SWAT Raid Quote of the Day

Megan McArdle posted about a SWAT raid, and included video. Go watch. She leaves us with:

I don’t know how anyone can watch that video, and think to themselves, “Yes, this is definitely worth it to rid the world of the scourge of excess pizza consumption and dopey, giggly conversations about cartoons.”  Short of multiple homicide, I’m having trouble coming up with anything that justifies that kind of police action.  And you know, I doubt the police could either.  But they weren’t busy trying to figure out if they were maximizing the welfare of their larger society. They were, in that most terrifying of phrases, just doing their jobs.

And in the end, that is our shame, not theirs.

It actually looks like a fairly professionally executed warrant. Shooting the family dog is often SOP for these kinds of operations. Just better hope they don’t serve the wrong house, or the warrant isn’t based on flimsy evidence.

18 thoughts on “SWAT Raid Quote of the Day”

  1. From what I understand the warrant was based on flimsy evidence, and it was even served over a week after it was issued. I think there could have been a very different outcome had the police acted in a timely and more informed fashion.

    Shooting the dogs does indeed to be SOP. (If you spend any time at all in any gun forums, you’ll usually see a few references to cops shooting dogs and/or “hide your dogs” a week)

    Just because its standard procedure does not mean it is good procedure though.

    From what I was able to find, they came out of the house with the suspect, a misdemeanor amount of pot, and a pipe.

    Now, I don’t condone drug use/abuse of any kind – but the way this situation is described it sounds live overkill. I mean – they shot a fricken corgi. Sure they are saying it was a shot that missed the bigger dog. That “miss” could have hit the child that was present in the house.

    All I know is I think the policies regarding dogs present during a situation like this might need to be revisited. Killing a mans dog is a good way to turn a non-violent person violent. Killing a 7 year old boys dog in front of him will mess him up – it WILL give him a bad impression on law enforcement – one that Law Enforcement does not need or deserve.

  2. “It actually looks like a fairly professionally executed warrant. Shooting the family dog is often SOP for these kinds of operations.”

    That’s the unbelievable part. The guy didn’t have a violent record. They ultimately fined him $300 for having a bong in his house. Even if you assume doing weed is a social evil and ought to be punished, surely shooting his dogs (a caged pit bull and a corgi, for goodness sake) and terrorizing his wife and child is excessive in this case?

    This is a clear case of the police introducing violence into a situation where there was none. That’s not the role of the police in any free country.

    “Just better hope they don’t serve the wrong house, or the warrant isn’t based on flimsy evidence.”

    Exactly. Despite all this, this raid was “successful,” because they a) did find drugs and b) didn’t kill anyone. Will they get it “right” every time?

  3. It looks like they shot the dog with a child as the backstop… Good thing they didn’t miss.

    In my opinion, police and military personnel are at their best when protecting the innocent. Children are the ultimate innocents — with rare exceptions like child soldiers in Africa or whatever. That means accepting a higher degree of personal risk to mitigate risk to others. If that means letting a medium sized dog gnaw on you until someone can butt-stroke it off, or club it, so that you don’t use a little kid as a shooting backstop, then so be it. I don’t think a corgi is going to rip out the throat of an armored SWAT trooper.

    Know your target and what is beyond it…

  4. “… it WILL give him a bad impression on law enforcement – one that Law Enforcement does not need or deserve.”

    I disagree.

    It teaches children very early what law enforcement is really about, and the impression is richly deserved.

  5. I agree with your’s and Megan’s points except that none of the professionals were “doing their job.” Certainly the war on drugs creates a very nasty dynamic in our society, but the officers who participated in that raid, chose to use a senseless amount of violence to achieve a simple search.

  6. They did miss. A richochet from the shooting of the pit bull hit the corgi….it could have hit the child.

    That was not at all professional. It’s time these thugs with badges had their steroids withheld, given mandatory classes in the Constitution, and find new jobs where they can’t terrorize citizens.

  7. SOP or not, it’s no more ridiculous than shooting the residents as SOP. If not attacked by resident or dog, do not shoot. Yelling resident or barking dog does not equal a mortal threat that needs to be slain.

  8. This video is an absolute disgrace. I disagree that the police in this video acted like professionals. They shot a dog and traumatized a child for life because her Dad smoked a little pot? I am not defending drug use but come on!!!!

    Your home is supposed to be your castle. I am sure that this video would bring a smile to Hitler/Stalin’s face.

    Just the Libertarian in me speaking.

  9. I can’t help but wonder WHY Swat was even involved… This doesn’t seem to rise to the level of a full drug dealer/crack house raid requirement…

  10. If they ever ran up in MY house like they did in the video of the SWAT raid, the first few of them will have hell to pay! The more videos shown of these para-military SWAT raids, the better prepared folks like me, who’d fiercely defend themselves and their houses, are for preparing to defend our stead! The video is a sick demonstration of the police state we live in – killing dogs, shooting around kids, killing innocent folks. King George III would be proud. :(

  11. The video and the shooting of the dogs also exposes something that is troubling about policing in today’s U.S., and that is that the top priority of police forces today is protection of themselves and minimizing any exposure to what might be physical danger in their dealings with civilians. Hence shooting dogs becomes SOP during these types of raids, we can’t have cops being bitten or jumped on my Corgis or Cocker Spaniels. Likewise look at the protective helmets, Kevlar vest, etc.

    One of the chief reason’s that anti-gun politicians offer when they propose banning some type of guns that this is what cops might have to face on the street.. Why don’t we just find cops who aren’t afraid of dogs or lawfully armed civilians?

  12. Mike,

    Good point. The funny thing is that if you look at COIN doctrine, it states that one of the paradoxes of effective COIN is that the more secure you make your force (with armor, aggressive SOPs, overwhelming force, mounted patrols, etc) then ultimately the less successful you are because the people are alienated. Excessive force only gains you respect so long as the trooper is physically present; effective policing, just like counterinsurgency, requires the consent and cooperation of the population.

    It is kind of ironic that the police try to emulate the military as far as their TTPs go, and even the military has moved away from these tactics (at least doctrinally) because they don’t work in the long run.


  13. If the cops came into my house under an unconstitutional policy of no-knock warrant …. then shot my dog and terrorized my family?

    And I had committed a Minor infraction..?

    They better not show up on the paperwork. They better not be identifiable.

    They would never again be safe in public

    The impression I would leave would be the blood splatter pattern on his nice new car, wife, or house.

  14. The SWAT team should all be thrown in jail and these people should sue the living hell out of the police department. This sort of thing cannot stand in a free country.

  15. “Just better hope they don’t serve the wrong house, or the warrant isn’t based on flimsy evidence.”

    The problem is, THIS IS SOP. Lying on affadavits for warrants, judges signing off when they shouldn’t (nonviolent suspects), warrants being signed blank and filled out later, wrong address raids with no specifics as to what they are looking for and where, etc. If it weren’t SOP, then it wouldn’t be done so brazenly in the cases where it is discovered by the public. If the police and judges thought they were doing something wrong or wouldn’t get away with it, they wouldn’t be doing it. The fact that they think they can speaks volumes.

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