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5,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting read.


Op-Ed Columnist
Published: June 20, 2006

Of all the excuses for weakening the Fourth Amendment, the weirdest
was the one offered by Justice Antonin Scalia last week in a Michigan
drug case.

He wrote the majority opinion allowing police officers to use
evidence found in a home even if they entered without following the
venerable rule to knock first and announce themselves. To reassure
traditionalists, Scalia declared that unreasonable searches are less
of a problem today because of "the increasing professionalism of
police forces."

Well, it's true that when police show up at your home in the middle
of the night, they're better armed and trained than ever. They now
routinely arrive with assault rifles, flash grenades and battering

So if your definition of a professional is a soldier in a war zone,
then Scalia is right. The number of paramilitary raids has soared in
the past two decades as cities, suburbs and small towns have rushed
to assemble their very own SWAT teams.

Some police veterans complain about "militarizing Mayberry," and
can't figure out why towns averaging one homicide a decade need
paramilitary units. But younger cops like the glamour — our very own
SWAT team, just like on TV! Who wants to patrol a beat when you could
be playing commando?

And who can resist free gear from Washington? Congress encouraged the
SWAT syndrome by directing the Pentagon to give local police
departments old machine guns, armed personnel carriers and
helicopters. The federal government has also helped subsidize drug
raids and encouraged locals to be aggressive by letting them keep a
cut of the drug dealers' assets.

The SWAT teams were originally supposed to deal with extraordinary
threats, like hostage situations, snipers and heavily armed drug
gangs. Since 9/11, of course, they've been justified for combating
terrorists. But such situations are so rare that the teams have had
to invent new missions to keep busy — and to pay for their operations
by finding assets to seize.

Most of the time they're used simply to carry out searches for drugs,
often on the basis of dubious tips from informants, often against
small-time dealers and other people with no history of violence. The
commandos have a proclivity for going to the wrong address, and they
tend to be impatient with anything that gets in their way. In
articles about SWAT raids, a motif is the shooting of family pets in
front of children.

It's hard to know how many botched and unnecessary raids there have
been, because police don't systematically track their errors, and the
victims often have little recourse. But in a forthcoming report for
the Cato Institute, Radley Balko concludes that mistakes have been
made in more than 200 raids over the past decade.

He finds that overzealous raiders caused the deaths of a dozen
nonviolent offenders, like recreational marijuana smokers and
gamblers. In a Virginia suburb of Washington earlier this year, an
optometrist being investigated for betting on sports was standing
unarmed outside his town house, offering no resistance, when a SWAT
officer's rifle discharged and killed him.

Balko also finds that two dozen people died in raids who were not
guilty of any crime, like a Mexican immigrant killed by Denver police
raiding the wrong home. Some died because they understandably assumed
the masked invaders were criminals and picked up weapons to defend
themselves. Some were innocent bystanders, like an 11-year-old boy
shot in Modesto, Calif., and a 57-year-old woman in Harlem who had a
heart attack when police set off a flash grenade during a raid based
on a faulty tip.

"Prosecutors typically let police officers off the hook when they
mistakenly shoot a civilian," Balko says, "on the theory that
mistakes are understandable during the confusion of a raid. Fair
enough. But civilians don't get the same deference. My research shows
that when someone on the other end of a botched raid mistakes a
police officer for an intruder and shoots in self-defense, his odds
of facing jail time are about one in two."

The best way to avoid these mistakes would be to save SWAT teams for
real crises and let police execute search warrants the old-fashioned
way. They could find out, for instance, if they're at the wrong
address before anyone pulls the trigger.

But thanks to the Supreme Court, they now have less reason to knock
first and shoot later. They can be more professional than ever.

6,835 Posts
Good read and spot on in some parts. it is more glamourous to be on a team then just patrolling around. Unfortunately, some police seem to operate with little to oversight or repercussions. I know they are the exception but just one is one to many.

704 Posts
The article makes for an interesting read, but I would like to add some counterpoints from a LE and SWAT perspective. I have been in LE for a while and was a founding member of our "Mayberry" SWAT team.

The article quoted doesn't list the court case in which Scalia rendered his opinion so one can get all of the facts and understand why the decision was reached. The rest of the article is a compilation of SWAT lessons learned over 10 plus years. Do cops make mistakes, yes we do. Do we learn from the mistakes and get called to the carpet, yes we do.

A lot of the issues in the article occurred long before we started our team 11 years ago and were covered in our trainings so we would hopefully not make the same mistakes. If you look at the number of SWAT operations across the country verus the newsworthy cases, the percentage is extremely small, and smaller than the number of noteworthy cases from non SWAT oeprations, at least in this area.

I can tell you we spend more time planning and double checking our facts before going out on the mission than actually completing the mission. As for the glamour, unless you are full time, the amount of hardwork and time put in doesn't come close to worth it for glamour.

As for the need, when things go wrong, do you want higher trained officers dealing with the situation, particularly if your friends or family are caught in it, or some road officers thrown together at the spur of the moment. Most teams across the country are part time and would appear to not justify their existence based on call volume alone. In non metro areas, the response time to mutual aid another team, may not be afforded by the type of the call hence the need for "smaller" teams.

Our SWAT team is fairly open to the public (except for certain tactics) and if there is one in your area, spend some time with them and I think you will see how much thought goes into everything.

If you have any questions about LE and or SWAT, please let me know as I want to get both sides of the coin out there.

5,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I should have stated that I don't agree with everything the commentary said.It does point out some interesting things.Overall I think S.W.A.T teams all over the country do an outstanding job,it's a shame that singular incidents can give bad impressions.The media plays a key role in that unfortunate misrepresentation..

268 Posts
... Do we learn from the mistakes and get called to the carpet, yes we do. ...
"Called to the carpet"? Perhaps going to the wrong address and shooting the family pet is something that should justify getting "called to the carpet". Going to the wrong address, perfoming a forced entry, and shooting an innocent resident is, at the least, man-slaughter and, if you're big on individual rights, equivalent to murder. Unless "called to the carpet" involves conviction and jail time, I'm not sure I can see eye-to-eye on this. Putting on the kevlar vests and stocking caps, and busting into someone's home with a submachinegun is a MAJOR escalation in the use of violence and deadly force, which I can't see as a rational course for any but the most extreme situations, for the sole reason that the risk of a miscarriage is so high. For potentially violent conflicts with aggressive, well armed gangs of known outlaws, maybe. I would compare it to patrolmen engaging in dangerous, high speed chases through densely populated or high traffic areas: not worth the risk to the police, the subjects, or the bystanders.

704 Posts
Believe me there are court cases out there where officers get criminally charged, both in SWAT and road work. They are part of our regular training so we can learn from the cases.

5,071 Posts
My LE background is from the .mil side which is way different in terms of what you're dealing with. Yeah, crazy stuff happens but at the level you see off post, not so much. From an officer safety standpoint, if you suspect deadly force is going to be brought to the party, you want to be ready to deal with it. Using SWAT to serve a notice for court hearing on a traffic ticket is excess, apprehending a suspect allegedly involved in a violent offense is something different.

But, knowing what I know from our special team stuff, if someone busts down my door in the middle of the night there's not much I can take away from that other than I wouldn't know what was going on. My first reaction would be defense. "Knocking" on the wrong door seems like the probable cause briefing was flawed on their end. Now they're getting into the intel troubles the doorkickers in the HS/LD units deal with.

I see it from the officer safety point but then I might also say that civil LE is getting gung-ho'd a little too much, in my humble opinion. On the record, if I should do something so crazy dumb to warrant such a thing, please knock on my door and ask nicely first. ;)

22,806 Posts
If gun confiscation ever occurs in this country, you can be assured it will come via SWAT type tactics and not a nice knock on the door.....regardless of the fact that you are a peaceable citizen.

The mere ownership of such weapons will make the force used seem appropriate in their minds (and the media's).


636 Posts
As Hitler did. Use democracy to get to power, and then destroy democracy.

512 Posts
Go slow on this , its going all over the web this morning ,but even i don't believe this is BS ,i really don't grab everything i see as some here think i do ,i research anything i post ,or i post it as BS.
For one there is a Clause in the UCMJ ,that says if obama did even so much as said this ,he would be taken out of office.
And another one about the guidelines in refusing an unlawful order.
And the Classified part ?? then why is it on the web ?
Obama is dumb ,but this would be plain stupid.

136 Posts
Yes we have militarized our police forces to the point where now they think they are at war the general population. All these new cool black toys for boys may be a good recruiting tool for young kids seeking to recreate glamourous TV shows but it does nothing but endanger the public for the most part. These same horrific mistakes will continue to be made with the same old tired excuses being trotted out afterwards. I look at the police as a potential threat to my safety second only to criminals. You hear it repeated time and again by police that their number one priority is to "go home at night". I believe them when they say that because they prove it all the time. It doesn't matter if that "shiney" thing in your hand was just a cell phone. Sorry about that, didn't mean to blow your liver out your back but I'm going home tonight. Oh, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family, blah, blah blah. Yes "we" are at war with both the criminals and police because both have chosen to make it that way. I'm going home tonight, too. ;D

512 Posts
Now this is real ,it is a letter from a Civilian JAG Defense Lawyer to a Millitary Officer.
That Judge in GITMO who used the UCMJ to reject Obamas orders is actually doing his duty.
He is in a bad place right now and we need to support him , he could be Hung for this and i am sure Obama would love for that to happen.

The military justice system derives its authority from three major sources:

* The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
* The Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM).
* Army Regulation (AR) 27-10.

The UCMJ is a federal law and the basis of our military justice system. It determines what conduct is criminal, establishes the various types of courts, and sets forth the procedures to be followed in the administration of military justice. You can find the UCMJ in Appendix 2 of the MCM, United States, 1984 or in 10 United States Code (USC) §§801-940.

SC -199:
These provisions allow for the disobedience of illegal orders, but such orders may themselves constitute a crime, or be part of a criminal conspiracy, either under military or civilian law. Under federal law, 18 USC 242, it is illegal for anyone under the color of law to deprive any person of the rights, privileges or immunities secured by the U.S. Constitution, and under 18 USC 241 it is illegal to conspire to violate such rights. It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. This could be applied to military personnel who abuse the rights of citizens, either military or civilian. The UCMJ also defines an Article 134 offense: Impersonating a commissioned, warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer, or an agent or official. This could apply to a military officer who impersonates a civilian official in an action against civilians. This includes actions taken under martial law. In RCM 202(a):
As per interpretation by U.S, Army , JAG Authorization and Procedure as you requested.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.

The United States Code: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter X, Section 934.

Article 134 reads:

"Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court."

Article 133 reads:

"Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

A gentleman is understood to have a duty to avoid dishonest acts, displays of indecency, lawlessness, dealing unfairly, indecorum, injustice, or acts of cruelty.

To be crystal clear - I am NOT advocating or inciting you to undertake any illegal act, insurrection, mutiny, putsch or military coup. You are an honorable patriotic man.

I am NOT advocating or inciting you to interfere with any of the civilian duties of the President. That would not be a legal action by you.

However you have the legal responsibility - under Article 134 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice - to protect the troops under your command by relieving the President of his MILITARY command.

If you have reason to believe that the President is responsible for "disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces" and for "conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital" then you have the obligation to act.

In addition to relieving him of his command as Commander-In-Chief, you also have authority to place the President under MILITARY arrest.

Article 7 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice specifically says:

(b) Any person authorized under regulations governing the armed forces to apprehend persons subject to this Code may do so upon reasonable belief that an offense has been committed and that the person apprehended committed it.

(c) All officers, warrant officers, petty officers, and noncommissioned officers shall have authority to quell all quarrels, frays, and disorders among persons subject to this Code and to apprehend persons subject to this Code who take part in the same.

I understand that it would not be an action to undertake lightly.

In all your 39 years of service you have shown total loyalty to the chain of command.

However, given the current imperilment of US troops, and the "Conduct Unbecoming Of An Officer And A Gentleman" of this President - you have a greater responsibility to your nation, your code of honor and to the US Constitution.

I wish you well as you prepare to undertake the most heroic action of your distinguished career.

General Pace - please save the US.

Respectfully yours,

Col. Martin Lewis
Office of JAG , Denver Colorado


Interesting read don't you think ?
It looks cut and dried to me ,and gives us a Heads up on what is going on.
But it depends on how you look at this if it may be a good or bad thing.

6,532 Posts
Good man, someone with balls amd a sense of what is right.

512 Posts
Amen to that Mickey.


We need to support this Judge , a petition is being drawn up by Grass Fire for us to sign.
Only us Civilians can do it ,a Millitary Officer would be in deep shit for doing it ,even if he were right.
Support our Troops guys ,they are trying to support us on this.

This Petition will not be one sent to Obama ,that would mean we recognize him as the Commander and Chief.
NEVER do that ,or as the President , It will be sent to JAG ,at the Pentagon.
And posted on JANEs as well as any Millitary Forum.
Its now the word War , We need to not be afraid and stand tall ,our Millitary Officers are.

Likewise with General Pace , when what he is going to do gets rolling he will need us VERY Badly , I for one will do everything i can to support this Brave American Army Officer.

And they can be shot for this.

22,806 Posts

512 Posts
We may have some help ,Alamogordo has Holloman AFB , and it is been striped down to almost nothing as Cannon and Reese have. But that whole place over there is acting real strange.
The Germans have bought up so much you don't know who owns what until you try to buy something.

I do think they have taken their treaty's and pushed them as far as they will go.
And we were all talking about this today , But when the People over there run to the protection of the Germans ,what can you do ?

Its a catch 22 situation , Germans now come to Hunt over there ,it is the one Provence where you are allowed to own Guns like we do ,or were allowed to.
They all but own Las Cruses also ,and all the Dariys in Roswell who bought up all of that land saying they were Dutch ?

But what do we do ?? they act like America should be acting ,they run like a true Republic , if it were not for them this area would be Dead and Buried.
They are the real reason you haven't been flooded by Mexicans ,they are moveing over here to the rate of 100 a month.

They infuse Eros into the State , Richardson looks good here because of them.
It is the 5th largest Millitary base now in the Americas.
You don't find anything about them on the web past 2000 ,because they don't want you to.
They are Buddy's with Texas , and Texas just sold them a hell of a lot of land there.
They do not like Obama ,thats good enough for me.

We used to ride the Bikes over there, the gates were open ,the Guards were real nice , no hassles ,you shopped until you dropped ,and the BEER ,good God !!!
If a cop came up he was very polite ,and what would get you arrested here for ,they just escorted you back to the Hotel.

And i don't believe this was just a mistake.

Not when you see the Flag ,and no other one around it ,and the Little Jets are not on it.

And this was taken in Carlsbad last year at a joint training excersise with Dutch and Swiss Troops.

Anyone ever been to Carlsbad NM down by the River ?
Then you know the dirt ,and the scrub oaks are a dead give away.

And just what is that ? that looks like a leopard Mark 2 , imagine that.

And liberals ,im not going to argue with you ,you don't live here and you don't know S--t.
THIS place is sovereign German soil now , so before you open your mouth and some stupid link.
FIRST you need to come here and show up where you are not supposed to be.
Bye Bye Lib. Grin

Or ask News Week what happened to them when they attempted to crash the gate thinking they had a right to !! BASH your Head.
The Problem is ,Obama feels he has a right to access the three Banks there for the Records of Americans Company's depositing Money in a Foreign Bank.
And he was totally shocked to find out that this was a German Provence.
WHO DID THIS Huh? ,well Jimmy Carter ,Regan ,Bush 1 and Bush 2 ,and our great and wonderful Clinton who received a Check for the final pay off of what is now GERMANY.

So where is the Money Huh? We cashed the check ,but where is all that Money ,and why doesn't Obama get a cut ?

And we blame the Germans who have been nothing but an asset to this State ?
And is this the real problem our Governor had with Obama ? Because that stupid little thing he said it was, would be nothing for the great one.
So link on Libs ,and Tin Foil hat dudes ,you wont find anything ,the web is getting real good about that these days.
But come down here and try to get into that base ,or ask anyone who lives here and has anything to do with the Germans who owns that land. We cant make the great one look stupid can we ?

And More land than that , and why does a Luftwaffe Training base have these ? and look at the Dates on those story's..

WOW that was just 10 miles from here ,Crow Flats.
And if have been there ,you haven't been lately ,or at least not to the right place.

23 Posts
I am a police officer and i have that mentality of I AM GOING HOME i am going to do what ever i have to do to go home to my wife and kids. all you have to do is not put yourself in a situation where u point a shiny object at a officer and you will be OK. say i get into a chase you don't know why the suspect is running he could have just killed somebody or robbed the store down the road if he jumps out and points anything at me or another officer thats his bad. so don't criticize what we do if you are not out their you don't know what goes on or hear the whole story.
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