Law Enforcement: Maryland Bill Would Ban SWAT Teams for Misdemeanors

Maryland state Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince Georges) has filed a bill, SB 30, that would prohibit Maryland police forces from conducting SWAT team raids on homes where the only suspected offense is a misdemeanor. The bill also requires county prosecutors to sign off on SWAT team search warrant applications before they are submitted to judges.
PolitickerMD cartoon about the Berwyn Heights raid
The bill is only the latest fallout from a July 2008 raid by the Prince Georges County Sheriff's Department SWAT team at the home of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo. The SWAT team was after a marijuana-filled box that had been delivered to that address, but subsequent investigation revealed that the mayor and his family were victimized in a smuggling scheme that used Fedex to ship drugs and knew nothing about the box, which had already been intercepted by police before being left on the family's porch. Mayor Calvo and his mother-in-law were cuffed and detained, and the two family dogs were shot and killed by SWAT team members.

Last year, the raid -- and the Prince Georges Sheriff's Department's refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing -- led Sen. Muse to file the first bill in the nation to try to rein in aggressive SWAT teams. That bill, which required extensive reporting requirements on SWAT team deployments and results, passed into law and took effect January 1.

Muse's current bill had a hearing Tuesday in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Law enforcement officials from across the state showed up to complain that the bill would add unnecessary steps to the warrant review process and threaten the safety of SWAT team officers. No vote was taken.

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It's a good bill but doesn't go far enough

SWAT should ONLY be used where the suspect is suspected of having violated someone's rights in a violent manner.

And screw the LEOs who claim it adds "unnecessary steps to the warrant review process". GOOD! It SHOULD be VERY difficult to obtain a warrant in a Constitutional Republic where liberty is valued.

And about the safety of SWAT team members -- SWAT is a dangerous activity when used properly, and even more so when used improperly, as in middle of the night and even daylight "dynamic entries" of the homes of non-violent offenders (and wrong homes raids). If SWAT members are so fearful for their safety, they shouldn't be a part of SWAT in the first place, and they shouldn't be using SWAT to serve warrants for non-violent "crimes". SWAT team members are obviously nothing more than yellow bellied bullies.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

And they're not really after drugs. . .

In the 2 years before I was raided, there were many, many days when any cop really wanting to get those bad ol' drugs off the street could have made a killing at my house. Felonies abounded. But what did they do? Oh, since Arizona didn't allow night raids at the time, they waited until 6:30 a.m. so they could attack me while I slept. They seized a whopping $10 worth of meth from me and just by chance 1/2 gram of pot from a friend who was sleeping on my couch. Imagine how scared they must have been, breaking in and seeing a full-grown man in the house and only 10 of them. I guess we were lucky they didn't just start shooting.


Niine months ago, my husband and I (along with our adult son), became victims of the War on Drugs. A SWAT team consisting of 14 various law enforcement agents came into our home on a "concerned citizen's" word. We were cuffed, arrested, and had to post 25,000.00 bail each.
We are professional people, have worked all our lives, put our 4 children through college, and live in a residential area, and in no way are quilty of anything more than personal use of marijuana. We are involved in a long, drawn-out legal battle. This misuse of power has got to stop. The tax payers need to rise up and say NO MORE to the use of our tax dollars on non-violent crimes, let alone, the use of marijuana in the privacy of one's home.

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