Government Overreach During Raids Such As That of Breonna Taylor

The shooting and killing of unarmed Breonna Taylor during a no-knock warrant drug raid by police in Kentucky has sparked outrage for both racism and excessive force, and the immediate charges filed against Kenneth Walker were appalling being that he was within his rights to use self-defense against government intruders who did not properly identify themselves. Since systemic racism exists and blacks are targeted disproportionately by police, it is easy to see why many have been horrified by the injustice that was witnessed. In addition, Kenneth Walker, who was a gunowner, was not defended by the supposed gun rights activist group the NRA, which should also be condemned. However, cases such as this that involve government overreach and home invasions, whether race-motivated or not, are more frequent than most people may realize.

In Cleveland, Tennessee, a man heard someone breaking into his house and grabbed his gun. DEA agents and a SWAT team armed with weapons, body armor, and grenades blazing had made their way to the end of his barrel, and the man was tackled to the ground for alleged murder. However, it was the wrong house, and a flash bang grenade had been released into the son’s bedroom, which caused temporary blindness and deafness. All of this happened because a mistake was made on the part of the DEA and the SWAT team.

More commonly, raids are conducted for the purpose of halting drug operations. In St. Paul, Minnesota, a drug raid by DEA agents was conducted, and all of the residents, including the children, were forced to the ground at gunpoint. All but one of the residents were handcuffed (the wife was forced from the bed to the ground almost naked, but she was not handcuffed). To make matters worse, the family dog was killed, and the handcuffed children were forced to sit next to the slain dog during the remainder of the raid. In addition, a handcuffed girl had a diabetic incident because she was not given access to her medication. In the end, it was determined that the house that was supposed to be raided was actually the next-door one, so the trauma that the family was forced to endure was again made by mistake.

In Eminem’s neck of the woods (Eight Mile in Detroit), a whole DEA, SWAT, and local law enforcement army with tanks and helicopters invaded an entire street looking for criminals related to drugs and prostitution. In one house in particular, men who were not easily identified as law enforcement (the badge numbers, names, and faces were intentionally hidden) barged in and threw a woman who had just had back surgery into a wall, and then they pinned her on the floor. Her mother who had just had knee replacements was thrown into a table before hitting the floor. Both women were innocent and never had warrants out for their arrest.

In Lebanon, Tennessee, a similar wrong-house event caused a man to be murdered and his wife to be handcuffed by two young and inexperienced officers. Unfortunately these events are all too common, and there are roughly 60,000 no-knock or quick-knock raids annually, most of which are for drugs. Between 2010 and 2016, there had been ninety-four deaths (eighty-one of them civilians) as a result of these types of raids. The so-called “War on Drugs,” has destroyed many lives of both the innocent and guilty and contributed to the mass incarceration in the United States. The ACLU has found that more than half of all SWAT raids were conducted against black or Latino people, and two-thirds of these were drug-related.

This intimidation and bullying by the federal government (and aided by state and local law enforcement) under the name of liberating the masses and keeping people safe from drugs have negatively impacted the country and should be ended. Plus, invasions that result in the wrong house violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Drugs are not the only inanimate objects that have been the subject of a federal (or state and local government) war, and no, this time, I am not talking about SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19), which has had the term “war” applied to the combating of it. Although guns have not been made illegal at this time (though gun rights have been watered down), there are many regulations against them that have led to prohibition-like raids and actions similar to those conducted against drugs. In National City, California, a firearms part store was raided by ATF agents in full tactical gear because it was selling gun parts for AR-15’s that were not made to ATF specifications. Despite the parts being legal for sale and purchase, they did not have serial numbers because they were made from a different type of material than other similar parts. The agents wanted a list of customers who had purchased the parts, and the parts and the customer list were taken by force with terrified customers inside. This excessive force should not be accepted in the United States.

The good news is that the Breonna Taylor and Kenneth Walker case has raised awareness of this type of oppression in the supposed free and constitution-respecting country of the United States. Senator Rand Paul has brought up the Fourth Amendment implications of no-knock warrants and how they are inappropriate and unreasonable. The Louisville Metro Police Department will now be required to have no-knock warrants sent to the chief of police or other designee before a judge can review it. Public scrutiny of the case has also led to the temporary suspension of Walker’s murder and assault charges against the police officer until an investigation can be completed.

These are steps in the right direction, but until public pressure gets stronger to have no-knock warrants removed, the drug war terminated, and excessive force utilized by federal, state, and local law enforcement ceased, these types of stories will continue to be reported across the country. As I have written in my book, The Global Bully, federal policies in regards to drugs, terrorism, and other things have trickled down to local issues causing government overreach against the people. In conjunction with the federal government’s militarization of state and local law enforcement and the growing concerns of martial law and other draconian measures (some of which have been exhibited by the coronavirus crisis), Americans should become suspicious of more power being placed in the hands of governments at all levels. Until people stand up to government overreach, tyranny will continue.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book and website website.
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Published on May 25, 2020 14:41
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