Interesting article about no knock police raids over at the Wall Street Journal. This is one of those areas that's always been a little disturbing. A police SWAT team shows up at your house in the middle of the night and without announcing themselves break down your door, brandishing weapons, barking out orders and otherwise threatening your family. This type raid may sometimes be necessary but surely not for nonviolent offenses like drug violations or less. The article states that SWAT team call-outs rose from 3000 in 1981 to 40,000 in 2001.
The result of this increased use of SWAT teams is that the number of deadly mistakes by the police have gone up. Here's a couple stories from the article:
In 2003, acting on a bad tip from an informant, police mistakenly raided the Harlem home of Alberta Spruill, a 57-year-old city worker. The violence of the incursion literally scared Spruill to death; she died of a heart attack at the scene.
Last summer a SWAT team in Sunrise, Fla., shot and killed 23-year-old Anthony Diotaiuto -- a bartender and part-time student with no history of violence -- during an early-morning raid on his home. Police found all of an ounce of marijuana.
This January a member of the Fairfax, Va. SWAT team accidentally shot and killed Salvatore Culosi, a local optometrist with no criminal record, no history of violence and no weapons in his home. Police were investigating Culosi for wagering on sporting events with friends.
Wagering on sporting events with his friends? I don't care if he was the biggest bookie on the east coast a SWAT team should not have been involved in his arrest. Anyway, read the rest of the article here. Hat tip to Señor Instapundit.