The APD session on narcotics was interesting, particularly after the previous week’s stint in the crime lab where (at the VERY end) we encountered a host of officers coming in off of a raid that later made the news (the image below is the Facebook post reporting it). The processing of the acquired drugs, money, and firearms was something we learned about in the prior week. I’m not going to talk about civil asset forfeiture here because frankly I think Turner and Pye are better sources for that information on the state and federal level, respectively. However, I was surprised/ intrigued/ curious during the course to find that some of my classmates were unaware of the profit aspect of this portion of the police and the DOD 1033 program that enables militarization of our police force. Here’s the post reporting the seizure from the raid. For reference, the public may remember the “Titans” more from their original name as the “Red Dogs”, whose falsified no-knock warrant enabled the APD to kill elderly Atlanta resident, Kathryn Johnston.
Fascinatingly enough, the officer giving the presentation on the narcotics division of APD said he was the last member of the Red Dogs crew still serving the force.
I have a particular interest in no-knocks and quick knocks because of the kids I’ve referenced previously in my writing. In the small circle of 20 or so kids that play in my backyard, ranging from a few months to age 15, three different children under the age of 12 explained circumstances to my husband and I that describe no knocks. That’s 15%, which seems high, albeit there are no national statistics on no/ quick knocks. The CCJ tells us:
There are no national statistics on the number and type of search warrants executed over time. Most of what is known about the prevalence of warrant executions and trends in their delivery comes from data on SWAT deployments. A public records review of 818 SWAT deployments conducted by 20 local law enforcement agencies across 11 states between 2010 and 2013 found that 62% were for drug searches; of those, forced entry was employed in 60% of the deployments. Another study found that the most common use of SWAT teams was to execute search warrants, with 91% of all SWAT deployments involving execution of a search warrant and 68% percent involving forcible entry.
While in recent years the name of Breona Taylor has been prevalent, the reality of no/ quick kocks has obviously been present in my neighborhood for the decade before I ever arrived. The children in my midst spoke of the terrifying nature of being woken up in the middle of the night with guns being pointed at their family members. I asked about this aspect in particular while in class, but the officer assured me that most no/ quick knocks are conducted now with ample surveillance and at times when children will be at school. I hope no more of Atlanta’s kids have to experience this.
Raids aren’t just dangerous for kids. They’re dangerous for LEOs as well. Even with the knowledge of the raid, it doesn’t mean things can’t go south. From 2010 through 2016, at least 81 civilians and 13 officers died during SWAT raids, including 31 civilians and eight officers during execution of no-knock warrants.
I asked the officer making the presentation about what the APD defines as a “reasonable” time before entering after a knock. He stated 15 seconds. This is consistent with the U.S. vs. Banks, albeit on the shorter end of the recommended scale from SCOTUS.
Ironically, my classmates were far less interested in drug raids and more about personal incrimination.
I kid you not: the majority of the questions posed to the presenter that night were some form of, ‘Isn’t less than an ounce of marijuana considered legal?’ One of my classmates remarked that the only thing missing from this questioning was the “asking for a friend” phrase. It’s clear that everyone in the room was worried about someone being affected by the knowledge around decriminalization of marijuana.
My classmate and I found this tremendously funny.
But this speaks to vice in America, right?
We’ve spent so many decades striving for productivity without coping mechanisms, always pushing people to be “on” with no off ramp, is it any wonder Americans have such a desire for an escape? Legal or otherwise? I mean, if in our culture we’re not going to say boldly that therapy and counseling help, then folks are going to turn to alcohol and drugs to numb their feelings. Maybe drugs and alcohol are not socially acceptable in your circles, so perhaps it’s religion (the opiate for the masses, anyone?), TV, or food. All of these are numbing/ coping mechanisms in excess.
It makes me wonder when we’re going to move past the “war on drugs” years to get to a point where we recognize private prisons aren’t tools Georgian cities should be using for economic development.
Because we recognize we’re actually talking about economics, right? Not some moral failure.
If America really wanted to get rid of drug cartels, we’d reduce barriers of entry for businesses, because there’s no one who understands profit margins better than a person who earns their bread via commission. I’d wager the bois on Georgia’s streets are better candidates for CEO status than anyone ATDC or the Goizetta School produces. Atlanta streets and Georgia’s rural by ways produce more hustle than anything those hallowed MBA halls can create. The hustle is baked into each space because of genuine hunger, not just hunger for the game. It feels different when you’ve got nothing but government cheese and ramen in your cupboards. If the city of Atlanta wants to get rid of trap houses, their economic game needs to level up along with availability of supply. I have ZERO hesitancy about legalization and standardization of grading of marijuana. As a matter of fact, it is my opinion that Georgia is seriously missing out on sales tax revenue that could be used to better facilitate healthcare, schools, and subsidies for housing that might reduce the many challenges beat cops encounter in neighborhoods across our state. I’d much rather have our LEOs focus on actual crime- homicides, misisng and murdered individuals, trafficking, etc. instead of the weed man.