At a time of anxiety over policing in the United States and heated debate about "militarized" law enforcement, the practice of conducting "no-knock raids" – in which heavily armed SWAT teams burst unannounced into homes – has come under widespread scrutiny.
Here are facts, figures, and statistics to consider on the raids and the judicial warrants that permit them:
Urgent: Should All Police Officers Have to Wear Body Cameras?
1. Police are authorized to conduct
more than 20,000 no-knock raids a year. "In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations … In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances," Vox reported.
2. Judges approve them far more often
than not. A 2000 investigation by The Denver Post found
local judges routinely issued no-knock warrants even when police didn't ask for them, and simply converted regular warrants into no-knock with a signature.
3. An ACLU study of more than 800 SWAT
team deployments in 2011-2012 found 79 percent were to execute a search warrant, usually in a drug investigation, while 7 percent were to deal with hostage crises, barricades, or active shooters – the scenarios for which SWAT teams were originally invented.
4. The same ACLU study reported,
"Of the cases we studied, in 36 percent of SWAT deployments for drug searches, and possibly in as many as 65 percent of such deployments, no contraband of any sort was found."
Vote Now: Does Media Coverage Make Police Officers' Jobs More Dangerous?
5. In 2003, then-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly estimated
that 10 percent of the more than 450 no-knock raids his officers carried out every month went to the wrong address. "That estimate came after a wrong-door raid resulted in the homeowner's death: when police broke into the home of 57-year-old Alberta Spruill and threw in a flash-bang grenade, the shock gave her a fatal heart attack," Vox reported.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.