5 years, 10 months ago
From ABC News10 (KXTV in Stockton, CA):
STOCKTON, CA – Kenneth Wright does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
“I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers,” Wright said.
Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts as a S.W.A.T team barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.
“He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there,” Wright said.
According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11 and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.
As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for was not there – Wright’s estranged wife.
“They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids,” Wright said.
Wright said he later went to the mayor and Stockton Police Department, but the City of Stockton had nothing to do with Wright’s search warrant.
The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in the S.W.A.T for his wife’s defaulted student loans.
“They busted down my door for this,” Wright said. “It wasn’t even me.”
According to the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, the case can’t be discussed publicly until it is closed, but a spokesperson did confirm that the department did issue the search warrant at Wright’s home.
The Office of the Inspector General has a law enforcement branch of federal agents that carry out search warrants and investigations.
Stockton Police Department said it was asked by federal agents to provide one officer and one patrol car just for a police presence when carrying out the search warrant.
Stockton police did not participate in breaking Wright’s door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.
“All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door,” Wright said.
This is difficult to swallow for one who doesn’t believe that the Department of Education should exist anyway. So let me get this straight. The Department of Education has a SWAT Team. Special Weapons and Tactics! And they are enforcing warrants with SWAT raids that pertain to payment of student loans, probably wearing “tacti-cool” gear and all swollen with their self-importance, pointing loaded weapons at innocent men. And some judge actually issued a warrant for such a raid?
And so now Mr. Wright has traumatized children, a broken door, and probalby lost time from work to handle the hassle, and on top of that the Department of Education looks like jackbooted thugs. And the Department of Education has a SWAT Team? Seriously?
The one good thing that could come from this is that we’ve found the best place to start cost-cutting since the bridge to nowhere.
UPDATE #1: Note that I have previously called for a Congressional investigation into SWAT tactics in use in the United States.
I call on the House Subcommittee of the Constitution or the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security to investigate the militarization of police tactics within America, and whether such tactics comport with the constitutional rights of the citizens of the United States.
I reiterate this call.
UPDATE #2: From commenter Don Delis, we learn that the raid was not about student loans. THAT didn’t take long! The URL has been updated, since the News10 article has been changed and the report amended to refer to some unspecified investigation. They have got to do better than that to justify the use of SWAT tactics when knocking at the door would have been sufficient. This is about police officers playing combat operator, and there is no excuse for it.