With over a TRILLION DOLLARS in college debt (see: New Debt Slaves) and a 498%  increase in tuition (since 1986), I was SHOCKED to see this story of Kenneth Wright from 2009. I wasn’t aware of this story when it first developed and was surprised to learn the Department of Education had its own SWAT team.

Page four of the Search Warrant  notes that authorities were looking for evidence related to Financial Aid Fraud, Conspiracy, Theft of Government Funds, False Statement to Government Agency, and Wire Fraud.

It’s important to note that NONE of these are violent crimes that requiring the breaking down of a door and a potentially lethal response.

U.S. Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton said the agents that served the search warrant were with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), not the local Stockton, California S.W.A.T.

The initial report said the U.S. Department of Education “issued the search and called in the S.W.A.T for his wife’s defaulted student loans,” although that story has since been taken down and replaced with an updated version that did not contain the claim about the raid being connected to student loans. [source]

UPDATE: Interview with Wife

PJ Media’s Howard Nemerov asks:

  • Since Kenneth Wright wasn’t arrested, why the forced entry?
  • If this had to do with non-violent crimes like fraud or embezzlement, why not try a more humane first contact than door-breach and 15 armed personnel?
  • Since all the evidence is locked up because the case is ongoing, how do we know the feds are telling the truth?
  • How can the Department of Education issue warrants authorizing deadly force for non-violent crimes?
  • Doesn’t this sound like the Dupnik defense? (Keep changing the story and blame the victim by implying this is part of a larger investigation.)

ABC News10 caught-up with Michelle Wright and interviewed her (video).  She says she had not been contacted prior and “I’m 110 percent shocked that federal agents showed up at my house and in the way that they did.”

Increase in SWAT Raids Nationally

The Cato Institute published a report titled: Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America, along with a map of botched raids nationally. In their publication they report:

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

Let’s hope with the growing number of lawsuits and defaults on college loans, cooler heads prevail and the Department of Education can leave their guns at home so nobody gets hurt.