Smooth is Fast (Essay)

This essay on police violence and SWAT4 (Vivendi Universal, 2005) appears in Kings Review. An excerpt follows below. Full essay.
‘The fear of a smashing in of doors by government agents is based upon much more than a concern that our privacy will be disturbed. … Something much more malevolent and dangerous is afoot’. The observation comes from Ferdinand Fernandez, a Bush Sr.-appointed judge on the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, explaining the court’s decision, in United States v. Becker, to suppress the evidence gathered against Becker during a SWAT raid on his home, early one Saturday morning in June, 1989.
Believing the house might be an active methamphetamine lab, and having recovered firearms in a related raid two months earlier, Springfield Police Department had decided the warrant justified a dawn raid. Six armed officers shouted ‘Police—Search Warrant’ as one kicked in the door and the search began. They encountered no resistance from Duskin Becker, or his daughter, who had both been asleep. At the back of the building lay a fresh slab of concrete. When it was cracked with a pneumatic drill, the officers discovered the remnants of drug production. Fernandez’s point—and the point of law—was that the warrant did not justify the intrusion; when the officers took the door off its hinges, they broke their Fourth Amendment obligations.
(Full essay is 4600 words. A discussion of the history of SWAT; law in the US regarding police raids and knock-and-announce; the history of Sierra’s Police Quest series and the experience of playing the final game, SWAT4.)