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The ACLU released a new report on Friday, and it says something truly shocking: they estimate that only 7% of domestic SWAT teams raids are conducted for barricade or hostage situation.
In reality, these paramilitary teams are kicking in doors in the early morning to serve search warrants (typically related to the War on Drugs). And according to the ACLU’s eye-opening report, it’s happening in 124 homes every single day, or about 45,000 homes annually across the nation.
Despite law enforcement agencies doing their best to hide and obfuscate the facts about the circumstances under which SWAT raids are performed, the information available still condemns these programs. As many as one-third of these SWAT-delivered no-knock warrants don’t turn up the drugs expected (including fatal raids where no one is held accountable). Even while support for the war on drugs is waning, law enforcement agencies are using increasingly militarized tactics to enforce prohibition.
The ACLU’s report ties the rise in SWAT raids in with federal funding programs and financial incentives for law enforcement agencies and calls for reform at the state and federal levels. It is clear that reform is needed, and soon.
Each time the door is kicked down in the wrong place, each time a family pet is murdered, each time an innocent person is shot in their own home, more and more Americans are waking up to the fact that SWAT raids should be reserved for extreme situations.
Photo Credit: (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commonsunder