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.
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.