http://www.aclu.org/war-comes-home-excessive-militarization-american-policing?emsrc=Nat_Appeal_AutologinEnabled&emissue=crimjustice&emtype=petition&ms=eml_acluaction_140703_militarizationIt's 3:00 a.m. Your children are screaming and your dog is lying dead in a pool of blood. Scorch marks and shattered glass cover the floor. You're being held at gunpoint by towering figures wearing black and holding M-16s.
This isn't a Hollywood movie set. Odds are this is a predawn SWAT raid conducted by the local police force targeting a family of color. Mission objective: search the home for a small amount of drugs.
Right now, a twenty-month-old toddler named Baby Bou Bou is recovering after a SWAT officer in Georgia threw a flashbang grenade into his crib. The grenade blew a hole in his chest that has yet to heal. Doctors are still unable to fully assess lasting brain damage. This unnecessary tragedy demands immediate action.
Community members, faith leaders, and elected officials across the aisles are building a movement to limit the use of SWAT to situations in which such aggressive tactics are truly necessary to save a life. This would be the first effort of its kind and set a precedent for other states.
There are an estimated 45,000 SWAT raids every year. That means this sort of violent, paramilitary raid is happening in about 124 homes every day—or more likely every night—not in an overseas combat zone, but here in American neighborhoods.
The police, who are supposed to serve and protect communities, are instead waging war on the people who live in them.
We can no longer accept such brutal tactics as a routine way to fight the War on Drugs. It's time for an exit strategy. And we cannot wait till the Georgia Legislature next meets in 2015.
Will you call on the Georgia State Legislature to declare an emergency session to limit the use of SWAT to situations in which it's truly necessary to save a life?
It does not have to be this way. We can make sure that police honor their mission to protect and serve, by ensuring that hyper-aggressive military tools and tactics are only used in situations that are truly "high risk."
It's time for the police to remember that our neighborhoods are not warzones and they shouldn't be treating us like the enemy.
Let's start with Georgia. We can address this problem now, before more kids are brutalized by excessive militarization.
Thank you for taking action,
Anthony Romero for the ACLU Action team