April 25, 2012 11:10AM

Graffiti Problem … So Call in the SWAT Team!?

From today’s Washington Post:

Hethmon had an up‐​close and unpleasant experience with the same kind of local police he had done so much to empower.The problem began with graffiti on a highway overpass in Bowie. Police there suspected that Hethmon’s teenage son might be involved and obtained a search warrant. They arrived at 7 a.m. on March 9 with a heavily armed team of county officers.

“Come in with masks, guns, screaming. You know, knocking everybody down,” Hethmon recalled. “I tried to explain to them, you know: ‘Look, I’m a lawyer, this is outrageous.’ [The reply was:] ‘Shut up and lie down on the floor.’ ”

Police said they found 2.5 grams of marijuana in the house. They filed charges against Hethmon, his son and his wife — all for the same drugs. The charges against Hethmon will be dropped, prosecutors said last week.

Hethmon said the experience has not changed his work.

“The fact that a law is legitimate and serving a purpose doesn’t mean that it can’t be abused,” he said. “Human beings are flawed people.”

And so, for the lesser‐​known of this duo, there has been a personal test. After he did so much to place greater trust in local police officers nationwide, police in Prince George’s County sent a SWAT team to his house to look for . . . spray paint.

It would be comical if it were not so serious. Once the paramilitary unit arrives, heavy‐​handed methods are often employed to ensure ‘officer safety,’ i.e. break windows to distract occupants from the doorway and flashbang grenades. The militarization of police tactics is out of control, but policymakers do nothing focus on expanding the power of the government.

More background herehere and here.