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Rise of the Warrior Cop por Radley Balko
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Rise of the Warrior Cop (edição 2014)

por Radley Balko (Autor)

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4631154,622 (4.26)16
Relates the history of American police forces from the constables and sheriffs of the past to the modern-day SWAT teams and riot squads that blur the line between police officers and soldiers.
Título:Rise of the Warrior Cop
Autores:Radley Balko (Autor)
Informação:PublicAffairs (2014), Edition: Reprint, 400 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca

Informação Sobre a Obra

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces por Radley Balko

  1. 00
    Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong por Brandon L. Garrett (Jestak)
    Jestak: Balko focuses on issues in policing, Garret on the court/legal system.
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The unholy triangle:
                 racism/drug war
Asset forfeiture            Erosion of castle doctrine (no knocks)

The point Balko makes, repeatedly, is that SWAT teams and military techniques are rarely used for movie-like bank robbery gunfights. Rather, these tools are mostly leveraged to execute search warrants against threats created by political ideology rather than a clear danger to the public. The same warrants were executed without violence prior to Gates propelling SWAT into public and elected officials' acceptance in the 60's. Police with military hardware are a political expression of power rather than a broad solution to public safety. ( )
  Kavinay | Jan 2, 2023 |
I just finished "Rise of the Warrior Cops", and was about to add my comments here when I came across an article written today (October 24th) by Radley Balko for the Huffington Post. The article, the first of a six part series, capatures the essence of the book, e.g., too many drug raids gone wrong based on too much militarization of the Police Forces, and having this military capacity, too much tendency to over utilize this force in minor situations. Balko claims not to be anti-cop, but rather is simply against the policies which foster the over use of force against minor pot smokers, grandmothers, and neighborhood nickle-dime poker games. Balko's article tells the story of the book much better than I ever could, so I copied most of the Balko article below, with credit to the author and the Huffington Post.

This article is the first in a six-part series about the drug war and police reform.

OGDEN, Utah -- It's late summer, and the house at 3268 Jackson Ave. has been boarded up for months. The front door, riddled with bullet holes, is pasted over with police tape and a "No Trespassing" sign. As Erna Stewart pries open the door, shards of glass from the edges of its already shattered window fall to the ground.

The air inside is stale and hard to breathe. Belongings are strewn about. There's a dusty television, an answering machine, a computer printer still in its box, some video games stacked on bookshelves. The police have ripped up sections of floor that had been soaked with blood, leaving a scar in the bathroom and another in the kitchen.

More bullet holes call out from all sides: the walls, the doors, the ceiling, the floor, the windows, the molding, the kitchen cabinets. Two of the bullets hit the brick siding of a neighbor's house. One pierced a bedroom window. The trail of damage leads out to the pock-marked backyard and the shed where Erna's brother-in-law, Matthew, attempted to take refuge.

Between 130 and 250 bullets were fired in all, according to various accounts, an arsenal's worth. A cleaning service recently found a bullet while vacuuming.

In the basement, in a small room to the left of the stairs, there's a large pile of tubing and plastic containers. It's here that Matthew David Stewart, a 37-year-old Army veteran, committed the crime that precipitated the armed raid on his home -- an assault that left one police officer dead and five others wounded, and eventually led to Stewart's death as well. It's here that he grew marijuana.

Michael Stewart says his son, a former paratrooper, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, and may have been self-medicating. Others have suggested that he smoked pot to alleviate his shyness and social awkwardness. Perhaps the pot was simply for pleasure. There were 16 plants in all. But there is no evidence that he ever sold the drug, and there were no complaints from neighbors.

Still, on the night of Jan. 4, 2011, 12 members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force assembled in the parking lot of the church across the street from Stewart's house. At 8:30 p.m., according to a neighbor, they exchanged high-fives. Then they broke down Stewart's door with a battering ram.

The police claim to have knocked and announced themselves several times. But Stewart said he never heard them. He worked the graveyard shift at a local Walmart and was asleep at the time. Awaking to the sound of armed men storming into his house, he jumped out of bed, naked, threw on a bathrobe and grabbed his 9-millimeter Beretta.

Who shot first remains in dispute. But after exchanging fire with the officers for about 20 minutes, Stewart dove out a bedroom window and attempted to take shelter in the shed behind his house. The police opened fire on the shed, "lighting it up," as one officer later put it. Stewart, who had been shot in the arm and the hip, crawled out and surrendered.

One of the members of the strike force, Jared Francom, 30, had been shot seven times, and died at the scene. Stewart was arrested, taken to the hospital for his injuries, and charged with murder.

Francum's death elicited a wave of "cop killer" outrage directed at Stewart. Eight days after the raid,Weber County Attorney Dee Smith announced that he'd be seeking the death penalty. As more details emerged, however, a growing chorus of critics began to question whether the aggressive police tactics had really been necessary, and whether the battle on Jackson Avenue could have been avoided entirely.

An editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune asked why the police decided to wage"a military-style attack on a small-time weed grower." The editors of Ogden's Standard-Examiner expressed similar concerns over "beefed-up police tactics" and called for a "re-evaluation of how local law enforcement handles its duties, particularly concerning raids and late-night police procedures."

"It’s very clear that middle-of-the-night arrest warrant servings by armed officers need to be reconsidered," the editors wrote.

In the months following the raid, a number of other controversial police actions hit the news. Police in Salt Lake City broke into the home of a 76-year-old woman during a mistaken drug raid. A SWAT team in Ogden went to the wrong address in search of a man who had gone AWOL from the Army and ended up pointing its guns at an innocent family of four. Two narcotics detectives shot and killed a young woman in a suburb of Salt Lake City as she sat in her car.

Together, these incidents have spawned a budding police reform movement in Utah. At the head of it, Stewart's family members have been joined by a political odd couple: Jesse Fruhwirth, a longtime progressive activist rabble-rouser, and Connor Boyack, a wonky libertarian with a background in Republican politics. And independently, in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, the police chief and lead prosecutor have already begun to adopt some unconventional, reform-minded approaches to crime and punishment.

That Utah, one of the most conservative states in the country, would become a hotbed for police reform, is surprising. But these reformers have carefully crafted their approach, honed a message that seems to be resonating with the community, and won over some early converts. As botched raids and excessive SWAT-style tactics have gained increasing notoriety around the country, other communities may soon be looking to Utah as a model for less aggressive but more effective approaches to public safety.

* * * * *
The tip about the marijuana plants came from an ex-girlfriend of Stewart's named Stacy Wilson. They had dated for about a year and a half but broke up in the summer of 2010. Erna Stewart introduced them. "I still feel guilty about that," she says. "He caught her cheating on him, they broke up, and it ended really badly. She was angry with him. He was heartbroken. She tried to get him fired from his job. She really had it out for him."

Wilson reported Stewart to a tip line that the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, a federally funded anti-drug task force that serves both counties, set up to collect information about illicit drugs.

In a bus ad promoting the initiative, the strike force members pose in full SWAT attire: armor, face masks, camouflage and guns. The tip line number is at the top of the ad, along with a plea for citizens to report "drug abuse," a term more often associated with drug use than with distribution. Below the photo, the ad reads, "We've got your back!"

According to police documents, Wilson called the tip line in November 2010, two months before the raid, and spoke with Officer Jason Vanderwarf. Vanderwarf visited Stewart's house three times, but no one answered. After finding what he described as signs of a marijuana grow, however, he filed an affidavit to get the warrant.

That appears to be the extent of the investigation. The police never ran a background check on Wilson to assess her credibility. In fact, after their initial conversation, Vanderwarf said that he was "unable to contact her." He later told investigators that "She kinda fell off the face of the earth."

Neither Wilson nor officials from the Ogden Police Department and Weber County Sheriff's Department responded to requests for comment.

What is clear, however, is that if instead of raiding the house, the police had simply arrested Stewart as he was leaving to go to work, or as he was coming home, or even at his job at Walmart, there would have been two fewer funerals in Ogden.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
As I'm writing this, outrageous actions by police officers are happening all over the United States. Balko's book provides a clear account of the mindset behind these actions and how it came into being. ( )
1 vote GaryMcGath | Jun 7, 2020 |
I am mostly sympathetic to Balko's central thesis (police are becoming too much like the military, and this is bad) but I don't think he did a great job of making his case. I found the polemical tone of the book frustrating and ultimately unconvincing. I wish Balko had calmed himself down a bit and assembled more persuasive arguments. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
We have a problem with policing in this country. Hopefully this isn’t a surprise, although many people have only started to notice this since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson last month. People in many communities, for years, have been more fearful of the police than of the criminals in their communities; this is especially true for black people, who can be shot for having a BB gun, a toy sword, or nothing at all. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-fergu...;

Mr. Balko has written a book that unfortunately is all too relevant these days. The book focuses on the problems with the militarization of the police and the culture that sees officers acting as though everyone is the enemy, and it specifically focuses on the drug war and SWAT teams. It has taken me over a month to read (I’ve started and finished two books and about 20 magazines in that time) because it is infuriating. It is well written and well-researched. It is ‘easy’ to read, in that the sentences and paragraphs flow logically, and the book itself is broken down by decade to clearly demonstrate how things have changed. But it is infuriating. I wrote a variation of ‘fuck’ or ‘ew’ on every other page, because each section made me angrier and angrier. Mr. Balko wrote a great, infuriating book, and I wish everyone would read it.

The drug war is ridiculous, but seeing it really spelled out in print, and reading how it is so tied into a culture that seeks bigger and deadlier toys to ‘enforce the law’ made me, and makes me, sick to my stomach. My blood pressure would rise, my pulse would race, and it would take a whole lot of self-control to not just fling the book at a window every couple of pages. Much of this comes from the illustrating stories that point out the times when SWAT teams utterly fuck up. The botched raids are not rare; they are examples of what happens when a group of people gets all the power but has none of the self-awareness to recognize that they are doing something wrong. Shooting dogs in the head, breaking down doors, holding people at gun point without ever announcing who they are. Can you IMAGINE being awoken at midnight by a bunch of people in dark clothes pointing guns and yelling at you? I assume I would pee myself and consider that I was about to be sexually assaulted and then murdered. There is rarely, if ever a need for this kind of use of force, and yet here we are, openly supporting it with federal grants, surplus Pentagon equipment and broken policies.

I live in Seattle, and was here during the WTO riots. Norm Stamper was police chief then, and he wrote a book saying that what the Seattle PD did during those protests – throwing tear gas into crowds, blocking people in – was right. But after his book tour he realized he was so very wrong, and now he realizes that his actions are partly responsible for the devolution of rights of civilians in the face of power-hunger cops. The way the police handled Occupy protests throughout the country was so disappointing; the way some handle the day-to-day operations with quasi-military force to recover a few ounces of marijuana or heroin from non-violent drug offenders should scare the crap out of you.

Are all cops bad? Obviously not. There are some amazing officers doing great work. That isn’t the point of this book. The point is that we’ve passed laws, set policy and created grants that make it easier for police to believe that the law doesn’t apply to them as they seek to enforce the law. That is unacceptable, and we need to speak out and demand some change. Now.
( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
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Relates the history of American police forces from the constables and sheriffs of the past to the modern-day SWAT teams and riot squads that blur the line between police officers and soldiers.

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