As Balko demonstrates in a long excerpt from his book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, published in Salon, the incident described below, plus innumerable incidents of police extreme, overwhelming and excessive violence, are not rising due to a few bad apples and rogue cops, but rather to a much deeper “institutional” problem. That’s one and polite way to put it. But it begs the question of why there is an “institutional” problem. Maybe this is a symptom of something deeper still: that the 1% who control the “institutions” want excessiveness from a highly militarized police who are officially directed to shoot first and ask questions later in order to condition the 99% to be intimidated and thus controllable as economic conditions the 1% created seriously deteriorate. A military and militarized police force’s sole duty during economic collapse will be to protect the 1% from the 99%. But to do that job well requires training and conditioning, hence such incidents can be expected to occur for that purpose much more frequently.
“Sal Culosi is dead because he bet on a football game — but it wasn’t a bookie or a loan shark who killed him. His local government killed him, ostensibly to protect him from his gambling habit.
Several months earlier at a local bar, Fairfax County, Virginia, detective David Baucum overheard the thirty-eight-year-old optometrist and some friends wagering on a college football game. “To Sal, betting a few bills on the Redskins was a stress reliever, done among friends,” a friend of Culosi’s told me shortly after his death. “None of us single, successful professionals ever thought that betting fifty bucks or so on the Virginia–Virginia Tech football game was a crime worthy of investigation.” Baucum apparently did. After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that’s when they brought in the SWAT team.
On the night of January 24, 2006, Baucum called Culosi and arranged a time to drop by to collect his winnings. When Culosi, barefoot and clad in a T-shirt and jeans, stepped out of his house to meet the man he thought was a friend, the SWAT team began to move in. Seconds later, Det. Deval Bullock, who had been on duty since 4:00 AM and hadn’t slept in seventeen hours, fired a bullet that pierced Culosi’s heart.
Sal Culosi’s last words were to Baucum, the cop he thought was a friend: “Dude, what are you doing?”
In March 2006, just two months after its ridiculous gambling investigation resulted in the death of an unarmed man, the Fairfax County Police Department issued a press release warning residents not to participate in office betting pools tied to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The title: “Illegal Gambling Not Worth the Risk.” Given the proximity to Culosi’s death, residents could be forgiven for thinking the police department believed wagering on sports was a crime punishable by execution.
In January 2011, the Culosi family accepted a $2 million settlement offer from Fairfax County. That same year, Virginia’s government spent $20 million promoting the state lottery.”
Excerpted from Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko. Reprinted with permission from PublicAffairs Books.