Money

California SWAT Raid for Unpaid Student Loans

| by Reason Foundation

By Matt Welch

I know Mike Riggs just mentioned it in the morning links, but if this story isn't a wake-up call about the militarization of police and criminalization of everything, then I'm afraid the patient is even deader than the Fourth Amendment. Read this, and weep for what your country has become:

STOCKTON, CA - Kenneth Wright does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

"I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers," Wright said.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts as a S.W.A.T team barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.

"He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there," Wright said.

According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11 and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.

As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for was not there - Wright's estranged wife.

"They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids," Wright said. [...]

The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in the S.W.A.T for his wife's defaulted student loans.


If you're not a subscriber to Reason, please A) subscribe, then B) go down to the corner newsstand or chain bookstore and pick up a copy of our special July issue on the shameful criminal justice system in this country. A Department of Education that's issuing search warrants is a Department of Education that deserves to be disbanded. A judge that approves a paramilitary-style dawn raid for a student loan search warrant is a judge that deserves to be disbarred. The police chief who authorized this use of force should be canned as well. These are just the preliminary steps that should (and won't) be taken in the wake of this latest demonstration of government brutality.