Radley Balko published his year’s worth of investigation into botched paramilitary police raids over at the CATO Institute today — Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America. The paper is a bit hefty for casual reading, but Balko’s also points at an accompanying Google Maps mashup that tracks the SWAT overkill, saying:
We’re also launching an interactive map to accompany the paper. And I frankly think the map is what’s going to convince most people of the scope of this problem. I’ve plotted every botched raid I found in my research, with a description of what happened and a list of sources. You can sort the map by type of incident. So, for example, if you wanted to see only those raids where an innocent person was killed, it would look like this. If you wanted to see raids where a nonviolent offender was killed (a recreational gambler or potsmoker, for example), it would look like this. If you wanted to see all of the “wrong door” raids where no one was killed, it would look like this.
The map is also searchable by year, state, and type of incident. Lots of people have emailed me over the last year to ask what they can do to change policy at the local level. The map I think is a good tool. Do a search on your state, then fire off a letter to the editor listing the botched raids that have occured near you.
Balko’s been a great crusader against increasing police-state tactics, especially when they target non-violent offenders, innocent people who’s only crime is living at the same address that a criminal had once used in the past, and of course… rampant puppycide. Even veteran copsthese days by the Rambo tactics being used by today’s crop of “dynamic entry” SWAT tactics.