On May 5th, SWAT supervisor, Bob Krygier was obviously expecting serious trouble as he got out of an armored Bearcat (18,000 pounds, worth $240,000) at a Tucson home. Sirens blared and an assault team clustered at the door of an alleged “murder” suspect.
Twenty seconds later the assault team broke in and shot Jose Guerena 22 times.
Oddly, the SWAT team had been briefed for a search warrant that Jose Guerena was “associated with a homicide where a husband and wife got killed,” and, “If something were going to happen, it was probably going to happen at Red Water” (Guerena’s house).
But Jose Guerena was an honorably discharged Marine veteran with no criminal record at all.
He was evidently a victim of Federal Government warnings about veterans. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in agreement with the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote a policy two years ago that anyone with the skills of a combat veteran, or any American who owns a gun - criminal or not - is a danger to society and should be dealt with as a known criminal because of their potential danger to police. (Steinback, 2011)
In fact, DHS issued a report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” about veterans as likely recruits for, “attacks against the government.” (Harwood, 2009)
The Guerena killing illustrates this anti-veteran-overkill policy in action.
1) What purpose has an armored car on a residential search warrant?
2) Why were sirens allowed to drown out commands during search warrant service?
3) Why did supervisors brief young officers they would face a homicide suspect?
4) Why did Sheriff Dupnik tell Jennifer Waddell on KGUN9 News, “He (Guerena) thought we were there to arrest him for murder”? (Waddell, 2011)
A very expensive 9-ton armored car will stop most bullets fired at officers who are inside it's half-inch steel plate. Emergency vehicles normally use deafening sirens while maneuvering in traffic. So, why use SWAT, a huge armored car and blaring sirens to knock on a front door and serve a search warrant?
Sheriff Dupnik admitted to KGUN9 that, in his mind, this veteran was a criminal.
Federally prompted SWAT, armored cars and military tactics are now everywhere. Capricious policies, untrained officers and unclear enforcement missions are dangerous to all citizens – and particularly dangerous when some citizens are treated differently than others.
So, veterans beware. Sheriff Dupnik is reading our minds, and our government has begun to treat us like the enemy.
Harwood, M. (2009). Security Management. Security’s Web Connection. Domestic Extremist Dictionary leaked from DHS, then retracted. http://www.securitymanagement.com/news/domestic-extremist-dictionary-leaked-dhs-then-retracted-005619
Steinback, R. (2011). Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Law Center. Keeping an eye on the Radical Right. http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/04/26/nullification-advocates-take-show-on-the-road/#more-6287
Waddell, J. (2011). KGUN9 ABC. Raw Video: Sheriff Dupnik opens up about fatal SWAT raid.