SWAT Cop Says American Neighborhoods Are ‘Battlefields,’ Claims Cops Face Same Dangers As Soldiers In Afghanistan

August 23, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

source:huffpost

One of the central themes of my book is that that too many cops today have been conditioned to see the people they serve not as citizens with rights, but as an enemy. My argument is that this battlefield mindset is the product of a generation of politicians telling police that they’re at war with things — drugs, terrorism, crime, etc. — and have then equipped them with the uniforms, tactics, weapons, and other accoutrements of war.

Over the last several days, the popular online police magazine PoliceOne site has been rolling out a series of opinion pieces in response to my book. As you might expect, most of them are critical, although a couple have been thoughtful.

One essay by Sgt. Glenn French was particularly disturbing. French serves as commander of a SWAT team in Sterling Heights, Michigan. French doesn’t criticize me for arguing that too many police officers have adopted this battlefield mindset. Rather, he embraces the combat mentality, and encourages other cops to do the same. Referring to an article I wrote here at HuffPost, French writes:

“What would it take to dial back such excessive police measures?” the author wrote. “The obvious place to start would be ending the federal grants that encourage police forces to acquire gear that is more appropriate for the battlefield. Beyond that, it is crucial to change the culture of militarization in American law enforcement.”

We trainers have spent the past decade trying to ingrain in our students the concept that the American police officer works a battlefield every day he patrols his sector.

Note the choice of words. Not neighborhood, but “sector.” Although I suppose such parsing isn’t even necessary when French just comes right out and declares America a battlefield. Note too that French isn’t even referring to SWAT teams, here. He’s suggesting that all cops be taught to view the streets and neighborhoods they patrol in this way.

French then tosses out some dubious statistics.

The fact is, more American police officers have died fighting crime in the United States over the past 12 years than American soldiers were killed in action at war in Afghanistan. According to ODMP.org, 1,831 cops have been killed in the line of duty since 2001. According to iCasualties.org, the number of our military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan is 1,789.

Cops on the beat are facing the same dangers on the streets as our brave soldiers do in war.

Even accepting French’s preposterous premise here, his numbers are wrong. The U.S. has lost 2,264 troops in Afghanistan, about 22 percent more than French claims. Moreover, more than half police officer deaths since 2001 were due to accidents (mostly car accidents), not felonious homicide. Additionally, depending on how you define the term, there are between 600,000 and 800,000 law enforcement officers working in the United States. We have about 65,000 troops in Afghanistan. So comparing overall fatalities is absurd. The rates of cops killed versus soldiers killed aren’t even close. And that’s not factoring in the soldiers who’ve come home without limbs. The dangers faced by cops and soldiers in Afghanistan aren’t remotely comparable.

As I’ve pointed out before, the actual homicide rate for cops on the job, while higher than that in the country as a whole, is still lower than the rate in about half of the larger cities in America. If cops on the beat face “the same dangers on the streets as our brave soldiers do in war,” so does everyone who lives in Boston, Atlanta, or Dallas.

That is why commanders and tactical trainers stress the fact that even on the most uneventful portion of your tour, you can be subjected to combat at a moment’s notice.

I think French’s choice of words in this passage speaks for itself.

What is it with this growing concept that SWAT teams shouldn’t exist? Why shouldn’t officers utilize the same technologies, weapon systems, and tactics that our military comrades do?

We should, and we will.

Again, it’s hard to even respond to this. You’re either alarmed to hear this kind of language from a domestic police officer, or you aren’t. And if you aren’t, I don’t think there’s much I can write to convince you otherwise. I highlight it here only to point out that it is indeed a domestic police officer who wrote this. I’ve been criticized at times for making the argument that too many cops in America today see their jobs in this way — that I’m exaggerating when I write or say that some cops see American streets as war zones. Well, here it is.

Black helicopters and mysterious warriors exist. They are America’s answer to the evil men that the anti-SWAT crowd wouldn’t dare face.

The second sentence is undoubtedly true. I’m not opposed to SWAT teams. When used properly — to defuse an already violent situation, where lives are at risk — they perform marvelously. I am opposed to using them to raid organic farms in response to nuisance violations, or to storm animal shelters to kill baby deer. Or, more to the point, to serve search warrants on people suspected of consensual drug crimes, the reason for the vast majority of the 100+ SWAT raids conducted each day in America.

One could argue that French is merely one cop, and there’s no evidence that his essay, alarming as it may be, is representative of any significant percentage of law enforcement officials. The problem is that his essay appeared on PoliceOne, one of the most popular police destinations on the Internet. It’s a part of a series of essays that the editors of that site chose to run in response to my book. If French’s perspective isn’t representative of a significant portion of law enforcement, it’s difficult to see why PoliceOne would have chosen to run it. At the very least, the editors don’t appear to have found it objectionable enough to exclude from the series.

It’s also worth noting that French trains other police officers. He has also written a book on policing. So his perspective and approach to the job is getting passed on to other officers. Moreover, there’s ample anecdotal evidence that plenty of other law enforcement officials share his perspective. Here, for example, is the sheriff of Clayton County, Georgia in 2008:

read more:

Officer who shot Villanueva becomes member of SWAT team

June 26, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

surce:montrealgazette.com

 

The Montreal police officer who took just 57 seconds to get out of his  cruiser, wrestle a young man to the ground and fire his gun four times — killing  an unarmed teen and injuring two others — became a SWAT team member in the midst  of a coroner’s inquest into the fatal shooting.

Lawyers involved in the inquest into the shooting death of Fredy Villanueva,  which is set to resume Wednesday, say the move shows a lack of respect for the  work of coroner André Perreault, whose inquest has boiled down to one question:  On the night of Aug. 9, 2008, was Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe justified in  fearing that the youths he stopped to question in a Montreal North park would  disarm him?

“This squad is called on more often to use their guns because they’re  involved in high-risk interventions,” said Alain Arsenault, whose client was  injured by one of Lapointe’s bullets. “I think it was a bad decision on the part  of police force management (to give Lapointe the job).”

Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafrenière said that Lapointe applied for the  highly sought-after job, and got it after undergoing rigorous tests. It was not  a promotion, nor does it come with more pay, he said.

“He has never been found guilty of anything, so it would be hard for us to  keep him in an office or something like that,” he said. “And we’re not going to  say don’t take that officer on the SWAT team because some people might think it  doesn’t look good.”

SWAT, or technical response officers, intervene in special police operations  such as hostage-takings, bomb defusings or disappearances under water, which  require them to have diving skills. Montreal’s SWAT team was present during the  student demonstrations last year.

Lawyers for the victims argued at the inquest, which last heard from  witnesses in November 2010, that safety mechanisms on police officers’ holsters  would have prevented anyone from grabbing Lapointe’s gun, and that the officer  was simply trigger happy and out to get the Montreal North youths.

Lapointe’s partner, Stéphanie Pilotte, testified that she never pulled her  gun during the mêlée because she wasn’t afraid.

Read the rest of this article:http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Officer+shot+Villanueva+becomes+member+SWAT+team/8577383/story.html#ixzz2XKQ7GunT

Police Drone Crashes into Police

May 12, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

source:gismodo.com

Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office had a big day planned. After becoming the first department in the country with its own aerial drone ($300,000!), they were ready for a nice photo op. And then the drone crashed into a SWAT team.

The Examiner reports a painfully contrived police action-athon:

As the sheriff’s SWAT team suited up with lots of firepower and their armored vehicle known as the “Bearcat,” a prototype drone from Vanguard Defense Industries took off for pictures of all the police action. It was basically a photo opportunity, according to those in attendance.

“Lots of firepower” and a “Bearcat” sure sounds like a good photo op. OK, time to launch the $300,000 drone. Here we go. Launch the drone:

“[The] prototype drone was flying about 18-feet off the ground when it lost contact with the controller’s console on the ground. It’s designed to go into an auto shutdown mode…but when it was coming down the drone crashed into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle.”

Not only did the drone fail, and not only did it crash, it literally crashed into the police. It’s no wonder we’re not able to find a video of this spectacular publicity failure. Luckily, the SWAT boys were safe in their Bearcat.

This would be a fine one-off blooper story if it weren’t for some upsetting implications. This is exactly why we have reason to raise multiple eyebrows at Congress, which wants to allow hundreds of similar drones to fly over US airspace. These drones are still a relatively young technology, relatively unproven, and relatively crash-prone. The odds of being hit by one are low, of course, but should a Texas-style UAV plummet ever happen in, say, a dense urban area, nobody would be laughing. Not all of us are driving around in Bearcats

 

Gunman holding firefighters killed; 4 hostages OK

April 10, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

By By JOHNNY CLARK and PHILLIP LUCAS, Associated Press

SUWANEE, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a gunman holding four firefighters in suburban Atlanta was shot dead when SWAT members stormed the home and that all the hostages are slightly injured but should be OK.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said Wednesday evening that a SWAT officer has been shot in the hand. He would not say if SWAT members killed the suspect.

Minutes before the police announcement, one big explosion followed by several smaller ones or gunshots were heard in the Suwanee neighborhood about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Police and fire officials say five firefighters responded to what seemed like a routine medical call in Suwanee and were eventually taken hostage by an unidentified suspect inside the house. They say one was let go to move the fire truck.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Four firefighters who responded to what seemed like a routine medical call were being held hostage Wednesday by a gunman who has barricaded himself in a home in suburban Atlanta, authorities said.

Five firefighters responded to the call in Suwanee and were eventually taken hostage by an unidentified suspect inside the house, Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said. The gunman released one of the firefighters to move a fire truck.

Authorities were not releasing information on what happened inside the home, but did say it doesn’t appear any of the firefighters has been hurt.

The gunman’s motive was unclear to police and fire officials, and a SWAT team and negotiator have made contact with the suspect.

Fire department Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the medical call seemed routine and firefighters did not believe there was any danger. One engine and one ambulance responded.

“Right now we just want our firefighters to be released. We want them to be able to go home safe to their families,” Rutledge told WSB-TV.

Television helicopter footage showed police and fire trucks surrounding the neighborhood of mostly two-story homes and well-kept lawns about 35 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. Residents were not being allowed in to their neighborhood. About 50 bystanders gathered outside the subdivision while police and SWAT officials surrounded the house. According to public records, the home is in foreclosure and has been bank-owned since mid-November.

The firefighters are cross-trained as emergency medical technicians, said Rutledge, who would not speculate on whether there was a real emergency at the home.

“Our firefighters responded to a call they respond to hundreds of times, and that’s a medical emergency,” he said.

Lucas reported from Atlanta.

ACLU Launches Nationwide Police Militarization Investigation

March 6, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched a nationwide campaign to assess police militarization in the United States. Starting Wednesday, ACLU affiliates in 23 states are sending open records requests to hundreds of state and local police agencies requesting information about their SWAT teams, such as how often and for what reasons they’re deployed, what types of weapons they use, how often citizens are injured during SWAT raids, and how they’re funded. More affiliates may join the effort in the coming weeks.

Additionally, the affiliates will ask for information about drones, GPS tracking devices, how much military equipment the police agencies have obtained through programs run through the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, and how often and for what purpose state National Guards are participating in enforcement of drug laws.

“We’ve known for a while now that American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war,” said Kara Dansky, senior counsel at the ACLU’s Center for Justice, which is coordinating the investigation. “The aim of this investigation is to find out just how pervasive this is, and to what extent federal funding is incentivizing this trend.”

Full Article

LAPD SWAT investigated for re-selling guns for profit

August 30, 2012 by  
Filed under General News

source:abc

LAPD SWAT officers are being investigated, suspected of buying handguns and re-selling them with the LAPD “SWAT” insignia attached for a profit,.

Police Chief Charlie Beck faced the LAPD Police Commission Tuesday.

No one was more shocked to hear members of LAPD’s elite SWAT team are accused of selling guns than Beck.

“I hold them to the highest standards,” said Beck. “I don’t expect them to do this kind of thing. They disappoint me the most.”

Word of the gun dealings first surfaced in 2010 after a firearm inventory found guns missing. According to an LAPD internal report, SWAT officers bought between 51 and 324 Kimber handguns and allegedly resold them for a profit.

The high-end guns sell online starting at $1,000. The officers are accused of buying them with their department discount for $600, then reselling them for as much as $3,500 with LAPD’s insignia on them.

Now the department is trying to figure out who may have bought the guns.
read more:http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=8790241

Veterans being targeted then thrown in psych-wards’ Soviet-style

August 27, 2012 by  
Filed under General News

source USWGO news

author Brian D Hill

There now seems to be a rising trend of veterans being disappeared and/or being thrown in psychiatric wards over their political statements, over owning guns, and for disagreeing with the President of the United States.

One example is Brandon Raub, a former marine that was honorably discharged, made statements on his Facebook profile page about a peoples revolution, that 9/11 was an inside job, and even talked about the criminals in the Federal Government needing to be brought to Justice. Those statements led him to being transported to a psychiatric hospital where psychiatrists rubber stamp patients as mentally ill with help of the DSM-IV-TR psychiatric manual.

What happened to Raub is happening to other people not just in Chesterfield County where Raub lives, but all over the country.

Infowars revealed that “Radio host Steve Quayle was sent news of  an Army combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient in west central Ohio  who was the victim of a police raid on the evening of August 22nd during  which Miami County Ohio Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant to  seize the man’s firearms for the “safety of the defendant and the  general public,” according to the warrant.” In other words an unnamed source was also being labeled as mentally ill and had his guns taken away.

Another report released on The Alex Jones Show August 26th edition, by a veteran caller from Denver that told his story that he was cleaning his gun outside of his home on his porch which attracted a complaint and then the SWAT Team showed up, handcuffed him and then a psychiatrist was systematically there to label him mentally ill to take his legal firearms away then he will never be allowed to own a firearm again.

 

A reporter that was in touch with the head guy for The Rutherford Institute discovered 20 similar cases similar to that of Brandon Raub except those didn’t get on YouTube or have as good of publicity as Raub’s case was.

In the Communist/fascist USSR people were committed into a mental institution for criticizing communism or even being a dissident. The fact that a trend is beginning all over America where veterans are being SWAT teamed or arrested then forced to plead that they are mentally ill and need psychiatric treatment and their legal firearms taken away, all for criticizing the President Barack Hussein Obama or Barry Soetoro.

The fact is disappearing U.S. citizens including war veterans is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Constitution, and even the state Constitutions. The right to a court trial, an attorney, and jury trial is not only a fundamental liberty in America but also codified into Constitutional the law of the land.

There are plenty of other cases this article can highlight but the truth is that the Department of Homeland Security has declared war on U.S. war veterans

full story:.http://uswgo.com/veterans-being-targeted-then-thrown-in-psych-wards-soviet-style.htm