Last Wednesday, law enforcement officers mistakenly shot and killed a 68 year old grandfather of twelve in an early morning drug raid outside of Boston. The SWAT team that was involved in the shooting showed up at the home of Eurie Stamps with a warrant for his stepson, 20 year old Joseph Bushfan, who had been suspected of distributing crack cocaine. During the execution of the warrant, at least one member of the SWAT team opened fire, and Mr. Stamps, who had not been a suspect in the raid, was fatally struck by the officer’s bullet.
Judge Napolitano brings up some disturbing statistics with regards to our country’s drug war:
There are one hundred fifty drug raids a day. Fifty thousand drug raids a year in the United States of America. That might sound good to the anti-drug warriors, but the tragic consequences of that are innocent people are often terrorized and–in some cases–killed, like in this case.
Balko goes on to summarize what he believes is the root of the problem:
You know, SWAT teams have an appropriate use, and that’s when you’re using violence to defuse an already violent situation–hostage taking or bank robbery–that sort of thing. But when you’re using a SWAT team to serve a warrant for a non-violent, consensual crime, you are creating violence. The government is creating violence where there was none before. And that’s really the of heart the problem.