FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Senate Candidate Stewart Calls For End to Iowa SWAT Teams
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - August 26, 2014 - Iowa businesman and U.S. Senate candidate Rick Stewart called for an end to Iowa SWAT teams today, citing their history of misuse and their potential for provoking a Ferguson, Missouri, type incident.
"We have all seen what happens when law enforcement agencies are militarized," says Stewart. "A bad situation can quickly spiral out of control. The conflict in Ferguson was created by a militarized local police force, as clearly documented when they were removed from the scene by the governor, after it was too late. Allowing Iowa cities to have SWAT teams is simply begging for trouble."
Stewart, a former police officer in his hometown of Maquoketa, drew attention to botched Iowa SWAT team incidents in Council Bluffs in 2012 and in Ankeny in February of this year. Neither incident justified the use of a SWAT team, he says.
"These are just the visible tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of Iowa SWAT team actions are completely unwarranted," says Stewart. "Incidents in Iowa necessitating the use of a SWAT team are virtually non-existent. To keep the team members from getting bored and losing interest, they practice by fighting the Drug War. Setting aside the Drug War's obvious insanity, sending a heavily armed SWAT team into a house to arrest kids taking hits on a bong is a pitifully ridiculous exercise, but when you have a hammer you look for nails. My own children lived through one of these SWAT raids, and the total haul was something like half a joint."
Stewart points out there is already a state wide SWAT team, which in the case of a true emergency can be called upon. He recommends limiting an Iowa law enforcement agency to only one member on the state SWAT team. "This de-escalates the corrosive 'tough guy' mentality that has crept into Iowa law enforcement," he says. "A single state wide SWAT team can respond like a volunteer fire department, being called into action when there is an actual fire, not every time a citizen blows her nose."
He is also demanding all military hardware currently possessed by Iowa law enforcement agencies be collected and destroyed. "These MRAPs, assault rifles, and grenade launchers are not police toys, they are weapons of war. If an Iowa law enforcement officer wants to play with them they should quit their job and march on down to the nearest recruiting office."
Stewart also articulated his position with a YouTube video, part of his one minute series on vital issues of the day.
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