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Licentious policing

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 14 years ago, in 2010, on the World Wide Web.

The SWAT Team Would Like to See Your Alcohol Permit. Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2010-12-13):

In August a team of heavily armed Orange County, Florida, sheriff's deputies raided several black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Orlando area. There were more raids in September and October. According to the Orlando Sentinel, barbers and customers were held at gunpoint, some in handcuffs, while police turned the shops…

You may have been aware that government professional-licensing regulations are routinely used to burn out competition and protect the financial interests of politically-connected businessmen. What you may not have known is that, besides being used to uphold state capitalism, they are also now frequently used to uphold a police state, and allow hyperviolent SWAT raids against licensed businesses, without even the pretense of a warrant.

Do you feel secure in your person, house, papers and effects?

Balko notes that, “at least in the 4th Circuit,” the Fourth Amendment doesn’t prevent the government from sending a SWAT team to make sure your beer is labeled correctly.” I of course could not care less whether or not these completely unrestrained hyperviolent stormtrooper raids, conducted at the pleasure of government police against innocent people’s hang-outs and places of business, are or are not authorized by the Constitution. Either the Fourth Amendment allows them, or it can demonstrably do nothing to prevent them. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

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