Scenes From The Drug War, Ctd

May 15 2010 @ 3:46pm

Horton comments on the Missouri raid:

Another work that makes the case effectively is Bill Haney’s film American Violet, which was released one year ago but lamentably drew little attention. It tells the story of a twenty-four-year-old African-American mother of four whose life is turned on its head when she is caught up in a similarly absurd drug raid. The film offers an inside look at the American criminal justice system and shows how the tremendous power it vests in prosecutors can be horribly abused. It is based on events that actually occurred in Hearne, Texas, in the fall of 2000—one of a great number of “anti-drug” campaigns in Texas that were used as cover for racist harassment. While these campaigns were raging, George W. Bush was governor of Texas and John Cornyn was the state’s attorney general. Both distinguished themselves by their abject indifference to the abuse.

Balko gets an e-mail from a soldier:

I am a US Army officer, currently serving in Afghanistan.  My first thought on reading this story is this:  Most American police SWAT teams probably have fewer restrictions on conducting forced entry raids than do US forces in Afghanistan.

For our troops over here to conduct any kind of forced entry, day or night, they have to meet one of two conditions:  have a bad guy (or guys) inside actively shooting at them; or obtain permission from a 2-star general, who must be convinced by available intelligence (evidence) that the person or persons they're after is present at the location, and that it's too dangerous to try less coercive methods.  The general can be pretty tough to convince, too.  (I'm a staff liason, and one of my jobs is to present these briefings to obtain the required permission.)