Posted by: brothermartin | August 1, 2008


Editorial: Two Dogs Dead, a Family Traumatized, Another Day in the Drug War

David Borden

This newsletter has reported or opined on the issue of paramilitarization in policing many times. This week that outrage struck in my own figurative backyard. At 7:00pm Wednesday, in the tiny DC suburb of Berwyn Heights, a SWAT team from the Prince Georges County, Maryland, police department, stormed a home, killed two dogs, then handcuffed one of the homeowners and his mother-in-law on the floor for hours as the dogs’ blood drained around them.

That homeowner happened to be the mayor of the town, a fact which has drawn a lot of attention to the incident. Unfortunately, as reckless as this police squad’s actions were, and as tragic the outcome, it is by no means unique. One study has estimated the number of SWAT raids nationwide at about 40,000 per year, and the killing of both dogs and people has occurred many times. One mother and child who lost their dog to a SWAT team spoke out in an interview with one of our supporters two years ago.

The rationale for the home invasion was that a package of marijuana — 32 pounds of it — had been delivered to the home. What was mentioned in the reporting, though, but not reflected on, is that the package had actually been brought to the home by the police! The sequence of events is both revealing and nauseating. A drug dog in Arizona smelled marijuana inside a package at the post office, addressed to the mayor’s wife. Police brought the package to Maryland, and disguised as postal workers delivered it the house. The box sat outside all day. When Mayor Calvo came home, he brought the box inside, placed it near the door, and went upstairs. The SWAT team then stormed the house, killed the dogs, and locked the people up.



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