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Digging in the crates: militarized police raid on Utah desert rave

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"I think they're serious dude — they got guns, man."

Back in 2005, the rave promoters who ran the above event had no idea that the local Sheriff was planning a major, militarized attack on their party. The police could have simply informed them before the event that they were out of compliance with local county codes, but chose to assemble a multi-agency SWAT team to attack them mid-party, instead.

The party promoters sued and gained access to police documents showing that agents had been communicating about the party and preparing for the raid days before it took place. A local newspaper wrote:

 

The police agencies [involved in the raid] included members of the Utah County Sheriff's Office, the Utah Department of Corrections Special Operations Unit, Provo police, Provo-Orem SWAT team, and the Department of Public Safety SWAT team.
 
"At the sheriff's office, an operation plan was developed, assignments made and a briefing conducted for all officers involved with the raid. The mission was to disperse the gathering of people because they had not acquired the proper permit for a gathering of more than 250 people," says an internal memo from the corrections department from a lieutenant to the division director.
 
At about 11:30 p.m. — two hours after the event started — officials surrounded the event. They said they shut down the party because the promoters, Uprok Records, did not obtain the necessary permit required by Utah County code for events involving more than 250 people for more than 12 hours.
 
But the promoters say the event was scheduled for less than 12 hours — and therefore was not a violation of county code and should not have been raided.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.