Yesterday I penned this article about SWAT teams breaking down (the wrong) door at 6:00 AM looking for someone over student loans and said:
Got it folks?
Go ahead.... sign the FAFSA "for your kids." And a few years later, when they can't pay on their loans as they can't find a job after racking up all that nice debt, your act of "kindness" and "duty" in signing that form can be the reason their door gets kicked in by the SWAT team, and perhaps their dog - or even your own son or daughter - is shot.
Late yesterday the search warrant was found and sourced by a news outlet; you can read it here.
The warrant makes pretty clear that the Education Department was looking for this person on allegations that they committed some sort of loan fraud related to student loans, and not simply "failed to pay."
But this does not change a thing in terms of what the government did or its justification for doing so.
There's nothing indicating that the person they were looking for had committed any sort of violence, and the crime(s) they are accused of are not the sort in which destruction of critical evidence, such as flushing drugs, comes into play.
So where's the justification for a SWAT-style "no-knock" entry come from? Breaking down someone's door to serve a search warrant for a non-violent alleged offender?
The government certainly has the right to go get a search warrant if they're investigating fraud. But this sort of "let's call SWAT any time we have to serve a warrant" crap is over the line of reasonable force and in the case at hand it appears that the person they were seeking does not even live at the house.
There are two immediate and important problems to address here:
There is no reason for this sort of treatment, nor is it necessary. Nothing in the warrant permits a "no-knock" entry, yet it appears that's exactly what was done. And if the claims of the resident of the home are accurate, he is not the target of the investigation.
If you've followed me for any length of time you know I'm a strong advocate of "stop the looting and start prosecuting." While I apply this often to banksters, if you're stealing from lenders you deserve the same treatment - prosecution.
But none of this justifies police-state style tactics. Not only is there no reasonable way to articulate a risk of evidence destruction that would justify such an entry nothing in the warrant itself justifies the use of SWAT tactics to execute the search, and there's nothing evidencing an attempt to obstruct or hide evidence from the officers who came to perform the search.
Assuming the resident and his children are in fact not the subject of this investigation and that it is limited to his estranged wife the government not only owes him a new door and an apology, they must be held to account for violations of his civil rights on account of excessive use of force and false imprisonment, none of which was justified by the circumstances.
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