Police Exploded Their Headquarters, But They Shot Back

picture of police in SWAT gear
Briona Lamback
December 4, 2021

On December 8, 1969, the Los Angeles Police Department violently raided the Black Panther Party’s L.A. headquarters after creating the nation’s first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. And SWAT teams have been attacking Black communities ever since! But what happened to the Panthers?

The LAPD set out to serve a warrant to search the party’s headquarters for stolen weapons, but it was obtained using the FBI’s FALSE information. The police knew this – but ambushed them anyway. Their new experiment in policing meant gas masks, a helicopter, a tank, and military-grade grenades.

More than 200 officers swarmed in to take on just 12 Panthers, many of whom were only teenagers! Police detonated explosives on the Panthers’ roof, and by the end of it, they had fired more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition. 

But it didn’t go how they planned.

The Panthers didn’t go out without a fight – they shot back! Six Panthers were wounded, but luckily, no one died. Today, fewer than 5% of SWAT raids involve any of the high-risk scenarios they were supposedly created for – instead, they’re primarily used to conduct search warrants, most often to destroy Black neighborhoods.

The militarization of Black communities doesn’t make us safer, period. We have always been over-policed and brutalized. So when our lives are at stake, we have the right to defend ourselves!

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