Armored personnel carriers prowl the streets as bulky stormtroopers with automatic weapons and body armor batter down doors. Light aircraft and drones cruise the skies above, monitoring the movements to and from individual dwellings 24/7. Afghanistan? Nope, this is the troubling image of white-picket-fence America presented in director Craig Atkinson’s documentary “Do Not Resist,” where every small town needs an IED-proof armored vehicle.
Armed with surplus Iraq War gear under a federal giveaway, paramilitary SWAT teams are suffering from mission creep, increasingly being used for things like crowd control (see Standing Rock) and domestic search warrants. The film notes that in the 1980s there were only about 3,000 SWAT team deployments annually, but in recent years it’s swelled to around 50,000-60,000.
Atkinson spent two years in 11 states, gathering footage from protests, town hall meetings, patrol cars and police training seminars. The film features both talking heads discussing “crime forecasting” and wired “no-knock” SWAT team raids on suspected drug dealers — who turn out to be just some family, but they still have to foot the bill for the smashed-in doors and windows. (“You can do s—- like that?” asks the bewildered homeowner.)
While some may already smell a liberal-issue film, Atkinson is the son of a SWAT cop and the biggest critic of police overkill here is Republican Sen. Rand Paul. Engage with some nonalternative facts.
“Do Not Resist” can be found on Vimeo, iTunes and Amazon. bit.ly/2donotresist