Sunday, June 29

SWAT units in Massachusetts use deadly force but claim they're NOT public agencies ?? WTF?!

About 240 cities and associations of smaller towns in Massachusetts fund and operate SWAT units.  These units routinely conduct raids on homes and businesses where illegal activity is suspected.

Shockingly, these raids are sometimes based on absolutely fabricated information, or the unit raids the wrong address.  In both cases people in the raided homes are sometimes accidentally fatally shot. 

The ACLU decided to look into such abuses, and asked SWAT units in the state to provide information about the raids they'd conducted, citing the Freedom of Information Act.  The response the ACLU got was...unexpected.

The SWAT units claimed they were not required to provide any information on their activities because they were private corporations, not public agencies.

If you have a hard time accepting that claim, join the club.  It's hard to see how any public employee, driving public equipment and wielding firearms purchased by taxpayer funds can be so brazen as to make such a claim.  But they did. 

Specifically, the dodge was made by Jack Collins, the general counsel for the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, who asserted that *technically* the SWAT units were operated not by police departments but by law enforcement *councils.*  These were indeed incorporated, as non-profit corporations, so...there ya go, citizen.

By the way, if you think this story is nothing but tinfoil-hat stuff from Faux News, think again:  It's from the Washington Post.

In other news the IRS is reportedly looking into incorporating.  Said the head of the agency, "Hey, if being a corporation lets SWAT units ignore FOIA requests it's gotta work for us too."

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