Paramilitary Police in America: Where Does It All Lead?


It's 4:30 in the morning. You are sound asleep, as is the rest of your family. Someone is breaking through your front door. You have absolutely no idea what is happening, but you have enough wherewithal to reach for your loaded .45 sitting on the nightstand next to the bed.

You fly out of bed and move down the hall. You see what appears to be two individuals dressed in black, with ski masks over their faces. They also have weapons. They point theirs at you and start yelling. You wisely drop your weapon and hit the floor. You have no idea who these people are or what they want.

Turns out, it's just SWAT and they've come to serve a "no-knock" warrant on you and your home because an informant says you have illegal drugs. Your family is herded into the living room and handcuffed, with SWAT members training loaded weapons on all of you.

While you, your spouse, and your children are on the floor, other SWAT team members go through your home ransacking it trying to find the drugs that their informant swears you have. What the SWAT team fails to realize until they have turned up nothing is that they have accidentally chosen the wrong home. Your rights have been violated but it's all for a good cause, right?

They quickly remove the cuffs and without so much as a word of an apology except maybe noting (more to each other than to you), "Wrong house, things happen," they leave. They exit the front of the house where the door used to be, regroup, then move onto what is hopefully the correct home leaving you with their mess to clean up and emotions to sift through.

A must-read!

We all know this type of situation happens. What many of us are not aware of is just how often this scenario is repeated. Radley Balko's book "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America" highlights no less than 130 incidents of problems related to SWAT team searches, from the wrong home, to plants in question turning out to be tomatoes (instead of pot), to people being mildly injured to murdered. Research shows, "between 1989 and 2001, at least 780 cases of flawed paramilitary raids reached the appellate level, a dramatic increase over the 1980s, where such cases were rare, or earlier, when they were practically nonexistent." In other words, it's becoming a huge problem that people continue to disallow.

In many ways, the overkill (no pun intended) has become epidemic. Too often, police units involved in these types of searches get away with little more than a slap on the wrist, if that. Some locales have taken tough measures to ensure that people's rights are not overthrown by overzealous SWAT teams, but this is rare.

The reality is that if the law was strictly followed, these situations would likely not occur, at least not with the frequency in which they have been happening. SWAT units seem to be under the impression that blasting their way into someone's home in the middle of the night and treating occupants as though they are guilty (often physically and verbally abused in the process) is something that the Constitution allows.

The militarization of law enforcement has been occurring for some time and shows no signs of letting up. In fact, with Obama's DHS in the picture, the DHS presence is becoming more obvious as witnessed in the most recent Tea Party protests against the IRS. During these peaceful events, law enforcement helicopters were seen overhead, DHS ground police units, as well as ICE agents were present in a show of force. It is also interesting to note that there was not one single regular police officer to be seen. The situations were controlled by federal Homeland Security police, Obama's "national police force" at work.

Tea Party protestors at various IRS buildings were told to move away from the entrance. One individual related, "My lawyer told me as long as I didn’t block passage we were OK...I stayed at IRS entrance telling Homeland Security it is my right to be there."

The same person relates that at one point, a woman got out of her car and yelled "I am with ICE!" to which the person responded, "I am with Laguna Patriots!"

ICE is Immigration and Customs Enforcement and one can only wonder why ICE was there at all, but apparently, Homeland Security felt it best to use as much force as possible in attempts to intimidate those protesting peacefully. I could be wrong, but I don't recall DHS or ICE being at Occupy protests. I'll have to research that.

If it is not clear to you that there is a growing (and irrational) belligerent attitude whereby many in law enforcement see average citizens as enemy combatants, then you're not awake. I would suggest you take the red pill.

If the situation continues as it is, there is only one place that it can lead to and that is martial law. The terribly tragic part of this is that in some places, this has already been done without actually calling it martial law (Boston Marathon bombing, Katrina in New Orleans). Because of that, the government has learned that the populace affected by law enforcement's overbearing (and illegal) posture hasn't generated complaints. Of course the government has taken note.

One panel of experts stated, "Elite military units shouldn't be training civilian police, and civilian police shouldn't be using military tactics and weaponry on U.S. citizens." But this is exactly what has happened in much of America and it continues seemingly unabated.

Radley Balko has some strong recommendations at the end of his book that are well worth noting. If governments - local, state, and federal - would put these recommendations in place, America would be safer for average law-abiding citizens. Our rights would be upheld. Without these recommendations, we are destined to move closer and closer to a police state.

  • End the Pentagon giveaways - stop giving military equipment to police units throughout America
  • Set a Good Example - Branch Davidian compound, raid on family of Cuban refugee Elian Gonzales, DEA abuses, ATF abuses - all wrong by federal government
  • Recommit to Posse Comitatus - military belongs on the battle field, not the streets of America
  • Return SWAT policing to its Original Function
  • Rescind Asset Forfeiture Policies
  • Pass Legislation Protecting Right to Home Defense
  • Strict Liability (for SWAT abuses)
  • Tighten Search Warrant Standards
  • More Transparency
  • Civilian Review Boards
  • No Intimidation
  • More Accountability

If these common sense recommendations are not enacted - and soon - America will become a full-fledged police state. That, coupled with this administration's desire to take away weapons is all that is needed to lay waste to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

*This is part 3 in a three part series. Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

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About Fred DeRuvo
Fred DeRuvo is the author of numerous articles and a growing number of Name Your Linkbooks related to conservative theology and politics. Fred received his Bachelor's degree from Philadelphia College of Bible and his Masters from Tyndale Theological Seminary. Fred received his Th.D from Northwestern Theological Seminary in Florida. Listen to Fred’s program and on MPR 105.3 FM in the Philippines. Fred began Study-Grow-Know Ministries several years ago where he fights the scourge of Leftist politics and policies that seem to be gaining a foothold in America. His blogs include Study, Grow, Know and Politically Correct Morass.
  • The AntiMan

    America is already a police state everyone. There is no leading to this, it's already here. It began over 40 years ago when the 1st SWAT team was introduced in L.A. From there it just went awry. The alleged war on drugs ramped it up and then the supposed war on terror made it final. Boston this year should've woken up alot more people to the tyrannical govt here & the tyrannical police officers and federal agents driving and working around us daily. If we don't arrest them at least or try to (which I doubt would work since they'd fight against that action by us) then it will only get worse. Every single person who is an LEO civilian is a credible threat to the Constitution because they do not uphold it & they enforce illegal laws all the time & violate our human rights that are protected by the Law (Bill of Rights, Constitution).

    Wannabe soldiers are what these cops are acting like & poorly. There is no let them fix themselves, that will NEVER happen. We MUST remove them all, have them all locked up, others executed for their heinous crimes against us/the Constitution & if we can't get this done, kill them all. I have a family, you have a family & I worry for my family's safety because of the police more than I do someone raping or robbing my family. Do I feel sorry for the cops and their families? No. Maybe their families but not the piece of shits wearing the badges. We want lawful people upholding the Rule of Law, not breaking it routinely!

  • mac

    Anarchy is a label placed on freedom by those who would control. I.E. The control of those whom seek freedom and to not be oppressed. The action in the seeking of freedom is whats labeled anarchy because of those being overthrown. To be very frank...it is the realization that nations having become to possesed by those in power must fall...examples...rome sparta greece... and America is becoming such a thing.

  • bobk90

    Police State, you can't handle the Police State....

  • Public_Citizen

    Author Terry Pratchett, speaking through his character Police Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, has observed that when policeman stop being policemen then what they become is soldiers.
    When our police abandon the values of the policeman, who must often think for himself and is a respected member of his community, then he becomes a soldier who is often an outsider and not a member of the community and is more often feared than respected by any who view him as an outsider.

    The soldier follows orders and doesn't question what he is being ordered to do, even when those orders are against not just the rule of law but also the principles upon which the law is founded. The soldier is a tool used to break things and hurt people in the furtherance of an agenda that he may not be privy to.
    The use of "no knock" warrants is one of the tools of the fascist and the terrorist.Its purpose is to instil fear through threats and intimidation. It has no legitimate place in a society based on the rule of law and the supremacy of civil authority.

  • ARMYOF69

    We have elected to have this Army of BHO, and are paying through the nose for it.
    They are our SERVANTS, but they do not know that. One day, they WILL find that out the hard way.

    • Charles Giltner

      Yeah, when the martial law kicks in and they start rounding dissenters up house to house to move us into the FEMA internment camps for re-education or the final solution to freedom of anything. They'll learn their lesson when we bring out our assault rifles against their tear gas, hand gernades, armed drones and armored weapons. That'll show 'em. (how we bleed)

  • SamH II

    no more armed raids into homes. if a criminal or suspected criminal are in their home, let them stay there off the streets or until they voluntarily surrender. Proceed with court proceedings, wirelessly if necessary, with house arrest if necessary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.bowman.773 Kenneth Bowman

    Where does it all lead? To a FASCIST STATE of the FOURTH REICH!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.young.54 Robert Young

    Wher is this leading too? We the non Loyal Subjects of the current Regime know where this is headed. It is headed to America becoming a Police State, a most wonderful place where all citizens will finally learn to fear all Police, to where you will have to show your "Papers" everytime you travel from one section of the country to another both intrastate and from state to state. Eventually total Population Control!

  • John Walt

    Ever hear of no more Waco's? This is sure to result in unnecessary deaths of innocents on one side. The cops taking part, if they can't be somewhat professional, deserve to go home in body bags.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Clark/100002065492443 Mike Clark

    Hey Folks these are Federal Employees , they work for us and are here to protect the taxpayers thats what we pay them for. Tell them you want to see their id , copy the license plate down , try to get their badge number , tell them who the hell do they think paid for the car they are driving , the gas in their car , their pay check its you. If they refuse to show ID , get as much info as you can , take their picture , try to get names of everyone. Then when you get home send the info to your senator , congressmen , and the local press and especially Fox News. Then call the Thomas Moore Law Center and Juditial Watch about what happened. I dont care what you think , you pay taxes and these people salaries , they work for you not some corporate security company. Tell you people in Washington , how discourteous these people were to you and you want them fired , however as long as they have Union Representation like SEIU , they are protected. All these federal employees that are protected by the union this Government will stay as corrupt as ever , thats why at these recent hearings , federal Department Heads at the IRS and other Executive Departments in washington will continue to lie , the unions told them when they hired on , you will never lose your job or benefits , so thats wh

    • MinutemanCDC_SC

      Pictures? Badges? Names? Reporting them?

      Your naivete is showing. Surely you have never been beaten up by hostile cops intent on showing you your place. Non-compliance is met with deadly force.

    • Charles Giltner

      Mike Clark needs to check his reality against the current state of affairs in this country. Its really hard to think about "writing your senator" when you've got a jackboot on the back of your neck and two more cops kicking the living snot out of you after tazering you when aren't compliant and ask for a badge no. Wake up, dude, did you read the articles?

  • horedog

    OBAMA got what you voted for

  • http://www.facebook.com/judy.ratliff.94 Judy Ratliff

    we have hope. the real Sheriffs and police are gathering in St. Charles,Missouri to start stopping this gestapo government.

  • onooop

    then after the swat team hits 7 homes they finally get the address right!

    • John Walt

      They aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.

    • SamH II

      but even a dull bat can kill