Police raids got the John Oliver treatment during "Last Week Tonight" during HBO's Sunday evening show.
After Breonna Taylor was murdered by police because they didn't do the due diligence to find the proper address for the person they were after, Louisville banned no-knock raids. The problem, however, is that there's very little difference between a no-knock warrant and a knock warrant.
As Oliver explained, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a knock-warrant gives police the right to wait just 20 seconds before they enter out of fear that the "drug suspect" would flush evidence down the toilet.
"Yeah, the ruling there was giving you 20 seconds to answer your door is reasonable because you might flush evidence down the toilet, which raises the obvious question here: why the f*ck are we raiding people's homes for an amount of evidence that can be flushed down a toilet?" Oliver asked.
Out of the tens of thousands of police raids done each year, they are almost exclusively done on people of color and in neighborhoods of color. Police have killed 81 people due to the raids, but 13 police have also been killed in the raids. So, they're not safe for either party.
At a time when police departments are becoming increasingly militarized, Oliver explained that such raids must end.
While Breonna Taylor's death was a horrific and tragic one, she's not alone when it comes to police raiding the wrong house. Oliver showed video after video after video of police screwing up. In one case, the body cam footage revealed that one SWAT Team was faced with two houses to choose from, the addresses were visible, the driveways were different, and the police still got the wrong house.
"The police hitting the wrong address is completely unacceptable when the stakes are are so high," Oliver said. "Even Edible Arrangements manages to deliver to the correct address!"
While the men who got it wrong in Taylor's case still haven't been charged, Oliver noted that most botched raids aren't even investigated unless they draw significant media attention. Even when they are, the "qualified immunity" prevents police from ever being held accountable.
But in this case, it isn't just the police who are at fault. Half of the warrants granted for the raids are approved by judges in less than three minutes because they don't care enough to read them. The bar for getting judges to sign off on search warrants is extremely low. All that is necessary, Oliver explained, is probable cause. So all an officer has to do is say he "smells marijuana" and they can break down your door, shoot your family and throw a flash-bang in your baby's crib. While that might sound like Oliver being hyperbolic, that actually happened in Georgia, scaring a baby for life. The officer was acquitted.
Oliver concluded that police clearly cannot be trusted to carry out raids without killing someone and the idea that the raids are necessary are absurd. Any drug case that is being investigated by police will involve so much evidence that it isn't flushable in 20 seconds.
"Lives are getting destroyed by police raids," he explained. "Even if nobody gets physically hurt, that does not mean that no damage is done."
He went on to say that the "big solution" is to stop doing drug raids entirely. It's not a crazy liberal idea that Oliver's invented either. The former chairman of the National Tactical Officers Association recommended that raids never be used to serve search warrants, saying, "Why would you run into a gunfight? You're definitely don't go in and risk your life for drugs."
See the full video below:
Raids: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) www.youtube.com