Please: Don't Shoot!

Dear Drug War Chronicle Reader:

The graphic to the left is from the web site of the Lima, Ohio, SWAT team. In January 2008, the team stormed the home of Tarika Wilson and Anthony Terry during an ordinary drug investigation. A member of the SWAT team shot and killed Wilson -- an unarmed 26-year old -- also blowing a finger off the one-year old son she was holding. Another member of the SWAT team killed two family dogs on a different floor. The police department removed the graphic from the web site following the incident. Wilson's killer was charged with two misdemeanors, acquitted, and continues to work for the Lima police department, though not for the SWAT team.

Created for emergency or very high-intensity situations (snipers, hostages and the like), today SWAT teams deploy more than 50,000 times per year, mostly in low-level drug raids. This is dangerous and wrong, as the killing of Wilson, the maiming of her child, and the image the SWAT team chose to represent itself before things went bad all demonstrate. Please watch our online video, "SWAT Raids -- No One Is Safe," please forward it to your friends, and if possible please post it on your web site. When you're done, please sign the "Petition for Responsible SWAT Reform" to limit SWAT raids to when they're truly needed.

Please consider donating to this effort, and thank you for helping to stop the "war on drugs."

Sincerely,

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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SWAT not needed

A few years ago, a SWAT team shot & killed a man in our town, a normal guy the local cops on the beat knew to get a little loud when he was drinking. But the SWAT team was newly formed & needed some practice, so they shot & killed that frightened man as he hid behind the swimming pool in his back yard trying to reach 911 on his cell phone. The outcry nipped in the bud any casual use of an armed & trained to kill strike force.
The cop on the beat knows his/her territory. Let them do their job.

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