supposition. When the ‘calvo case’ is finally adjudicated, then feel free to write an article; until then, your opinions are mostly worthless.

  63. Agreed. I dont think it has anything to do with the “level of training” our SWAT receives. The decision making abilities of higher ranking officials should be in check. When instances like the Calvo case arrive.. its simply a waste of time and money. I enjoy the blog!

  64. Let us hope that this was really a wake up call toward the institutionalized police brutality against its citizenry!

  65. In MD they have ~37k burglaries per year. That means if someone’s busting down your door, there’s a 4% chance it’s the cops and not robbers.

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  68. This story raises a lot of questions. What kind of ‘crimes’ are the Maryland SWAT teams going after if they’re going out 6 times a day? There can’t be that much violent crime happening in such a small state every day.

  69. This story raises a lot of questions. What kind of ‘crimes’ are the Maryland SWAT teams going after if they’re going out 6 times a day? There can’t be that much violent crime happening in such a small state every day.

  70. PG county has had a (deservedly) bad reputation for a while. I remember reading an expose of the sheriff’s office in 1992.

  71. I read the post with interest.It’s some kind of police brutality,be careful on all dealings so that there’s no harm in citizen when conducting like these one.

  72. I salute SWAT for the job well done.

  73. Search for Weed Addicted Tokers

  74. S.W.A.T. = Search for Weed Addicted Tokers

  75. Ugh Police brutality is running rampant in America. You can’t read the news these days without seeing something about Police hitting, hurting, killing something.

  76. We need a transparency government and a sunny government,so they can at our service satisfying like Singapore government

  77. We need a transparency government and a sunny government,so they can at our service satisfying like Singapore government

  78. we need a transparency government and a sunny government which can at our service satisfying.

  79. This is a truly nice article. I am certain a lot of people will profit from it. Thank you!

  80. Iman: The word “for” doesn’t fit into SWAT. Just sayin.

  81. Iman: The word “for” doesn’t fit into SWAT. Just sayin.

  82. This sort of thing is the exact proof of what happens when people build a society where law is not based on moral or order not based on community. We may be in for troubling times.

    – Jennie

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  84. Those are really disturbing results. But hey what can we do? Good article anyway

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  91. About SWAT doing raids on non felony crimes, I agree that is going way overboard.
    Make sure to pay those parking ticket, or succumb to forced entry with guns drawn.
    I’m glad you exposed the rising incidence of the incorrect use of SWAT.
    Bruce

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  94. Wow, that .5 SWAT raid must have been interesting to watch.

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  97. any time a SWAT team is brought in, its a worrying action peyronie’s disease treatment

  98. This is a positive news. This only means that the SWAT team is doing all their best to reduce the number of criminality in the locality. If this continues to happen then it will reduce the number of crime and would mean a more secure community.
    —-
    Jay,
    Civil War Spies

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  100. I am glad the truth that election of Obama is forcing these racist mofo’s out in to the lights of day.

  101. We’re a lot from getting a publish-racial society.

  102. Cheers for the insight. I’ve seen SWAT in action once, hope not to again, and I was just a spectator!

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