Deputies in Richland County, South Carolina will get “Navy SEAL” training. You remember Richland County. It’s the county where Sheriff Leon Lott put out a press release a few years ago to celebrate the new tank from the Pentagon’s 1033 program—one with a turreted, belt-fed, 360-degree rotating machine gun that shoots .50 caliber ammunition, and that he charmingly named “The Peacemaker.” He’s also the one who sent his SWAT team into the homes of University of South Carolina students whose only transgression was to have appeared in the same photo where Michael Phelps was pictured smoking pot.
Portland, Maine gets a Bearcat, courtesy of DHS. The press release announcing/justifying the acquisition apparently cited Coumbine (in which the SWAT team didn’t go in, because it was too dangerous), and the infamous North Hollywood shootout, a 15-year-old story that has become the go-to incident to justify new military gear. It also cites two local incidents, one in which the suspect turned out to have been holding a pellet gun, and another that didn’t result in any criminal charges.
The thumbnail to your right is from a series this photographer took of the Aventura, Florida SWAT team. Aventura is a town of 35,000 people, described on various blogs as a haven for shopping malls and country clubs. The town has recorded one murder in twelve years. (Link via Random Pixels, via the commenter “Bystander.”)
This entry was posted
on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at 9:23 am by Radley Balko
and is filed under Police Militarization.
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