In the middle of April, while in my living room in an apartment complex near downtown Eugene, I heard an explosion that shook my apartment. I looked out my window and saw an armored vehicle in the street flanked by two tactical teams holding long-guns. They were decked out in all their fancy gear. The scene was reminiscent of a hit in Baghdad. I’m sure they thought they looked pretty cool — pretty powerful.
The team’s tactics were almost comically excessive, if the reality of possible outcomes wasn’t so dangerous. This isn’t the first time that I’ve seen the police use this level of force for minor cases in a relatively low-income apartment complex. I should note, too, my neighbors are Black and, given the state of affairs, I was afraid for them. The right mix of power and fear on the part of the police can have deadly outcomes. Luckily, my neighbors weren’t home.
Sure, I don’t know the exact details of the case. But, unless my neighbors had plans to do something like blow up a building (which they certainly didn’t), the use of force was not justified. There’s no violence coming out of this area. Not even any disturbances, beyond police throwing grenades at apartment doors (apparently a standard practice to warn those inside who are not involved).
In short, the whole thing was ridiculous and unnecessary. It’s looking more and more like (excessive) force isn’t just one of the options in the police tool kit, but the only option.