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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Michelle Alexander: End The Drug War: Face the New Jim Crow | Truthout

Click to read, and watch the video.

The NAACP has just passed a historic resolution demanding an end to the War on Drugs. The resolution comes as young Black male unemployment hovers near 50 percent and the wealth gap's become a veritable gulf. So why is the forty-year-old "War on Drugs" public enemy number one for the nation's oldest civil rights organization? Well here's why: it's not extraneous - it's central: the war on drugs is the engine of 21st century discrimination - an engine that has brought Jim Crow into the age of Barack Obama. Author Michelle Alexander lays out the statistics -- and the stories -- of 21st Century Jim Crow in her ought-to-blow-your-socks off book: "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness."

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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