Radley Balko has been researching police shootings of innocent citizens during SWAT-style drug raids. It’s surprising how often this happens and how little press it receives.
Recently, Balko was researching a raid back in March that scared the hell out an elderly couple when he came across a letter to the editor from a man whose neice had been killed during a drug raid.
After receiving an anonymous tip, police in Lexington, Tennessee forced entry to the home of Stacy Renae Walker.
Once inside, Deputy Tim Crowe, who had been on the police force for only a week, saw Renae rise from the couch with a child in her arms, and discharged his gun. The bullet struck Renae in the back of the head and exited through her mouth, killing her. Police would later say Crowe’s gun fired and scored a direct hit because he “tripped.”
Police found no drugs or weapons in the home. They later conceded that the entire raid was “a terrible mistake.”
Got all that? Based on a tip from someone who the police cannot identify or prove actually exists, police conducted a SWAT-style raid of a home and found nothing illegal, but a deputy tripped and accidentally shot someone square in the head.
Then, while researching that shooting, he stumbled across two more shootings that happened in Salem, Oregon within a year of each other, one of which was another raid at the wrong location.
If you’re interested, you can read the whole story at Balko’s Blog, where he mentions that so far he’s found 42 cases of innocent bystanders killed in SWAT-style forced-entry raids, another 15 cops killed during the raids, and another 20 people killed whose crimes were non-violent, such as pot smokers and illegal gamblers.
Now here’s something to think about. A few days ago there was a story about two New-York cops convicted of doing contract killings for the Mafia.
Thankfully, cops that crooked are pretty rare, but if the Mafia can buy off a few cops, so can a drug gang. And if Deputy Crowe can shoot an unarmed woman in the back of the head without facing any charges, don’t you think a corrupt drug task-force cop can shoot few known drug dealers during raids without attracting much attention, especially if he’s able to plant some evidence? Don’t you think it’s already happened?