My Column This Week: The SWAT Team Would Like To See Your Alcohol Permit

Monday, December 13th, 2010

My column this week looks at how police use regulatory inspections as a guise to conduct warrantless criminal searches.

Longtime readers: The column includes an unfortunate update in the David Ruttenberg/Rack ‘n’ Roll Billiards case.

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9 Responses to “My Column This Week: The SWAT Team Would Like To See Your Alcohol Permit”

  1. #1 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “The column includes an unfortunate update in the David Ruttenberg/Rack ā€˜nā€™ Roll Billiards case.”

    You mean the State will do whatever it wants? Shocking. Unless you stop to consider the problem of who’s going to stop them.

    Who’s going to stop them?

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    the crimes against Ruttenberg are particularly ugly because they were so constant over a long period of time. horrible. if they were just after his bar, they would’ve stolen it through the asset forfeiture system. they wanted to hurt this uppity citizen…

  3. #3 |  Pete | 

    Yet further illustration of the continuing alignment of the courts with the State. Each year seems to heighten their distrust of the citizenry and reduce their willingness to protect John Q’s civil liberties.

  4. #4 |  Cyto | 

    Quote of the day:

    The raid yielded three drug-related arrests, but two of the arrestees turned out to be police informants, and the third was an undercover police officer.

    That’s as good as it gets. If that isn’t enough to get you some kind of injunctive relief from the courts, the courts just don’t offer any protection from government abuse at all. The list of “violations” he was cited for are laughable as well. Any competent jurist should have been able to see through this flimsy sham and shut it down. The fact that they instead chose to back up the jackboots should send shivers down your spine.

  5. #5 |  EH | 

    Wow, man. If there’s ever been a time when you’ve noticed your readership going down, it may be due to stories like this. It’s hard to believe people do this stuff to each other.

  6. #6 |  Bob | 

    The fucked up part?

    Raids like this work. Most people don’t care that innocent people are getting fucked over because it’s easy to juxtapose otherwise innocent people that are different than you as scumbags that need to get screwed over. You know, “For the Children.”

    At the same time, there are more police than ever. And there is no incentive at all for them to actually fight crime. As long as there are people to arrest for whatever, the numbers are up and their existence is justified to the masses.

    Constitutional rights? Easily circumvented. Just don’t have a trail. The police don’t care who takes the Plea Bargain… just so long as 35% of them do. The rest of the fish are just thrown back or subjected to a Show Trial. Crime still flourishes unabated, and the masses are still so afraid they’ll stay on the program.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    OT: Try to guess what happened when a SWAT member in Austin gets drunk at a cop party and crashes his patrol car.

    Instead, this happened:
    1. Arrested at the scene and charged with drunken driving.
    2. Search warrant for blood sample obtained after he refused field sobriety tests.
    3. His boss parks the crashed cruiser in front of HQ as a reminder of drunk driving dangers.
    4. Four members are reassigned from SWAT after investigation of cop party. SWAT members are often “on call” 24 hrs and cannot drink…hence the whole rapid response thing.
    5. Police Chief actually taking this seriously and cop union rep doesn’t make you vomit with his comment.

    As a first step, this is pretty good.

    Now, isn’t it absolutely amazing how surprising it is when a cop is actually held to the same laws for which he busts heads and kills people?

    http://www.statesman.com/news/local/four-austin-officers-reassigned-from-swat-1118237.html

    BTW, there is no sweeter gig than SWAT.

  8. #8 |  John A | 

    Note that, while the intent is good, some others can enter your home or business at any time without a warrant – such as gas-company employees. Less clear is whether they may be penalised should they note anything “suspicious” and not report it to law enforcement.

  9. #9 |  lunchstealer | 

    I’ve finally figured out what bugs me so much about this. If your bar is so dangerous that you need a swat team to inspect for liquor violations, it should be obvious that it shouldn’t be in business, just from the other crime reports coming out of it. If it’s not obvious, then maybe just a couple of uniforms to keep things under control would be enough.

    But that doesn’t let the guys show off their Tactical Pants.

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