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Arizona SWAT Team Kills Man in Drug Raid Shootout

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #746)
Consequences of Prohibition

A Phoenix-area SWAT team shot and killed one man during a "dynamic entry" (break the door down) drug raid early last Thursday morning after the raiders were met with gunfire. The as yet unidentified man becomes the 39th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year, and the third one in the past week.

Police told ABC 15 News the raid in a Phoenix neighborhood was undertaken by the Surprise, Arizona, police SWAT team. Team members were met with gunfire from multiple sources as they attempted to make entry into the residence. They responded with gunfire of their own, killing one of the men in the house.

ABC 15 News reported that the purpose of the raid was unclear, but, which bills itself as a "community for cops," reported that police were serving a drug search warrant. It was also that described the raid as a dynamic entry raid.

There is no word yet on what happened to the other alleged shooters in the house, nor have police mentioned what, if anything, they found in the house. No police were injured in the raid.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


William Aiken (not verified)



Radley Balko has done of a lot of research on the use of SWAT teams for minor drug offenses. According to Mr. BalkoSWAT teams are used in over a 150 drug raids every day in America. This overkill by law enforcement has been so common that the public has come to accept this lethal use as a necessary tool to fight the drug war. The public has become numb to these strories. It appears that every municipality has a SWAT force in their arsenal and the general public feels the need to use SWAT whenever there's evidence of drugs being used or sold in their communities. Except in those affluent communities.

It's important that Phil Smith is keeping a record of the carnage caused by these SWAT raids. From his reporting on this issue, it appears that police has suffered few casualties while the home owners are the ones most  in danger of being shot and losing their lives. Even the extremely few cases when law enforcement is charged with a crime when they shoot and kill someone in these raids, they are rarely convicted of anything. Such as was the case in Lima, OH where a SWAT officer shot and killed an unarmed young mother and shot her one year old baby that she was holding in her arms. Evidently the fact that there were drugs in the victim's house was good enough for an all-white jury to acquit the officer of all charges.

How did we get to such a place where the violent use of SWAT has become acceptable for these non-violent crimes? By not paying attention to this misuse of a special law enforcement resource. What should be a resource used in special circumstances such as hostage situations, armed robbers and domestic terrorists, is mostly used for these drug raids. The political mindset of local politicians seems to be "Oh well now that we have a SWAT team we might as well give them something to do."

Sooner than later a situation will happen where a SWAT team kills someone that is so senseless and over the top, it will generate such outrage,  that these SWAT raids will finally be called into question and the debate will begin to end this militaristic use of law enforcement. It's unfortunate that such an event will have to be the catalyst for changing such a dangerous and stupid policy. There's been enough carnage already.  


Sun, 08/05/2012 - 1:24pm Permalink
Tara (not verified)

Its crazy how important it is to mention no cops were killed or injured. What about the poor innocent people that get woken up by these people half asleep and reach for their gun out of instinct to protect themselves. Shame on this nasty world.
Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:49pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

Why are Americans so in love with Fascism and arbitrary



I've never been able to understand why everyone who

waves an American flag is not outraged at these

God Damned violations of American Liberty.  Where are

the Patriots?


Does "unreasonable search and seizure and bloodbath"

ring any bells?


I've never been able to understand how anyone that

calls their self a Christian cannot be horrified by

these evil actions.  Where are the Christians?


How can a person claim to be sane and rational, and

yet not oppose this Freeform Bloodlust?  Where are

the Human Beings?


No more Drug Wars.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 5:44pm Permalink
The Stuart Family (not verified)

My family was the victim of an early morning SWAT raid for paper.  Business Records.  There were no charges.  There was no crime.  There was no apology.  Just sheer terror.  This was instigated by the AZ Attorney General and carried out by the AZ Department of Public Safety (DPS).  Really?   35+ assault weapons to our heads for WHOSE safety?  We live with fear and hatred now - something we never knew until this happened.  We suffer from chronic PTSD.  When a truck drives through our quiet town we suffer heart-pounding, body-numbing panic attacks.  It is truly unbelievable what this horrible tactic can do to a normal everyday American family.  We cannot believe this IS America. 

The Stuart Family, Pine, AZ

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 12:10pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by The Stuart Family (not verified)

You have my (and surely many others') deepest sympathy

for what you and yours have been through.

May you heal most fully.  Peace to your soul.

Meantime, we will continue to call them out for their lies, their

violence, their deceit, their stupidity, their immorality,

their evil.  They are Jackbooted Jackasses.  But I don't have to

tell you about that!

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 8:44pm Permalink
Anonymous 12 (not verified)

Here in america we have the right to (supposedly) protect our property. With the media often having stories of "home invasion" robberies, someone kicks down my door w/out saying who they are is asking to get hit w/12 gauge when they enter. People legally trying to protect their homes getting murdered by trained terrorist police. Also nothing was mentioned what if anything was found in the house (maybe some kids now without a parent).

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 2:37pm Permalink
Rebellion (not verified)

The "dynamic entry" raid that these SWAT terrorists employ has nothing to do with officer safety & everything to do with the preservation of evidence. Residents are being murdered in their homes so drugs can't be flushed down the toilet. Google " Brenda Van Zwieten"!!

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 3:46pm Permalink

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