11 months, 4 weeks ago
Joanne Eldridge at PoliceOne.com waxes on about how the militarization of police tactics in America is okay because the courts provide a balance.
The American legal system is capable of providing independent evaluations of — and crafting remedies for — police excesses and overreaching when those occur. The criminal justice system provides for probable cause review by independent judges or magistrates prior to the issuance of warrants. If such warrants result in charges, the system provides for speedy judicial review of police actions. For those cases lacking in probable cause or that represent egregious abuses of authority, civil rights statutes provide for injunctive remedies and monetary damages against offending police departments and individual officers.
Joanne is living in a pipe dream. She supplies a few examples of monetary settlements for violence perpetrated during SWAT tactics, but even those are few and far between. As I’ve said before, you could get most judges to sign warrants declaring the moon to be made of green cheese.
The courts have thus far failed to stop the outright homocide of Mr. Eurie Stamps (and the officer who perpetrated this homicide was exonerated), the routine killing of family pets, routine SWAT raids on wrong homes, the hurling of insults and profanities at children and the elderly during SWAT raids all across the nation, and many other atrocities in the name of law enforcement.
But perhaps the most interesting thing about the article is the comments by police or former police. One commenter remarks that “The only point this article serves is to highlight the author’s obvious infatuation with civilian review boards. Civilian review boards have no place in law enforcement.”
Joe319 questions, “I wonder if Balko is willing to put up and be the front through the door during the serving of a warrant for these “non-violent” offenses?”
Well, here is your answer, albeit from me instead of Balko. You have constructed a straw man argument. You assume that those tactics obtain, and thus the danger they represent is to everyone – or so your argument goes. A critic should be willing to sustain the danger before he is free to criticize.
But if that were true, I would have to be a murderer or thief in order to comment on the crimes of murder or stealing. Value judgments inform our understanding, not being at the front of a stack entering another man’s castle.
Now to the main point. The tactics don’t have to obtain. You don’t have to use them. You can use your brain instead (do they teach that at police academy any more?). You can do detective work, find out when he is going to leave his home and the domicile empty, and arrest him as he opens the door to his car or walks down the street. His home will be unoccupied then and not a danger to anyone, you or his family.
There now. See, I reached a different conclusion because I started with a different presupposition. You do understand the word presupposition, don’t you? Dumb ass. Oh. And if you ever bust down my door in some wrong address raid you’re liable to get riddled with green tip 5.56 mm rounds, right after my dog sinks her teeth into your jugular vein and you begin to bleed out. And I won’t shed a tear for you and don’t care how many drug arrests you’ve made. I don’t see you as some kind of hero.
Prior: Counterinsurgency Cops