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Austin American-Statesman - - CRIMINAL JUSTICE -

As polic­ing has mil­i­ta­rized to fight a fal­ter­ing war on drugs, few tac­tics have proved as dan­ger­ous as the use of forcible-en­try raids to serve nar­cotics search war­rants, which reg­u­larly in­tro­duce stag­ger­ing lev­els of vi­o­lence into mis­sions that might be ac­com­plished through pa­tient stake­outs or sim­ple knocks at the door.

Thou­sands of times a year, these “dy­namic en­try” raids ex­ploit the el­e­ment of sur­prise to ef­fect seizures and ar­rests of neigh­bor­hood drug deal­ers. But they have also led time and again to avoid­able deaths, grue­some in­juries, de­mol­ished prop­erty, en­dur­ing trauma, black­ened rep­u­ta­tions and mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar le­gal set­tle­ments at tax­payer ex­pense, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by The New York Times found.

For the most part, gov­ern­ments at all lev­els have cho­sen not to quan­tify the toll by re­quir­ing re­port­ing on SWAT oper­a­tions. But The Times’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which re­lied on dozens of open-record re­quests and thou­sands of pages from po­lice and court files, found that at least 81 civil­ians and 13 law en­force­ment of­fi­cers died in such raids from 2010 through 2016. Scores of oth­ers were maimed or wounded.

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