52-year-old Iowa man John Hytrek, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease was working on a tractor in his driveway when he the local SWAT Team leapt from a van in his driveway and assaulted the man.
They drove his face into some machinery, and then the ground, and beat him about his head and face. According to both the police and the victim himself, he never resisted.
Apparently, Mr. Hytrek had a falling out with a family member and asked him to leave his property. In retaliation the family member called the police to complain.
So naturally… the police sent a SWAT Team?
There must be some kind of disconnect somewhere. But the reports simply state that the family member who called the police and complained that Mr. Hytrek had been “making threats.” The authorities are also saying that Mr. Hytrek did nothing wrong and that they are reviewing what happened.
So how did the SWAT team end up in Mr. Hetrek’s driveway that day?
This seems to be an ever growing problem around the country, not just in Iowa. There has been a surge in SWAT Team “accidents” around the country. One problem may be that there has been a dramatic increase in police militarization, with even small towns purchasing military level assault technology.
We have to ask if these small towns really need fully capable SWAT Teams and armored vehicles to police their communities.
There has an also been an increase in individuals using the police to commit crimes – one particularly pernicious example is called “swatting.” Swatting happens when someone calls the police with information about a hostage situation where the assailant is armed and dangerous.
Conservative blogger and radio host Katie Pavlich explains why swatting can be so dangerous.
“They call the police from a phone program pretending to be (insert conservative blogger here), say something horrific such as ‘I just shot my wife,’ hang up and then laugh as a local SWAT team descends on the house of (insert conservative blogger here) for no real reason.”
Blogger John Frey who experienced a terrifying instance of swatting had this to say.
The technique is called “swatting,” because, as Frey wrote, “it can bring a SWAT team to your front door.”
“Anxious police,” Frey added, “believing they are responding to the home of an armed and dangerous man, show up at the front door pointing guns and screaming orders.” As one can imagine, the hoax can be quite dangerous for the victim.
Mr. Hytrek is now suing his local police force, deservedly so, and I think we can expect a settlement on this case. Hopefully, this case will act as a warning to other police forces, but it’s more likely that if all of the other SWAT “accidents” haven’t already spooked them… nothing will.
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