Botched paramilitary police raids: An epidemic of 'isolated incidents' / Cato Institute report + Google Maps refutes notion that Aiyana Stanley-Jones case was an aberration

This map from the CATO Institute -- a part of their research project "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America" -- illustrates the combined power of reporting and data visualization. It also highlights a truly disturbing trend -- the increasing militarization of the police force in this country and also refutes the notion that tragedies such as the case of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a seven-year-old girl who was killed during a SWAT raid on her home in Detroit last year are aberrations.

Cato Institute Uses Google Maps to Show Botched SWAT Raids
(SOURCE: Fast Company)

The Cato Institute has put together something it calls a Raid Map, using Google Maps to show all the paramilitary raids done by government agencies that haven't quite worked out the way they should have. Or, as the Cato Institute puts it, "botched." The different colored pins signify different ways each raid went wrong, from the deaths of officers and innocents, through mistaken identity, to overuse of force, and you can isolate the data by state, year and type of cock-up, should you so wish. "Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are rare," says the Institute. "The map below aims to refute that notion" -- as do the recently reported, tragic shooting deaths of a 7-year-old girl in Detroit and this guy's dog. Just think how much more refuting the map could have done had they opened it up to crowdsourcing. (source)

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown ... there would be reason for grave concern."
-Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (Hudson v. Michigan; June 15, 2006)