29 Apr Police Militarization and Mistaken SWAT Raids: Impact in Maryland
Increased police militarization and drug raids are a problem throughout the nation, including here in Maryland. Mistakes can lead to false accusations, and charges should be taken seriously.
The distribution of military equipment to police departments across the country was initially supported as a way to increase the nation’s safety in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001. Repeated mistakes that have had tragic outcomes and contributed to public protests have led Congress to question whether the efforts to keep the nation safe are causing a larger problem. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal addressed the issue, noting that Congress is concerned that programs designed to provide assistance against terrorist attacks are providing too much equipment without properly monitoring where it is going and whether or not it is needed.
Even more concerning, local enforcement officers generally do not receive training on how to use these pieces of military equipment.
Concerns are also voiced on the danger of the increasing number of police raids. The Pacific Standard, a media outlet that focuses on issues of economics and justice, recently reported on the significant jump in the number of SWAT raids conducted throughout the country. These raids are often conducted in connection with drug charges and involve multiple, armed officers forcing entry into a home with the intention of arresting their target. Unfortunately, these raids have led to accidental murders.
Not just a national problem, effects felt in Maryland.
A report by the Baltimore Sun found that police conducted 195 tactical entries in Prince George County in 2009 alone. An additional 84 were completed in the Baltimore area. One highly publicized story involved the arrest of the mayor of Berwyn Heights. The mayor was in his home when deputies entered with automatic weapons. The police officers conducting the raid killed his two family dogs before making the arrest. The raid was supported by suspicions that the mayor was dealing drugs.
After further investigation, it turned out the mayor was one of a number of victims being used by drug dealers in the area. The drug dealers would ship packages to home addresses where other dealers would attempt to pick up the delivery before home owners returned. The mayor was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Charged of a crime? Legal counsel can help.
Unfortunately, false accusations like those faced by the mayor are not uncommon. Those who are falsely charged of a crime need to take the charges seriously.
Whether facing drug charges, charges of drunk driving crimes, weapons offenses, crimes of violence or others, legal counsel can help you fight for your rights. Defenses are available. Contact an experienced Baltimore criminal defense attorney to help better ensure your legal rights are protected.