Department of Education SWAT Raid on Kenneth Wright

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 8 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.

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  1. On June 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm, Don Delis said:

    According to the North Stockton Record the raid was not about a student loan.

  2. On June 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm, Warbucks said:

    To what extent do the headlines of Mexico drug wars effect our cultural perspectives and further influence US Swat team tactics?

    On an international scale, Mexico is classified as a “functioning democracy” in that they have a constitution and hold elections.

    Mexico remains however, the romantic land of myth as to its legendary 36 families that purportedly keep its middle class weak and still relatively small in comparison to say the percentage size of the US middle class. I’m looking for a good book to read or articles to read on Mexico’s 36 families and the links to the power base it has reportedly kept in tact for all these decades after the revolution. While there is for me a certain romantic charm to the aristocratic heirs apparently flowing down from the Conquistadors, the Roman Catholic Church, and the simple campesino family oriented derivatives of its modern culture, Mexican citizens are asking for US help to relieve them of what is being reported in the news as “ill planned Mexican war on drugs.” A new peace movement by the campesino class and Mexican middle class is being built around the theme of “please rethink this Mexican war on drugs.” 40,000+ people have been slaughtered in Mexico as a result of the on-going war on drugs.

    Mexican Federales are of course a National Force, something the US must resist forming and is blocked by Federal Law of Posse Comitatus from implementing.

    South of the border the drug war is escalating as it moves toward our boarders. Drug cartel fighting for domination of markets, now using home-made armored vehicles that require an escalated response.

    The home made armored vehicles are used to escort drug supply caravan shipments around Mexico. It’s like a scene out of Mad Max movies. 1-inch armored plated vehicles are the current drug lord vehicles of choice to guard shipments. And they do their job pretty well. Some of the vehicles and associated tactics are operating in Mexican Counties right on our border.

    So what we perceive as a drug war on the US side of the border is seen far more fearfully by Mexicans directly across our boarder in Mexico.

    All these media images and perceptions impact how an elected sheriff in the US along our boarders is apt to respond. I can’t prove that statement but I think it’s true. I would forecast things get worse on both sides of the boarder, not better. More SWAT responses, increased armor, heavier weapon response, on the US side. I would expect somehow, under the current joint US-Mexican Drug War strategy we would send a couple of Apache choppers outfitted for night operations and 30mm anti-tank cannon come election time to show we are doing something about the problem and are in tight with good foreign policy with Mexico.

    Somewhere along the way, I want to respond to the John Steinbeck instinct that the people we should be listening to are the campesino class and the weak middle class of Mexico on the matter of their peace movement.

    There are always unintended consequences no matter what we do here in the US in response. Smuggling can not be stopped as long as the profits are so great in the black markets. I find it unsavory that we as a society can maintain laws on our books that create the conditions that lead to the primary cause of the killings in Mexico. The recent peace movement will likely die not because of Mexican intransigence but because of US election politics and the need to “do something” about the drug lords. Our response is always so predictable to the war on drugs. I’d rather see my country legalize a whole list of drugs taking us back perhaps to the legal status of the same compounds during our War of Independence with England, than watch another 40,000 Mexican families murdered. In no small part, I feel culpable and ashamed for our arrogance.

    And perhaps then we might see headlines and images along our boarder settle back to illegals running back and forth. A soften tone I think will decrease the over use of SWAT teams, takes us in a direction of Mayberry USA imagery again, and get more cops doing ordinary, everyday, community police work that seldom reaches the headlines.

    When I was a kid in my town back in the late 40’s, on a rainy day walking to school, the cops would stop and pick kids up in their patrol cars and drop us off at school and chit-chat along the way, maybe even joke. These guys were all loved back then. Last month, my local police department closed off an entire neighborhood so that our SWAT could arrest someone. We never were told who or why, just given an all clear. Last week an apartment house blew up and the papers reported the police saying it wasn’t drug related. Hmmm.

    I’ll tell you what, I’d rather let the drugs be sold and taxed legally than more of the same mind set we are living with now. Mayberry USA is a state of mind, and a state of mind requires images, and the images we get today is nearly all derived from the preservation and protection of drug empires.

    Let’s start with working with the peace movement forming inside Mexico. There may be unintended consequences but I will keep my body clean myself and I will try and teach my children and my grandchildren to do the same fo themselves. The war on drugs doesn’t work at any level. Change it.

  3. On June 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm, Mark Reichel said:

    I am the attorney for Kenneth Wright and his young children and will be filing suit on their behalf.

    Mr. Wright, who is divorced from Mrs. Wright, was at home at 6 a.m. with his 3 children, a daughter aged 3 and two boys just slightly older. Their door was kicked down, Kenneth was dragged wearing only boxer shorts (which ripped during the dragging) to his front lawn and a knee was placed against his neck for 45 minutes. He was not shown a copy of any warrant, nor told much of what was going on. When he saw a patrol car by stretching his neck off the grass, he was pleased to find out it wasn’t some organized crime hit on his family, or a crime gang at the wrong address. His children were then marched downstairs with their hands up at gunpoint. Yes, that happened.

    6 hours later, when their tiny house had been thoroughly searched by the 15 SWAT team members, they were told they were looking for Mrs. Wright, who appears to be a suspect for low level student loan fraud. This was news to the Wrights, who would have kindly allowed such a search and would have helped them to find Mrs. Wright, if they could. If they could have the knee off their neck. The 15 armed federal SWAT members were ready just in case Mrs. Wright started throwing phony loan documents at them, some with staples.

    Mrs. Wright is not related to Osama Bin Laden. Financial executives who did more harm to this country than the Japanese at Pearl Harbor or Al Qaeda did in New York get charged with stealing billions of dollars and are courteously summoned to appear in court when charged. They are in essence “asked” to appear, on their own, in their best suit, in a limo. She hasn’t been charged, is just under investigation.

    Hamilton, Madison, Washington and Jefferson are indeed crying somewhere as they watch what has happened to the people in this country.

    Mark Reichel

  4. On June 9, 2011 at 12:37 am, jojo said:

    go get ’em

  5. On June 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm, Warbucks said:


    As you work through your assigned task, may I respectfully invite your attention to the drug wars peace movement being started in Mexico called “The Poet’s Peace Movement.”

    Both US and Mexico remain intransigent of course in changing US laws regarding legalizing some drugs. This included the current administration based on a report referenced in the above link.

    My premise may be wrong, but I don’t think so. What happened to your client, as pointed out by the Captain, and found to be true by my own research, is an intentionally created national phenomenon of police image modification from a Mayberry USA to a Nationalized Federales-DEA impersonal Task Force Swat Team. Swat Team do indeed seem to be over used.

    This imagery can be changed and sheriffs and police chiefs can be dialed down in their image intensity by supporting the merits of The Poet’s Peace Movement to rethink our drug war. Consider using your unique place in history to bring attention to the peace movement. It needs to catch on North of the boarder to have any chance of survival.

  6. On June 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm, lh said:

    We must elect politicians that will investigate these type of alarming events. We have a bureaucracy out of control. The heavy hand of government is everywhere. I hope the coming elections can slow this government down.

  7. On June 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm, Warbucks said:

    We can create a different tomorrow and avoid The Plan:

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