Data relating to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office SWAT outfit has been requested by the American Civil Liberties Union one of 255 public records the organization requested in 23 states.
The ACLU filed the records requests because DeSoto County and other outfits across the country had involvement in SWAT activity.
"Well the law says there are very clear areas that they can object, but they still have to respond and we have not received a response from them," said Amelia McGowan, ACLU attorney.
From the get go, Sheriff Bill Rasco has expressed concerns about the ACLU's records request. He said he and the county's board of supervisors are working on a response, but some of the information the ACLU has asked for should not be made public.
"I'm not going to do anything that is going to put my county in jeopardy, or my guys in jeopardy doing the job that they are supposed to do," he said.
The public records request by the ACLU is being worked on in DeSoto County.
"We are answering some of their questions, but there is no possible way that we can answer all of them in seven days, plus I gave it to our board (Monday)," he said. "Our board attorney is working with them, and we are going to present them with it. If this is what you want us to perform these duties then the question is are you willing to pay for it."
The ACLU says there is concern that local law enforcement agencies across the country are becoming increasingly militarized and their use of military tactics may violate civil liberties.
"There is also a concern, like you raised, that many of these technologies are being used more on persons of color on poor individuals," McGowan said. "Both of them are reasons why we are looking into this."
Sheriff Rasco said his deputies do not target any group of people.
"There is none whatsoever, targeting of any group of people or anything military to our SWAT team whatsoever," he said.
McGowan said that after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, "the federal government has increasingly militarized our local police department and we are concerned about this issue."
"I don't have any concerns," Sheriff Rasco said. "I mean, we haven't done anything wrong. It's just the nature of the beast. The job that we are in everybody is looking at you."
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
Didn't find what you were looking for?