Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Off topic: this incident shows why the militarization of police must be reversed

 - by New Deal democrat

Regular economic blogging will resume shortly.  But this article from the Huffington Post really caught my attention.

A 59 year old man who ran a construction company was shot and killed by a Georgia SWAT team that raided his house in the middle of the night.

HIs house had been burglarized a few days or weeks before, and his wife woke him up when she saw men dressed in black approaching their house, believing that the thieves had returned.  The man got his gun. Georgia swears he "aggressively brandished" it at them, justifying their shooting him 15 times and killing him.

Why was a SWAT team raiding his house?  The thief, a meth addict, gave them a bogus story:
The sheriff's office obtained a search warrant based on a tip from a thief who claimed he had found 20 grams of methamphetamine inside a bag he stole from a vehicle at Hooks' home, Georgia station WMAZ reports. According to the warrant, Rodney Garrett claimed that he thought the bag was filled with cash but that he later discovered it contained meth. Garrett said that he then turned himself into the sheriff's office because the drugs made him fear for his safety.
The thief also stole their SUV.

And the result of the raid? --
Authorities searched Hooks' home for 44 hours, but found no drugs, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The wife swears they didn't identify themselves as law enforcement. They swear they did.

Here's my question.  The police had zero evidence that the man might be armed and dangerous.  They were searching his house for drugs, not weapons.

So why exactly was a SWAT team necessary?  Why not just regularly serve a warrant?  I have very little doubt that this completely law abiding citizen would still be alive had the police simply followed what once upon a time was normal police procedure.  I have little doubt that a SWAT team was used because the big police boys had their big military toys, and fully intended to use them.

The militarization of US police forces must be stopped.