Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Education Cops Rough Up Black Man for Wife’s Student Loan Default

Thanks to Angus Johnston, of Student Activism blog, for finding this one.

Kenneth Wright, who lives in Stockton, California, said that federal agents sent by the Department of Education (DOE) busted down his door without warning Tuesday morning, and left him for more than six hours handcuffed him in the back of a police car. He says it was all because his estranged wife defaulted on her student loans. Acting on orders of the DOE, a SWAT team broke into his home at 6 am and roughed him up before arresting him. (You can see video footage here).

The feds deny that the raid was about a student loan default, but a spokesperson from the department’s Office of the Inspector General said that they “conduct about 30-35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.”  They also said that it was federal agents, not a local SWAT team, who arrested Wright.

Embezzling student aid funds sounds an awful lot like defaulting on them, but with the implication that she was a crook and did it on purpose. Is this the fed’s new way to criminalize poor people who try to go to college? When Wright went to the Stockton police to complain, they showed him a search warrant from the DOE stating that he (or his wife) owed on a student loan.

Regardless of his wife’s actual or perceived crimes, she was not there and he had nothing to do with the matter. Yet he was grabbed by the neck by the SWAT team, handcuffed and dragged out to a police car in his skivvies, all in front of his three children. His small children were detained for 2 hours.


  1. What a perfect excuse - in addition to the drug war - to target minorities and working people for law enforcement overkill.

    It's a perpetual motion machine: the for-profit diploma mills, whose profits are guaranteed by the federal government, turn naive/unprepared students into debt slaves, and thus ever-vulnerable to fascist bullying and arrest.

    Student loan debt, which cannot be waived through bankruptcy proceedings, now exceeds credit card debt in the US. All this along, with the poor job prospects for young people, college educated or not, makes it sound like debtor's prisons will be making a comeback.