SWAT: Overkill and Out Of Control
by Shari Dovale
Being a supporter of our Law Enforcement community does not mean that we give license to destroy a person’s home without consequence.
Special Weapons and Tactics Teams (SWAT) have increasingly gone beyond the pale to destroy homes and buildings with little to no reason for that level of destruction.
When it happens, we expect that Law Enforcement Department to take responsibility for their over-zealousness, as we expect the average Joe to take responsibility for his behavior and actions.
However, recent cases show that the situations are getting worse, not better. And the courts are backing up the fanatical destruction of these SWAT teams.
Earlier this year, an elderly New Mexico woman found herself homeless after SWAT came to visit. Reported by KRQE:
State Police were called to a home in Hurley, near Silver City, after reports of neighbors fighting. Police say Timmy Vick fired a shot at officers and went inside a home, owned by his mother.
By the end of the 10 and a half-hour standoff, the woman’s home was left in shambles, looking as though a tornado ripped through it,
The woman was left to live in her car, with the department offering $1,500 to make repairs.
In Colorado, the Denver Post tells us:
During a 19-hour SWAT operation in 2015, police tore out nearly every window of Leo Lech’s Greenwood Village home and reduced much of the interior to rubble.
In some spots, the damage was so severe the wooden frame of the house was exposed. But the city won’t have to pay for any of the damage its officers caused, even though Lech had no connection to the shoplifting suspect who chose his home as a hideaway from pursuing police, according to a Tuesday ruling by a federal appeals court.
The Takings Clause refers to the last clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that limits the power of eminent domain. The taking clause requires the entity to pay just compensation on taking private property for public use. The purpose of the takings clause is to ensure that the financial burdens of public policy are shared by the entire public and not unfairly placed on individual property owners.
It would seem that these cases are direct violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The homeowners sued the departments under this provision, but the court ruled against them. In an appeal to the 10th circuit, the appellate judges sided with the District Court, ruling that if the takings are done under Police Powers instead of Eminent Domain then it is okay and there should be no compensation.
It is our hope that this case goes to the US Supreme Court, and the homeowners receive justice, as this could be a win for all the citizens in the country.
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