In Stockton, California, Kenneth Wright was at home with his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11 when a SWAT team burst into his home at 6 a.m., dragged him out on the lawn, threw him to the ground, and put the family (including the kids) in squad cars. His alleged crime: default on student loans. On top of the overkill in using SWAT teams to target defaulting students, the city got it wrong. They were looking for Wright’s estranged wife. The D.O.E. now insists that it was not just about loans but part of a criminal investigation that it was carrying out.
There has been an expansion of SWAT teams with the infusion of federal funds, often connected to anti-terror programs. Departments appear to be searching for ways to use them, including as http://jonathanturley.org/2011/03/25/under-siege-steven-seagal-attacks-home-in-arizona-with-armored-cars-and-swat-members-to-arrest-man-accused-of-cockfighting/.
In this case, Apocalypse Now was unleashed by the Department of Education as it called in the police for a defaulted student. The Office of the Inspector General has a law enforcement branch of federal agents that carry out search warrants and investigations. However the Stockton Police Department said that it only provided one officer and one patrol car and did not participate in breaking Wright’s door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.
Does this mean that the Department of Education now has shock troops? The Department admitted that it issued the search warrant. That is pretty disturbing that the Department of Education now has authority to issue search warrants and trigger raids on homes.
Recently when the Education Department bought 27 shotguns it released the following statement:
Here’s a statement from the office in response to a question about why need 27 shotguns with a 14-inch barrels:
“The Office of Inspector General is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for the detection of waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs, and operations. As such, OIG operates with full statutory law enforcement authority, which includes conducting search warrants, making arrests, and carrying firearms. The acquisition of these firearms is necessary to replace older and mechanically malfunctioning firearms, and in compliance with Federal procurement requirements. For more information on OIG’s law enforcement authority, please visit their Web site at : http://www.ed.gov/oig”
The D.O.E. issued the following statement in saying that it was carrying out its own raid but not over student loans. Here is the statements as found on Reason:
Yesterday, the Depart of Education’s office of inspector general executed a search warrant at Stockton California residence with the presence of local law enforcement authorities.
While it was reported in local media that the search was related to a defaulted student loan, that is incorrect. This is related to a criminal investigation. The Inspector General’s Office does not execute search warrants for late loan payments.
Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we can’t comment on the specifics of the case. We can say that the OIG’s office conducts about 30-35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.
All further questions on this issue should be directed to the Department of Education’s Inspector General’s Office.
Source: NEWS 10 as first seen on Reddit.
Kudos to Elaine for shotgun story.
135 thoughts on “California Family Hit With SWAT Raid . . . Ordered By The Department of Education”
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If extremists ever start using IEDs in the US, it won’t be muslim against the US military. Just as prototype-teabagger Timothy McVeigh was the first mass murdering terrorist on US soil, it will be hutaree and other teabagger types using them against cops, planting bombs in expectation that thugs from TWA…I mean, SWAT are going to invade the house or drive down the road toward a compound.
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“OMG! Did you actually just give credit to “liberals” for freeing the slaves? Talk about not understanding history!!! O M G!”
OMG! WTF! Did you just write that?
OMG! Did you actually just give credit to “liberals” for freeing the slaves? Talk about not understanding history!!! O M G!
neighborhood watch needs to potrol the hood looking for cops instead
of what we thougt were criminals, and do an all call to the citizens
in the neighborhood to take up arms like the minutemen of the past
hide in the shubs and fire upon them as they ride by. maybe this will wake the dumbasses up, and eliminate them at the same time.
“The problem is many of you out there — you progressive voters in particular — are passively allowing this to happen through your votes. You keep reelecting the type of politicians who make this possible”
You know as someone who people think of as a Progressive Liberal her, there is much you say that I agree with. The trouble with your reasoning though is that you’ve bought into the whole left wing/right wing mythology and obviously on the side of the Right. We probably disagree on government involvement in trying to better the lot of the 98% of the people, who are being screwed by the other 2%. We do agree, however, that there has been an overuse of SWAT Teams in the work of LEO’s and that they are inappropriate in many cases where violent criminality is not concerned. This tendency,
however, and the deprivation of civil liberties is not a liberal phenomena.
Historically, it has arisen many times in our history. In the past 111 years alone their have been the Palmer Raids; Prohibition; Internment of Japanese citizens; the Red Scare led by Dick Nixon and Joe McCarthy; J.E. Hoover’s use of the FBI against the Civil Rights Movement; the CIA’s illegal role in stifling the Viet Nam anti-war movement; the passing of the truly unconstitutional (despite court rulings in favor) Patriot Act and a host of other ill-advised incursions through the years. Most of the impetus for these things originated with conservatives, though liberals both acquiesced and in many cases approved.
“In the latter, had the BATF asked the local sheriff to intervene, rather than conducting an armed raid, there would have been no shooting.”
While you make a good point that both Ruby Ridge and Waco should have been handled differently, I think that also you must admit that in many instances local law enforcement can be part of the problem. How many local sheriffs were also Klan members? How many lynchings were aided by local LEO’s? Many local LEO’s have also exhibited the same corruption that we decry on a Federal level?
In far too many instances much unconstitutional LEO behavior has been instituted by right wing demagoguery with “Get Tough on Crime” platforms, that really mean crack down on the poor. Left wingers have also used that tactic, but in far less cases.
LEO’s in this country, on all levels have been put in “damned if you do, damned if you don’t positions,” which causes them to be cynical and breeds an “us vs. them” mentality towards the public. Then too, as you mention from your past, some are out-right bad officers, who attempt reprisal against anyone trying to be a good cop. The answer to all this though is not distrusting the government per se, because it is meant to be OUR government and our Constitution grants us rights, which need enforcement. The answer is to take back our Constitutional rights through electing people committed to protecting them. and through beginning to differentiate demagogues, from those with real interest in serving the people. Because a person may be liberal, or conservative, does not mean that they can’t believe in the same basic values such as the rule of law, a government free of special interest lobbying, fair elections and taking money’s influence out of the campaign process.
Right Wing/Left Wing/Conservative/Liberal are all terms meant to confuse and distract us from the common goals that all Americans do share. By narrowing the framework of discussion and blindly following “party” lines, we allow those who rule us to win the battle.
Too many comments here are off the mark. Blaming the police for this is off target. It was the federal government conducting this raid. The Dept. of Education. Some are also blaming the Patriot Act. Well, you’re barking up the wrong tree. This has nothing to do with the Patriot Act, which is about counter-terrorism. This kind of thing has been going on for more than 20 years and is getting worse because of encouraging federal powers. What most people don’t realize is the federal goverment has authorized almost every agency — Education, Energy, even Commerce! — to have armed agents. EVERYBODY wants a SWAT team. EVERYBODY wants to play the hero. What’s wrong with this picture is the fact that the offense doesn’t rise, by any stretch of the immagination, to the level of requiring, or even justifying, a SWAT team mentality. What ever happened to knocking on the door and talking to people?
The ONLY justification for using no-knock, armed and forced entry is if, AND ONLY IF, they have strong reason — probably cause, with evidence to back it! — to believe the suspect may be armed and willing to use that arm against them.
This was a supposed FRAUD investigation. Where the hell do guns come into the picture? Fraud is a non-violent crime. So, what’s with the guns?
Liberals attacked the State of Idaho recently for proposing a State Statute BANNING the federal government from conducting raids within that State’s borders without local permission. As a former Police Officer from Illinois, I’m ALL IN FAVOR of such a law. If I was a governor, I would push for just such a law. The only time I can see the feds doing something without coordinating with local law enforcement is if they’re conducting an investigation ON local law enforcement, which was the case on my department. My first department, a Chicago suburb, was a real problem. So were other departments in the area. But then again, it’s Chicago. What do you expect? Corruption runs rampant there. I left, under duress from some nasty characters calling themselves police officers, and later, the FBI found drug dealing and other criminal activity. So, there was full justification for the hush hush. I’m not sure if they were working with State Police, but I know at the same time the neighboring town’s police department was also investigated and half the department was fired in the end, with a State Police Lieutenant Colonel taking over for the fired Chief in the interim.
In those cases, I can see the feds working without local permission. HOWEVER, even then they were working mostly with State Police investigators. As far as I’m concerned, due to the numerous false arrests, mistaken indentities, etc., in these raids, especially those conducted by the BATF, it’s time for the States to reinstitute some local control and to put the federal goverment BACK in its box.
I’m sorry, but only the FBI, DEA, or other such agency has any real business conducting raids. The idea of the Department of Education having armed agents and conducting raids on people’s homes is just unacceptable to me. We’re becoming a police state.
The problem is many of you out there — you progressive voters in particular — are passively allowing this to happen through your votes. You keep reelecting the type of politicians who make this possible. This is what you get for the nanny government mentality driven by the left. And again, it’s NOT the Patriot Act that caused this. This is well outside the authority of the Patriot Act, and it’s been going on actively ever since Ruby Ridge in 1992, followed shortly thereafter by Waco. In those cases, the BATF was conducting operatiions WAY outside what should have been it’s authority. In the latter, had the BATF asked the local sheriff to intervene, rather than conducting an armed raid, there would have been no shooting. Yes, the Davidians had no business opening fire on the agents. But the whole thing could have been avoided had the bureau used its SWAT team as a tool of last choice, rather than looking for a way to grab headline news around budget time!
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