Blogs > Liberty and Power > Overkill

Jul 17, 2006 11:35 am


balko_whitepaper_300x394.jpgToday, my paper on SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics is finally released. You can read it here. It's been the thrust of my research for nearly a year, now. It offers a history of SWAT teams, legal background, analysis and criticism of their increasingly frequent use and abuse, and an appendix of cast studies that documents more than 150 cases of botched raids.

It's a free download. If you want a slick, bound copy, you can order one for ten bucks, and you'll also get a copy of Gene Healy and Tim Lynch's paper on the constitutional record of George W. Bush (call it"Cato's left-flank package").

We're also launching an interactive map to accompany the paper. And I frankly think the map is what's going to convince most people of the scope of this problem. The map plots every botched raid I found in my research, with a description of what happened and a list of sources. You can sort the map by type of incident. So, for example, if you wanted to see only those raids where an innocent person was killed, it would look like this. If you wanted to see raids where a nonviolent offender was killed (a recreational gambler or potsmoker, for example), it would look like this. If you wanted to see all of the"wrong door" raids where no one was killed, it would look like this.

The map is also searchable by year, state, and type of incident.

Cato's news release on the paper is here.

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Amy H. Sturgis - 7/19/2006

Congratulations - well done indeed!

Robert Higgs - 7/18/2006

The fact that Americans put up with--nay, even demand and take pride in--these shameful Gestapo methods of law enforcement mocks every claim that this is a free society. On the contrary, it is obviously a police state in the most hideously visible way. Germans and Russians might once have feared the "midnight knock on the door." Present-day Americans must live in fear of the midnight stun-grenade burst in their bedrooms, followed immediately by the break-in of ski-masked, heavily armed thugs with the itchy trigger fingers. And all for what? Clearly the so-called war on drugs deserves most of the blame for this vile police activity--just one more way in which the government drives a stake through the heart of liberty.

Freest country on earth, they say. May heaven help the others.

Sheldon Richman - 7/17/2006

Congratulations, Radley, on your good work!