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Flash bang grenades are no joke, they are a lethal weapon.  The wiki has a partial list of some of the casualties, including deaths and serious burns, that have been caused by these things.  

        U.S. Army M-84 stun grenade.
The typical situation is a drug raid, which the police claim requires this sort of display of force.  If anyone gets hurt, there's always a claim that it was an accident, or whatever. As if throwing an incendiary device into a residence could not be anticipated to cause a fire.  To quote George Bernard Shaw:
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of- he always declares that it is his duty.
Astoundingly the Minneapolis police alone have managed to start at least three fires with these things, one of which killed two people in 1989, and another which severely burned another person in 2010.  (link).  There has been at least one instance where, in the confusion and poor visibility caused by the detonation of one of these grenades where one police officer shot and killed another police officer, as happened in Oxnard California in 1996 (link).

These are weapons of war and I don't mean the phony "war" on drugs, I mean real combat, and they need to be taken seriously.  

Compare this video of a flash bang demonstration, where an unarmored police detective simply casually tosses a couple of these things onto a lawn, and everyone laughs, with this army training video showing how it really needs to be done:

I am probably one of the few Kossacks who has actually seen a search warrant executed from the police point of view.  This was back in the 1980s, and in those days, there was certainly a strong show of force, but nothing like what it is now.  

What seems to be happening is that every warrant, or at least a great number of them, are executed not only with force, but extreme force.  Fundamentally, a flash grenade is a bomb, and I think the police need to stop throwing bombs at people absent extreme circumstances.

DKOS is supposed to be "news community" action according to the google search results.  Well, here's the community action part.  Local police who abuse their power are not immune to local political pressure, and one person can become quite a thorn in in their side.  Around here, in Portland, Oregon, I'm going to do what I can, starting with a Freedom of Information Act request which I sent off today to the Portland Police Bureau, in which I requested:

All Portland Police Bureau manuals, policies, directives, or written training materials related to the use of "flash bang grenades" or similar devices.
Once I get this information, I'm going to review it and if it looks like there's too great of chance of houses set on fire or toddlers seriously burned, I'm going to start pestering my local elected officials.  And trust me, I can be a real pest.

Now, you have to be careful about FOIA requests -- you don't want to run up a big charge that you might end up paying.  But requesting policy and training protocols on a single weapon shouldn't be too expensive -- we'll see.  Anyway, I'm hoping that other people who read this will do the same in their communities.  This is a democracy after all.  Time to use it or lose it.


Militarization of the police -- good or bad?

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82%52 votes
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| 63 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  But they aren't as dangerous as mara-ju-wanna (7+ / 0-)

    Mara-ju-wanna junkies are very dangerous people, usually armed to the teeth. Flash Bangs are an essential part of pacifying violent mara-ju-wanna addicts.

    You never know when one of those freaks will come at you with a lit bong or a joint or some other terrifying weapon.

    Cops will always feel insecure and at imminent threat of death so flash bang grenades are essential and without a hail of gunfar, people COULD get hurt, so we gotta have a hail of gunfar. You keep people safe.

    Pretty low of that baby to throw itself on the flash bang so it's parents could get away and make all those cops feel bad.

    That was pretty damned low.

    We need healthy priorities in America and if we can't throw flash bang grenades at babies, children will get the wrong message and the terrorists will win.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 01:24:01 PM PDT

  •  Once we were attacked stateside it was (3+ / 0-)

    predictable that law enforcement would become an extension of the military.  The National Guard got called up for the Bush/Cheney wars and were not available for their usual domestic roles.  Unfortunately it appears that old school law enforcement is now being taken over by ignorant and untrained militias, standyergrounders, and an over-armed citizenry.  Nature abhors a vacuum, after all.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 01:29:02 PM PDT

  •  As an Oregonian, but not a Portlander . . . (4+ / 0-)

    I'm thinking this is an issue which might be a good one to take to the state legislature.  I don't know how many jurisdictions in the state have SWAT teams and/or use flashbang grenades, but surely some of the larger municipalities must.

    Anyway, if you want to go statewide on this, and I may be of any help, give me a shout by DKMail.  (Also, my budget is very tight, but I might be able to pitch in a bit on the FOIA costs.)

    •  They're supposed to call me with a budget before (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jgilhousen, allie4fairness

      running the FOIA, and there's a published costs schedule.  I looked at it before filing out the request, and I pared back my request accordingly.  I don't think a few pages of manuals and policies can be too much money, but we'll see.  

      What would be nice would be to get records of use and purchase of the nasty things, but that would likely cost too much.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 02:17:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been poking around the Oregon State Police (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        site for FOIA procedures with no luck.  They have a SWAT team which I believe participates in regional drug task force efforts. I may just send an initial inquiry to their public information office.

  •  I'm on the central coast, please let me know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what you turn up. And if you'd like some back up on the 'pest' thing, I'd be glad to pitch in. The Constitution seems not be be in full effect this far west. ::grrr::

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
    ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

    by FarWestGirl on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:21:26 PM PDT

  •  Technically, (0+ / 0-)

    in Oregon you request documents from local agencies under the Oregon public records law, not the FOI Act.

    I will ask for these records from the Washington County Sheriff, who is a real ass; claimed he wouldn't enforce gun control, etc.

    I will ask for a fee waiver because I will publish the results of my request on Daily Kos, which is a news site.  Often agencies waive fees for requests from the media.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:39:08 PM PDT

  •  keep us updated please, this (0+ / 0-)

    can be a really good template for us in other parts of the country.

    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 05:24:33 PM PDT

  •  One of the people killed in 1989 was my friend'... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, spacecadet1

    One of the people killed in 1989 was my friend's 76 year old father. He was blind and couldnt escape the fire. His wife iirc was killed in the assault too. No drugs were found. Oopsies.

    •  I am so sorry for your loss. This is a terrible (0+ / 0-)


      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:16:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the gangs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Used the racism of the police to take out one of their resistors.  They set him up, but the cops, instead of taking the story with a grain of salt, threw grenades just before they took a front end loader to the house.  He had bars.on his windows was their proof.  Not of.fear,  but of drug dealing.  The whole thing was heart breaking.  Mr Smalley, we remember and we saw.  

        To the DLC: Elif air ab tizak

        by Nada Lemming on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:29:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  No-knock raids for drugs should themselves be... (0+ / 0-)

    ...a felony.

    There is simply no compelling reason to use force in such circumstances. (The possibility of drugs getting flushed is not a compelling reason).

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 01:20:23 AM PDT

  •  How about a call to action (0+ / 0-)

    To eliminate these dynamic entry / no knock raids?

    "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

    by blackhand on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:02:54 AM PDT

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