As new advances in weaponry come to light and tensions rise, the United States’ police is responding in new ways. Many believe those who serve and protect are turning into a militarized force. This hypothesis can be confirmed with the increase of “no knock” SWAT team infiltrations by 4000% in the last thirty years. Back in the 80′s, roughly 3000 unannounced raids took place. Today, that number has spiked to an astronomical 80,000. Even Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has referred to his police force as an army. While the authorities justify their actions by the fact that there are many more successful arrests due to the element of surprise, it is an invasion of privacy and faulty raids take place.
It’s Like Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight
Those on the side of justice claim that the criminals are bristling with arms. Because they are such a considerable threat, the police need to bring out the big guns. However, statistics show that 55% of suspects have no weapons. 10% have knives, 12% have guns, and the rest remain unknown. Meanwhile, SWAT teams of today are fully armed with body armor, automatic weapons, submachine guns, sniper rifles, stun grenades and more. They are definitely at an advantage.
There are rare cases of criminals who have the upper hand, most are not a true threat to a heavily armed SWAT team. This is a major concern in the event of invasions based on false claims or when suspects mistake authorities for intruders and take action. In one particular case in Utah, Matthew David Stewart was a retired veteran with no criminal record. His girlfriend advised authorities that he might have been growing marijuana. They responded with a SWAT raid. Stewart thought a break-in was taking place and took out his pistol to defend himself. Six SWAT members and one civilian were wounded, resulting in one fatality. Sixteen marijuana pots were discovered, grown purely for personal use. When Stewart was convicted, he committed suicide. Cases like Stewart’s demonstrate overkill. Something has to be done to curb surprise SWAT raids or more casualties will surely result.
Source: Top Criminal Justice Degrees