Note: The "Raid of the Day" features accounts of police raids I've found, researched, and reported while writing my forthcoming book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. It's due out in July, but you can pre-order it here.
Two examples today, both taken from recent headlines. First, from Texas:
Driving in the early morning hours to his job at a metal shop in Buda, Miguel Montanez at first thought the approaching lights were a school bus or a tow truck.
But Montanez says it was a Hays County SWAT truck that rammed his car head-on. As they collided, another police vehicle pinned him from behind, he says.
He heard a shot.
“I saw my windshield crack, and I ducked down as low as possible,” Montanez said. “I really thought I was going to die.”
Seconds later, he says, three deputies were pointing assault rifles at him. “That’s when I heard one of the officers say, ‘Oh, (expletive), we got the wrong guy,’ ” Montanez said.
The front end of Montanez’s green BMW is now crumpled from its impact with the SWAT truck. The windshield sports two spider-webbed cracks that look like bullet holes and burn marks that Montanez believes were from flash-bang grenades. The passenger window is gone, broken out during the stop, he said.
According to a "heavily-redacted" report, the Hays County police say the tactics were necessary in part "in order to maximize safety to community . . ." I'm sure Mr. Montanez will be relieved to know that he was nearly killed in the name of keeping the community safe.
The second story is fairly mild, as these things go. It's from Seaside, California.
"Just seeing the image of my son with his eyes wide open and staring at these police officers with their guns drawn was so troubling to me," said a Seaside woman, who wanted to stay anonymous.
The mother said her home was raided Thursday morning, and said a warrant was issued at the wrong house.
It was an abrupt start to her day.
"My son runs in and says Mom there's someone banging on the door," she said.
That someone was police, guns drawn and warrant in hand.
"Literally they all pile out of their van and lined up, as they strategically line up to raid a home," she said.
In this case, the police did at least knock, and waited long enough for someone to come answer the door. They had a warrant for a felon, and appear to have raided the wrong address. But note this bit from the article:
Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller said during raids agencies are always working with old information.
"You do the best you can and you try and build it as you go through the searches," said Sheriff Miller.
All the more reason to avoid violent, volatile tactics.