Department of Homeland Security sharpshooters trained their weapons on frightened residents during a raid on a nearby apartment in East Williamsburg, with neighbors complaining of how they were “utterly confused and frankly terrorized” during the incident.
The combined federal/NYPD drugs bust started in the early hours of Sunday morning when a low flying helicopter startled East Williamsburg and Bushwick residents, before streets were blocked off, preventing people from going home.
“Witnesses spotted a big Department of Homeland Security truck as well as DHS agents toting machine guns as they raided 221 Devoe Street,” reports the Gothamist.
While the raid unfolded, DHS marksmen aimed their guns at residents in nearby buildings, causing panic and confusion. “I literally had a flashlight-gun pointed at me from a sniper on top of the black armored truck the first time I opened our window to see what was going on,” said one neighbor.
“What woke us up was a cop yelling ‘POLICE!’ outside and hearing some sort of scream,” he added. “Then I noticed the flashing lights of the armored black truck so I peeped out the window. There were two snipers on top of the armored truck with flashlight-guns and one of them pointed at me immediately. If I was them and I was doing my job, I probably would have pointed it at me, too, but at the same I wasn’t even in the building they were looking at. He immediately pointed it away but needless to say, I was terrified because I could have been picked off instantly.”
DHS officials admitted that they were involved in the raid but declined to elaborate, while the NYPD had no comment.
The increasing militarization of the Department of Homeland Security and its closer ties with local police departments has stoked increasing concerns that the war on drugs is being used as an excuse to turn America into a police state.
View more images of the raid courtesy of HB/Gothamist below.