Columbia, Missouri Police Chief: “I Hate the Internet”

Radley Balko
Reason.com
May 13, 2010

Columbia, Missouri Police Chief Ken Burton is apparently frustrated. At another press conference yesterday, a reporter asked the chief what he has learned from the international attention generated by the YouTube video of his department’s SWAT team conducting a drug raid last February.

His reply: “I hate the Internet.”

I’ll bet he does. For two-and-a-half months, Burton and his department were quiet about the raid. That’s likely because, as I wrote yesterday, the raid was really no different from the tens of thousands of similar raids conducted every year, and that are probably conducted by his own department a couple of times per week. Within days of the video hitting the web, Burton was forced to hold several press conferences, and has now laid out several reforms to the way SWAT raids will be conducted in Columbia in the future. I suppose it’s possible those reforms were brewing all along, and the timing of him announcing them after the video went viral was mere coincidence. It seems at least plausible, though, that the dread “Internet” sparked some actual policy changes, here.

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