Tag Archives: SWAT

MA Police Officer Will Face Charges For Falsifying Gunman Story

Millis, MA- Millis police are reportedly preparing to file charges against a part-time Millis officer who allegedly crafted a false story about a gunman firing into his police cruiser.

The officer, who was identified Friday by WHDH News as 24-year-old Bryan Johnson, initially reported Wednesday that as he was driving his cruiser, he saw a man in a dark-colored truck coming from the opposite direction driving toward him.

As the two vehicles came closer together, Johnson claimed that the man fired multiple shots into his police cruiser, causing Johnson to crash into a tree and before his cruiser burst into flames.

“My cruiser’s been shot at. I’m at Forest Road. It’s going to be a dark maroon pickup,” Johnson reportedly told dispatch on Wednesday at 2:17 p.m.

Following Johnson’s report, police conducted an extensive search for a suspect. Area schools were closed the following morning and residents were urged to stay inside their homes as a SWAT team, K-9 officers and a Massachusetts State Police helicopter examined the surrounding area of the incident in the search for the alleged suspect.

Further investigation at the scene of the incident and a review of Johnson’s statements led to the determination that there was actually no gunman, and Johnson made up the story about a man firing into his police cruiser. Ballistic testing revealed the bullets fired into the cruiser came from Johnson.

Johnson was hired in June as a part-time officer, and had yet to complete training in order to become a full-time police officer. He was a police dispatcher before becoming an officer. Johnson was fired Thursday.

The Millis Police Department apologized to residents for the incident:

“The major concern I heard most from our officers today, was how this incident will affect our relationship with you. I know I speak for the entire Millis Police Department when I tell you how important it is for us to maintain your trust and confidence. This incident is not a reflection of any of the Millis Police Officers. All our officers have worked extremely hard to build great reputations, and friendships in this community. We will continue to provide the highest level of service to this community.We appreciate all the support we have received the last two days. It definitely has kept us going and moving forward, especially with the outcome of today’s events.”

Charges are expected to be filed Friday. Investigation into the cruiser fire is still ongoing.

SWAT teams claim private company status

Prior to the ACLU report on the increasing militarization of police, Massachusetts police offices replied to requests for information saying the SWAT teams in the state are private corporations, exempting them from open records laws.

These SWAT teams are supervised by what are called Law Enforcement Councils, or LECs.  The LECs are overseen by an executive board of police chiefs from various local police and sheriff’s departments and funded by the various law enforcement offices in the surrounding area.  Sometimes, the offices which fund these LECs are headed by the same chiefs who sit on the board.

Funding for an LEC is collected from the departments which make up the LEC, in the form of an annual membership fee.  This fee grants the department access to information gathered by other member departments, and also allows the departments the use of a regionalized SWAT team as opposed to a localized team.

The Tewksbury Police Department, for example, paid a $4,600 fee in 2012 to be a part of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, or NEMLEC.  Currently, NEMLEC consists of over 50 police and sheriff’s offices in Middlesex and Essex Counties in Massachusetts.

Because of the pooled funds to support these LECs, some have incorporated 501(c)(3) organization status.  This status, according to the LECs who have claimed such, grants them the privilege to refuse requests to their records.

The problem is, these LECs employ officers who, according to the Washington Post, “carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill.”  The SWAT teams of the LECs also perform raids on private residences.

Given their status as “private corporations,” this would be akin to private security firms who work independent from the sphere of law carrying out raids on residences.

Jessie Rossman, an ACLU staff attorney in Massachusetts, told the Washington Post, “You can’t have it both ways…The same government authority that allows them to carry weapons, make arrests, and break down the doors of Massachusetts residents during dangerous raids also makes them a government agency that is subject to the open records law.”

IRS Needs AR-15’s For “Standoff Capabilities”?

The IRS, which primarily acts as an audit agency, refuses to answer why its agents need AR-15s for “standoff capability.”

In May, U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) was getting a lot of questions about ammo shortages and government agencies stockpiling guns and ammo. He wanted to know why IRS agents were buying ammo in large quantities and wanted to see the ammo supply himself.  He went to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Maryland where he witnessed 8 or 9 IRS agents using AR-15s at an indoor 100 yard firing range.

IRS-Agents-training-with-AR-15-Rifles

Duncan questioned why IRS agents needed to be trained with AR-15 military rifles with 30 round magazines for “standoff capability” and why the IRS couldn’t use agencies like the U.S. Marshals to assist them when needed.

BenSwann.com asked Duncan if the IRS offered him any new information regarding his investigation.

“The IRS has not been cooperative. My committee doesn’t have direct oversight over the IRS so I’ve been trying to build support for an investigation. The IRS has not shown me any information on why they need to train with AR-15’s,” Duncan said.

The IRS is not the only federal agency stocking up tactical weapons and training for paramilitary raids.

In 2011, the Department of Education’s SWAT team raided Kenneth Wright’s home because of a search warrant regarding his ex-wife (who no longer lived at the home).* At 6am, SWAT broke through the door and dragged Wright by the neck to his front lawn and held him and his children at gun point. See video.

According to the Washington Post, right after the federal government took over the student aid program, the Department of Education began to acquire tactical weapons like Remington’s 870 police 12-gauge shotgun.

Agencies like the Department of Education, the Social Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service continue to purchase large amounts of tactical weapons and ammunition to build up their law enforcement divisions.

Steve Hoffman, the Southeast Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) told BenSwann.com his thoughts on IRS agents training with AR-15s.

“This just as bad as the Dept. of Education actually having agents who are on armed and trained with AR-15s. Both are symptoms of a federal government that is out of control and whose powers have grown well beyond those outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution,”Hoffman said.

Congressman Duncan agrees.

When asked if the Department of Education should have a law enforcement division or SWAT team to investigate Americans regarding their student loans Duncan said,

“Absolutely not, that’s the whole concern with the IRS. Do they need a SWAT team to make sure you’ve paid your taxes?”

Duncan wants answers. He is investigating why the IRS and the Department of Education needs to have their own law enforcement division, and why they need tactical and paramilitary training at the FLETC. He expects to find more answers at his next subcommittee hearing.

 

*The U.S. Department of Education’s spokesman Justin Hamilton would not say specifically why the raid took place except that it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.