Just a few weeks ago law enforcement agencies at every level swooped down on L.A. areas, arresting dozens and seizing drugs and weapons. But are these old school sweeps really worth the show of force and the man hours put in, or are they simply for show—serving to further alienate communities and cause deeper resentment for the police?
According to LA Weekly, the sweeps were enormous. They involved 315 county probation officers, 250 L.A. police officers, ICE agents, and secret service personnel as well. These raids, though they involved well over 550 agents of the law, resulted in somewhere around 70 arrests, mostly on probation violations and drug charges.
That same week, 41 people were arrested by 800 law enforcement officers for drug charges related to a cocaine, weapons, and a meth ring.
No one is saying that busting big time drug dealers or people with caches of illegal weapons isn’t important. But when at least 3 children were removed during the raids and placed with state authorities and countless others were present to see the shielded and masked officers storm their neighborhoods, one has to wonder about the unseen effects of these raids.
In the melees that often accompany raids like this, it’s not completely unusual for innocent people to be rounded up for merely being in the presence of those others being arrested. Guilt by association is common when you have friends or family members involved in the gang lifestyle.
These raids also aren’t without their more fatal tragedies. In September Manuel Jaminez was killed in MacArthur Park and in October it was James Davis in South L.A. These raids may serve to take some people off the streets who are dangerous and pose threats but they affect countless others.
In order for the police to be truly effective within a community, they have to be trusted within that community. Crime sweeps like these do little to build trust in communities that already feel targeted by cops.
Whether you were swept up in a police raid like this or if you feel like you were targeted because of your neighborhood or the color of your skin, you have every right to be angry. But if you’re facing criminal charges as a result, you need the help of a criminal defense attorney.
Contact our offices today to be put in touch with a lawyer willing to give you some free advice on your case.