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In Chapter 2, there is more focus by Alexander on how the judicial system works regarding the war on drugs. There have been three tactics used on the war on drugs, namely the consent searches, drug-sniffing dogs as well as the pretext stops. Alexander points out that there is a violation of the fourth amendment that gives protection to citizens against unwarranted seizures and searches. Under the forth Amendment, no one including the police have a right to stop and search anyone without any warrant for the same.
The Amendments were later on modified in the year 1968 as per the Supreme court ruling in the US. At this point, it was changed to mean that whenever police officers detect some unusual conduct, then they have the right of conducting a search either for weapons or dangerous items in possession. For many years, the stop and frisk method has been in used to ordinary people who are in most cases people of color.
The major tactic that was in use by the police at the time of war on drugs was the sweeps of buses while on the interstate travel.
The police could not inform passengers of their right for remaining silent or refusing to answer to the questions asked. Most convictions that were carried out against the passengers were in most cases overturned by the courts of the state but reinstated at the Supreme court of the U.S. The lower courts said that it was common knowledge that many people would feel pressured to speak to the law enforcers when required to.
However, the US Supreme Court pointed out that, out of fear, most people might might not say no to the “consent searches’’ making it an important tool to the law enforcers. Alexander says that in most incidences, lots of people feel that they are being intimidated by the police officers upon being confronted or queried. Some of them are not aware that they can say a 'no' whenever they are asked to speak. People of color generally fear being harassed by the police and might find it hard to make complaints about the unlawful searches.
Many of them have very scarce confidence in terms of fair treatment or judgment. It means that the public hardly hears of the innocent individuals who get freed after undergoing a search. The impression of many is that searches often lead to better work by the police. What they fail to understand is that many police have no special training that can enable them to spot the wrongdoers at a glance. The rules that call for fighting of the War on Drugs permits arresting of a large number of people for either minor or offenses that are non- violent. Alexander wonders why the law enforcers have to arrest many people because of being involved in the minor crimes associated with drugs when police departments have serious crimes that are not yet solved. What is more surprising is that the use of drugs was on a decline when the war on drugs was initiated. Initially, the war on drugs was not among the top priorities of the law enforcement agencies hence the creation of the Reagan administration. The administration went a notch higher to provide cash grants to the law enforcement departments that vowed to prioritize drug law enforcement.
Formation of SWAT teams in major cities booted the war on drugs. Previously, SWAT teams were being deployed during incidences of hostages and hijackings. With an increase in federal bestowed cash as well as better military equipment, things changed completely. Currently, SWAT teams are purposely used in serving of drug warrants. They use violence as their tactics by pointing of guns and go to the extent of throwing of grenades. This has led to killings during the raids, a complete shift from practicing community policing to the cruel military policing. Alexander points out that due to the incentives enforced, many police officers knew that their jobs were entirely dependant on grants offered by the federal government. This made them keep the cases related to drugs so high. Some went ahead extorting money from innocent motorists to avoid being implicated in the drug-related cases. Alexander says that even after one is arrested be it that he/she is guilty or innocent, the chances that one can be set free are very minimal. Some defendants get denied legal representation forcing them to plea as opposed to accepting the lengthy sentence. The defender system in the US is deficient because of the many unsolved cases. It becomes difficult for the public defenders to defend the accused.
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