Tag Archives: SWAT

“The criminalization of American society”

On his blog, Jonathan Turley keeps an eye on stories that mostly fly below the media radar. Turley is a law professor at George Washington University and appears periodically on the cables for legal commentary.

From today:

Michigan woman criminally charged for vegetable garden in her own front yard

Julie Bass is facing a misdemeanor charge in Oak Park, Michigan. Her crime? Planting vegetables in her own front yard. It is the latest example of the criminalization of American society . . .

How about this one?

Arkansas man arrested after videotaping police from his own front yard

 . . . a video has been released of a Jonesboro, Arkansas man who arrested after filming police conduct a search of a neighbor’s vehicle and body. The video was taken last year . . .

Police officers then confront the man for . . .  threaten him with a variety of possible charges from disturbing the peace to disorderly conduct to obstruction. Since when is it a crime to swear at officers?

The man is rude and clearly hostile to police. . . [but] Police are trained to deal with obnoxious and hostile people which is an unfortunate reality of the job. The response is not to demand identification when insulted and threaten arrest.

This one?

Good citizen, bad arrest: New York woman arrested after videotaping police – from her own front yard.

. . . new report of police arresting a citizen because she videotaped them — this time from her own front yard. According to his report, a woman named Emily Good was arrested after videotaping an arrest of a man at a traffic stop in Rochester, New York.

Deeply disturbing:

California family hit with SWAT raid . . . ordered by the Department of Education

In Stockton, California, Kenneth Wright was at home with his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11 when a SWAT team burst into his home at 6 a.m., dragged him out on the lawn, threw him to the ground, and put the family (including the kids) in squad cars. His alleged crime: default on student loans.

Add to ‘criminalization of American society, the ‘militarization of American police’. The first three arrests/threats of arrest are wrong, very wrong; but they could be attributed to a misunderstanding of the law by the officers involved. Or just regular abusive behavior by the police.

The SWAT story, however, should terrify you. It’s an extra-legal escalation.