A new report from the ACLU suggests that American police departments have become militarized to a dangerous and excessive extent.
The ACLU's investigation found that SWAT teams are increasingly being used in drug searches in U.S. citizens' homes, even if children or the elderly are present. Case in point: This morning, Alecia Phonesavanh published a heartfelt article in Salon describing how a SWAT team threw a grenade into her two-year-old son's crib while searching for drugs.
Some alarming statistics from the report: 79 percent of SWAT deployments were to private homes — the majority of which were for drug searches — and only seven percent of SWAT deployments were for hostage, barricade, or active shooter situations. In addition, 50 percent of Americans impacted by SWAT deployments are black or Latino, while impacted whites account for just 20 percent.
The militarization of our police is a trend that ought to disturb everyone, regardless of political affiliation. We are all at risk, especially--but not only--the most vulnerable populations.