Cops love kicking doors down, but the FBI decided not to execute a front-door entry to a house in D.C.'s swanky Kalorama Heights, as that would compromise the upscale neighborhood's "aesthetics."
Jacob Sullam at Reason Magazine:
It's not clear whether the FBI agents who searched Abou-Khatwa's house were doing him a favor by eschewing a front-door entry. The agent's testimony makes it sound as if the main concern was the impact that knocking down Abou-Khatwa's front door would have on his wealthy neighbors.
Either way, the rationale suggests that people lucky enough to live in places like Kalorama Heights, where the median household income is about $175,000 and nearly three-quarters of the residents are white, but unlucky enough to attract the FBI's attention can expect better treatment than people who live in, say, Anacostia, where the median household income is about $22,000 and 93 percent of the residents are black. While that would be true regardless of the suspect's race, such a class-based distinction is apt to have a racially disproportionate impact, as Tyson-Phipps notes.
That point aside, the agent's concern about neighborhood "aesthetics," if it reflects a broader practice, means that people who can easily afford to fix the damage caused by an FBI raid are apt to have lower bills than people of modest means who would struggle to cover the expense. It also means that rich people are less likely to be humiliated by a conspicuous front-door entry because it would bother the neighbors.