62% of SWAT Raids Search for Drugs

    A police SWAT team member readies his weapon as he stands in the middle of Franklin Street as gunfire erupts on Franklin during the search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. The manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, one of two brothers believed to have carried out Monday's attack, took a dramatic turn just minutes after authorities announced they were lifting a shelter-in-place order imposed on the entire city of Boston. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) - RTXYSTB

    Jim Bourg/Reuters

    According to a year-long study of police militarization by the American Civil Liberties Union, SWAT raids aren’t used nearly as often for the reasons you might think. The study looked at 800 SWAT deployments of teams among 20 local and federal police agencies in 2011-2012 and found that 62 percent of the raids were used to conduct searches for drugs. About 80 percent were to serve search warrants for drugs, while “hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios” (the common justification for SWAT raids) accounted for only 7 percent. In at least 36 percent of the raids, no contraband of any sort was found, though because of incomplete police reports, the real number could be as high as 65 percent. And, of course, SWAT tactics are disproportionately used on people of color. 

    Read it at The Washington Post