Protein Wisdom blogger Dalreen Click links to the video of the Pima County raid, and writes:
Really? Set aside a moment the debate on the legalization of drugs and ask yourself, honestly, do you think these kind of pre-dawn, over-the-top, pseudo-military raids would stop if drugs were fully legalized? You don’t think they’re used for other things like, say child pr0n?<—Radley’s own post, fer cryin’ out loud!
The issue is not the object of the warrant, but the tactics by used in ostensibly serving the warrant.
What follows won’t be anything new to readers of this site, but it’s worth correcting people on this stuff. (I’d also encourage Click to read my paper on the rise of SWAT teams in America, which goes into all of this in much more detail.)
The mass increase in the use of SWAT teams over the last 30 years is unquestionably a product of the war on drugs. The Pentagon giveaway programs, which have turned millions of pieces of military equipment over to domestic police departments; the Byrne and other federal law enforcement grants tied exclusively to drug policing; the federally-funded multi-jurisdictional drug task forces that are almost always paramilitary in nature, civil asset forfeiture laws; the fact that in the 1980s and 1990s the federal government sent members of elite military units like the Navy SEALS and Army Rangers out to train police departments in drug interdiction—all of these policies contributed to the militarization of America’s police departments, and nearly all were enacted because politicians decided the war on drugs ought to be fought more like an actual war.
It isn’t all that surprising that SWAT teams are now used to break up neighborhood poker games, arrest people suspected of downloading child porn, and for sorts of other nonviolent crimes unrelated to illicit drugs. They are government entities, after all. Mission creep is encoded into their DNA.
But the drug war is the driving force behind the proliferation of SWAT teams over the last 30 years (though since September 11, DHS anti-terror policy has contributed quite a bit as well). And the overwhelming majority of SWAT callouts today are still for the service of drug warrants.