From the Annals of Police Militarization: How Many NDs Don’t We Hear About?

Pharr, TX SWAT (courtesy brownsvilleherald.com)

“A former member of the Pharr [Texas] police SWAT team has sued a colleague and the city after suffering a gunshot wound to the leg two years ago during a training exercise the victim says was covered up,” brownsvilleherald.com reports. Cops training to be pseudo-military ninja warriors. What could possibly go wrong? And police cover ups are almost as common as police f-ups, if not more. So . . . what’s the big deal? Let’s call it institutional stupidity. Check out the details of the lawsuit filed by Hector Manuel Mariscal against the Pharr PD . . .

The M-4 described in the lawsuit is a military weapon that can switch from semi-automatic to automatic fire and is made by Bushmaster Firearms International, which is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The rifle is described in the lawsuit as the most powerful weapon in the Pharr Police Department’s arsenal, yet it is given to every officer — including ones with minimal training who are not proficient in its use.

Pharr police created an unsafe atmosphere with no supervision that risked the public’s safety by having their trainings in the parking lot, the lawsuit states.

Villescas wouldn’t allow his SWAT leaders to participate with other agencies in courses for instructors, and the training for their officers was carried out by SWAT leaders who lack basic SWAT certification or training, Mariscal’s attorney, Mauro Ruiz, claims in the lawsuit.

Even though [Juan Carlos “JC”] Aguirre is a member of the SWAT team, the lawsuit says he didn’t have experience or training with the M-4 since his position is a community officer for events at schools and he was not even proficient with his duty handgun.

Wow. Talk about burning your bridges. Still money talks, ex-SWAT members walk. With a limp. As mentioned above, Mr. Mariscal was shot in the leg when one of the aforementioned M4s—supposed to be unloaded—”went off” in the parking lot. What’s more, it wasn’t the team’s first rodeo mishap. Wrath of God anyone?

Aguirre  had been responsible for a previous firing of his gun in the parking lot and that despite lacking physical and mental qualities needed for SWAT work, Villescas had allowed him to be on the SWAT team, the lawsuit claims.

Police Lt. Gilbert Guerrero had sent a memo to Villescas asking to remove Aguirre from the SWAT team; however, the chief ignored the request, according to the lawsuit.

How many SWAT screw-ups are there across the length and breadth of this police-militarized country of ours? It’s time to shut off the federal spigot pouring-out machine guns, ammunition, tanks and other weapons of war to our fellow civilians.