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August 2005
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More on Anthony Diotaiuto, drug war victim

Michael Mayo has an excellent column in today’s Sun-Sentinel:
An ounce of pot, 10 bullets and one failed drug war

“What in the hell were they doing with a SWAT team?” asked Eleanor Shockett, a retired Miami-Dade circuit judge who advocates a sweeping overhaul of drug laws. “To break into someone’s home at six in the morning, possibly awaken someone from a deep sleep, someone who has a concealed weapons permit? What did they expect to happen?”

This is a tragedy that never should have happened.

Even if Diotaiuto, 23, was a small-time pot dealer, which his friends and family deny, the methods used show the madness of our country’s war on drugs.

No discretion. No proportionality. No sense.

“Using SWAT in this case is like using a sledgehammer on a fly,” said Jack Cole, a former narcotics detective for the New Jersey State Police who heads Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a drug-law reform group. “I’d much rather use a little bit of stealth.”

That says it all.
I’m going to stay on top of this story, because as many people need to hear about it as possible. I’m pleased to hear already that the community is up in arms and people are investigating.
Let’s be clear about this. This cannot simply be blamed on a “mistake” by the Sunrise Police Department. Certainly from a legal and liability standpoint, they’re at fault. However, where did the Sunrise Police get the idea to do this? How has this kind of violent attack on citizens become part of the “acceptable” arsenal for police department’s to even consider?

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