Trail of Blood…leading to…Drug Raids

The New York Times launched their own investigation on no-knock warranted SWAT raids after noticing a trend in unnecessary deaths, injuries, and costly legal settlements. They collected videos, stories, and research on forcible-entry raids across the United States, and shared their findings in an article, titled “Door-Bsusting Drug Rids Leave a trail of Blood”.

Between 2010 and 2016 they found that found that “at least 81 civilians and 13 officers died in such raids”.

The Supreme Court rulings dismiss the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches. Since the War On Drugs was declared, the use of raids has increased tremendously, and mostly in low-income neighborhoods. The article also points out that at all levels of government these law enforcement raids do not require any form of reporting, which prevents any verifiable record of the number of raids or the injuries and deaths involved.

Critics of these drug raids often state that drug crimes are not capital
offenses, and therefore, the vast amount of drug raids occurring across the country is unjustified. Even if a raid does correctly convict a criminal, the offender is often severely injured or killed before his or her fair trial. The New York Times also emphasizes the shocking track record for injuries and deaths of innocent bystanders who happened to be in harms way. The article goes on to highlight some of the major mistakes that can happen during forcible-entry raids including: raiding wrong addresses, failing to knock, and failing to monitor the raid through body cameras. Furthermore, a majority of these cases have authorized warrants to find up to minimal amounts of drugs and money. For example, one costly raid only found “22 ounces of marijuana, about 20 grams of methamphetamine, a gram of cocaine, 34 prescription pills and $38.42 found in a Nesquik jar, according to a crime lab report”. The overall report provides a call to action to STOP the dangerous, inadequate use of drug raids across the country and to prevent U.S. citizens from being thrown in harms way.


The article provides photos of some of the tragic consequences. For example, after an officer peered quickly into a dark room he tossed an armed explosive inside a home, and it landed in a child’s playpen. 

The article verifies its credibility by stating how it gathered its evidence. They “relied on dozens of open-record requests and thousands of pages from police and court files”. They back up their evidence with live videos and photographs throughout the article. In addition, they added a link that summarizes their investigation, explaining their use of “news reports, interviews, search engines, federal court dockets and data provided by the American Civil Liberties Union from its 2014 survey of police departments in 20 cities”. They also interviewed a diverse range of sources, including law enforcement officials and SWAT veterans, thus avoiding potential biases. Understanding the scope of the issue, The New York Times also opened up and invited readers to submit pull requests on these raids. 

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