Friday, March 6, 2015

another search, another death...and no effect on supply or demand

Radley Balko the author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces, tells yet another story like many others he has told. He quotes from a news story about the killing of Derek Cuice:
A deputy shot and killed an unarmed man while attempting to serve a narcotics search warrant in Deltona, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators said deputies were entering the home on Maybrook Drive when Derek Cruice, 26, allegedly advanced on a member of the SWAT team around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. 
“Volusia County Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators and the Street Crimes Unit were attempting to serve a search warrant at a residence. They were met with resistance and a shooting occurred,” Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said. 
 Balko writes:
It seems likely that Cruice was dealing pot. The police say they found a ledger book, a scale, about a half-pound of marijuana and some cash. It also seems likely that if the police had simply knocked on the door and waited, or apprehended Cruice as he was coming or going, Cruice would be still be alive. This insistence on serving drug warrants by barreling into homes creates needless violence, confusion and confrontation. They’re designed to do this. I doubt that Cruice knowingly decided to take on a raiding police team armed only with his basketball shorts. It seems far more likely that he thought they were criminal intruders and was either trying to confront them, or was trying to escape. But there is no room for errors in judgment for the people on the receiving end of these raids — even though sowing confusion and disorientation are the stated aim. But it is only the suspects, the targets of the raids, who are expected to do everything right. When the police screw up and kill someone, they’re generally forgiven, owing again to the volatility of the situation.
Those who have been through a home invasion by the cops will recognize the truth in this. When law enforcement shows up wearing Kevlar and with weapons drawn, they are not protecting anyone but themselves. The chaos, no matter how unnecessary, is intentional.
So judging from the many, many prior incidents similar to this one, it’s probably safe to say that this officer will be cleared of any wrongdoing. It’s also probably safe to say that any investigation will determine that there’s nothing wrong with the police department’s warrant service policies. At least that’s how these investigations usually go. And if it is determined that the cops in these cases are following policy, and that there’s nothing wrong with the policies themselves, then the only conclusion we can draw is that the police agencies believe unarmed men getting shot in the face is an acceptable consequence of the effort to stop people from getting high on marijuana. [My emphasis.]
Balko sounds frustrated, angry. But after hearing so many stories like this, who isn't? 
Of course, even that is an illusion. If there’s one thing we can say with near-absolute certainty, it’s that it is no more difficult to buy pot in Volusia County, Fla., today than it was before Derek Cruice was gunned down in his own home. And so we add another body to the pile.
It is no more difficult to buy pot...than it was before Derek Cruice was gunned down... 

Violent, chaotic searches, arrests and convictions, long prison sentences. None of those have slowed down the supply or demand for recreational drugs.

The story is the same with child pornography. As I said here, discussing an interview of a man who had a collection of a million child porn images:
It is important to know that putting people in prison for possessing, receiving, or distributing illegal images does nothing to reduce the availability of child porn. 
Those million images? Still freely available on the Internet.

No comments: