SWAT Raids Often Target Innocent People

In addition to killing an unarmed mother of six and shooting a baby, it turns out that the SWAT team in Lima, OH has been raiding innocent people quite regularly:

LIMA - More than a quarter of the 198 raids by the Lima Police Department SWAT team in the last seven years came up empty-handed without finding drugs, weapons, paraphernalia or money.

And nearly a third of the time, police do not find drugs or a weapon. Drugs alone were found in nearly two-thirds of the raids and a weapon, by itself, was found one-third of the time. [LimaOhio.com]

That’s a lot of innocent doors getting kicked in and a lot of innocent people having guns held to their head. Yet, the Lima PD actually thinks it’s something to be proud of:

"That means 68 percent of the time, we're getting guns or drugs off the street," said Maj. Kevin Martin, who called the numbers a success.

Nothing could more perfectly illustrate the complete detachment that underscores a policy of routinely terrorizing innocent citizens. Think about this: the Lima officer who shot Tarika Wilson claimed that he killed her because he was startled by the sound of gunfire caused by his fellow officers shooting dogs elsewhere in the house. That is sort of thing that can happen during these raids, and they know it.

Thus, Maj. Martin’s statement reveals that Lima PD has learned nothing after killing Wilson and shooting her baby’s finger off. They are proud that some of the people whose lives they endanger in these raids turn out to be actual criminals. The rest just don’t factor into the equation. Not even little babies.
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...Called the numbers a success.

"That means 68 percent of the time, we're getting guns or drugs off the street," said Maj. Kevin Martin, who called the numbers a success.

And therein, lies the problem. One of the worst things about the War on (some) Drugs is that it places such an emphasis on numbers. We'll never make any progress until we focus on people, not numbers.

As usual, great reporting.

Lima's Great Vision

                City of Lima Vision Statement

"We must make the City of Lima THE place to live and work in Northwest OhioEvery decision, every effort, every attitude determines Lima's future."

Yeah, right.  Lima’s (pronounced like ‘lima’ bean) vision statement on their city blog site (pasted above) doesn’t seem to consider any vision beyond Northwest Ohio.  I would call that a very limited vision statement.

I don’t think I’d want to live in a city with a population of 40,000+ where 50-or-so residents get randomly raided by SWAT teams every year for no legitimate reason.

Once you consider that Lima is part of the rust belt, and an industrial manufacturing town on the list for cities with economic problems, the city's vision totally fades.  To me, it sounds like the perfect formula for alternative income schemes such as prostitution and drugs.  In fact, according to Wikipedia the FBI confirms it:  “[Lima] has the highest crime rate for a city its size (20-60,000) in Ohio and also the 9th highest per capita in 2006, according to the FBI.”

So I’m surprised that we don't hear that Lima has some slick little law firm handling people’s complaints about unproductive SWAT team raids.  If 50 residences per year are the targets of botched drug raids, that means settlements of, say, $25,000 each, would add up to legal penalties of $1,250,000 per year, or a tidy $417,000 in legal fees for as long as the Lima cops pull this kind of crap. No lawsuits?  C’mon you lawyer guys, where’s the greed we know and love?  Clean up Lima by cleaning up SWAT.

Giordano

Lima's real problem...

...according to the Lima .com's commentary,seems to be racism.Same as ever...hiding under the phony "drug free" rock.

It's funny...

After contacting Jesse Lowe, President of Drugs Bring Deaths and in a long email attempting to clearly explain to him that the drug war is what causes the problems that have inspired him to start his campaign in Lima, this is the email I received back from him:

"FIRST OF ALL THE SLOGAN IS DRUGS BRING DEATH.IT IS THE TRUTH,PERIOD! MENTALLY*PHYSICALLY*SPIRITUALLY ARE THE THREE WAYS THEY KILL.THINK ABOUT THAT FIRST BEFORE YOU CAMPAIGN TO MAKE THEM LEGAL. THAT"S THE BOTTOM LINE-------YOU CAN LIVE DEAD.PEOPLE DO IT EVERYDAY IN MY CITY. 6FT UNDER IS THE EASY DEATH.YOU GOT TO THINK BIGGER THAN WHAT YOUR SPEAKING OF.-------WORD-----"

It's a shame that the general public seems too closed minded to overcome their brainwashed opinions and look into what's really happening. It's really all quite straight forward.

General Public

I'm not really surprised Jesse responded like he did; jumping to conclusions with the least possible thought is the easiest way to feel secure. It's the same reason people on internet message boards constantly accuse each other of being ignorant or "not understanding the issue." If you can convince yourself that all opposing arguments are made by people who don't understand the problem, you can dismiss those arguments without having to put any thought into them, and with drug war arguments, you can simply call the person arguing against you dead inside, therefore their position is not based on reason, but on their addiction to the drugs that killed them inside. He's not dismissing your legitimate argument, he's trying to save you from yourself!

John Walters has this technique down to a science; That's why he only spreads his propaganda in commercials, un-commentable blogs and press conferences, because he can respond to any real questions with a snide comment which his staff laughs at, negating in his mind the need to actually address the question. It's also, in my opinion, why he refuses to engage in actual debates with Scott Morgan, Pete Guither, or any of the other experts who disagree with the war on drugs. Doing so would require giving them equal time and equal volume, and he knows he can't win in those circumstances.

Wow -- where did they find that guy?

Mr. Lowe's response shows all the typical signs of being generated by an uneducated, ignorant, small-minded, unthoughtful individual. I've seen a similar writing style (i.e. all caps, use of asterisks, incorrect use of quotation marks, poor sentence construction, etc.) from schizophrenics, dullards, and very undereducated people. It's mind-blowing that this gentleman is the president of an organization who expects others to value his position? Come on people, it should be quite clear this person is not an informed public policy specialist. Word ;)

- Genevieve

I watched a TV show last night...

About Prohibition on History Channel, and it was very interesting. THE EXACT SAME THINGS that were going on back in the 1920's, and for the 200 years before that are happening now. I take what Jesse Lowe said to mean as "the death we'll give you will be better than any death you might die from the "bad" drugs." He sounds just like what the show called "moral crusaders." It would be kind of laughable, if so many people weren't dying from prohibition, that these ignoramuses learn absolutely NOTHING from history. You know what they say about those who don't learn from history...I guess there aren't enough of us who have learned yet, so we're doomed to repeat the same stupid, harmful policies so some idiot can feel a little better about himself...

Malkavian's picture

Same old indeed

Absolutely correct.

I'd just add - since I'm currently reading "The Economics of Prohibition" by Thornton - that all sorts of government interventionism went on in the 1800s as well, and a substantial amount of the "bad things" that culminated in the alcohol Prohibition of early 20th century was actually created by the interventionist politicians. This created a great deal of frustration among various Christian (temperance) movements, because they felt things weren't progressing as fast and as flawless as they'd hope.

It's also quite scary to realize that the "soft" drug/"hard" drug argument was invented back then. During WWI wine and beer producers actually said very bad things about those producing "ardent spirits". So even then - as in cannabis activism today - this blame game was going on.

Needless to say those beer brewers and wine makers got exactly the same as our current cannabis activists who wail on about how "baaaaaad" all other drugs (including alcohol) are and how safe their drug of choice is: nothing.

The media coverage of SWAT raids impacts the public view

Here in Schenectady, NY a blue collar city of 65,000 there was a SWAT style raid done where the family dog was killed over some marijuana(less than an ounce) being sold at that residence. The town's newspaper, the Daily Gazette wrote two editorials strongly condemming the raid, It's local columnist, Carl Strock interviewed the family and pressed the Mayor for answers. But in what may have been the most embarassing moment for the Schenectady Police was a cartoon on the editorial page mocking the Police Chief and the press conference that defended the raid.

I don't know if the Lima print media was as critical for a much more severe raid where a Mother was killed and her baby wounded, however, the fact that officer was undercharged by the prosecutor and acquitted by the jury is troubling and the SWAT raids in Lima appear to go on business as usual.

In Schenectady the Vice squad was disbanded and there haven't been any reports of these kind of raids since. So the media can play a significant role in shaping the public's view on these horrific raids.

And besides all that...

...beware of people that end their sentences with the word PERIOD! Displays a self righteous,closed minded, authoritarian ,everytime...period.

That is one strange story. I

That is one strange story. I don't know what the heck is going on there but how about a little accountability. A mother of six and A BABY! Horrible!!

Raids Everywhere!

Look what happened to this poor guy!
http://tonycreed.com/taskforceraid.html

"and a weapon, by itself, was found one-third of the time"

Likely 75 % of American households have a gun of some type or another.

What do you want to bet that the vast majority of the raids where only a weapon was found had no connection to any criminal activity at all.

If this is the case their percentage of "successful raids" is more like 50%

Even a broken watch has the correct time twice a day...

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