Following on from my post on Waco, I see that the Economist is concerned about American paramilitary police as well.
How about this one "In 2006 Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old woman in Atlanta, mistook the police for robbers and fired a shot from an old pistol. Police shot her five times, killing her. After the shooting they planted marijuana in her home. It later emerged that they had falsified the information used to obtain their no-knock warrant."
And the incentives are all wrong too. "Because of a legal quirk, SWAT raids can be profitable. Rules on civil asset-forfeiture allow the police to seize anything which they can plausibly claim was the proceeds of a crime. Crucially, the property-owner need not be convicted of that crime. If the police find drugs in his house, they can take his cash and possibly the house, too. He must sue to get them back."
Would you like your policemen to wear T-shirts saying "We get up early to beat the crowds"?
In similar vein. the Atlantic recently had a sobering article on how prison warders are trained to deal with riots.