Wall Street Journal: “Wrong Door” police raids are on the rise

The InstaPundit blog is quoting an article in today’s Wall Street Journal (this link will only work for 7 days unless you’re a WSJ subscriber) by book author and policy analyst Radley Balko and lawyer Joel Berger. The article cites the rising number of botched paramilitary-style SWAT raids on innocent, law-abiding citizens, many of whom died as a result.

I have written about the Supreme Court’s recent legalization of “no-knock” raids, and Justice Scalia’s specious assertion that the old law was no longer needed because modern police are too well-trained for such mistakes to be taken seriously.

New York City has a Civilian Complaint Review Board, set up to handle issues such as botched raids. So far, their actions in cases like these have merely been to help innocent victims fix their broken doors, locks, and windows. Tragically, we are moving further from the kind of official accountability that is necessary to protect innocent citizens.

The CCRB reports 14 mistaken raids in NYC so far this year.

Perhaps most troubling of all, is government sandbagging to avoid the legal consequences of tragic mistakes. Again, from the WSJ article:

    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.

    Public officials are rarely held accountable when mistakes happen. The Culosi family has yet to be given access to documents related to the investigation of his death, including why a SWAT team was sent to apprehend him in the first place. More than a year after Diotaiuto’s death, his family too has been denied access to any of the documents it needs to move forward with a lawsuit.

The opinions expressed in Steve’s Peeves are intended to entertain and uplift. They may not be appropriate for young readers or the satirically challenged. Parental supervision is advised.

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