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Revisit the "War on Drugs"

Bloomington Herald-Times, August 5, 2010

To the Editor:

In 2001, police raided the home where Cory Maye was staying with his infant daughter. Maye (who had no prior criminal record) fired and killed a police officer, and is now sitting on death row - a punishment that hangs on whether or not Maye knew he was shooting at a police officer. Reason.com reports that police "discovered nothing in the apartment to indicate drug dealing."

In 2006, Atlanta police conducted a "no knock" raid on the home of Kathryn Johnston. The 92 year old woman opened fire as her door was forced open because she feared she was being robbed. She was shot to death. When police realized the mistake, they planted drugs in her home to cover it up.

In 2008, a sheriff's department SWAT team invaded the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, holding him at gunpoint, interrogating him for hours and shooting his two dogs. The mayor had committed no crime other than having marijuana delivered to his house - by mistake.

We must re-evaluate the "War on Drugs," especially the use of paramilitary raids that create unnecessarily confrontational situations and put lives in jeopardy. SWAT teams are vastly overused and must be curtailed.

Scott Tibbs.