Tag Archives | militarization

Ferguson: The Violence of the State Created the Violence of the Street

403px-Martin_Luther_King_press_conference_01269u_editWhere’s Cliven Bundy’s posse when you need them?

Gary Younge writes at the Guardian:

In 1966, Martin Luther King started to campaign against segregation in Chicago only to find his efforts thwarted by violent mobs and a scheming mayor. Marginalised by the city’s establishment, he could feel that non-violence both as a strategy and as a principle was eroding among his supporters. “I need some help in getting this method across,” he said. “A lot of people have lost faith in the establishment … They’ve lost faith in the democratic process. They’ve lost faith in non-violence … [T]hose who make this peaceful revolution impossible will make a violent revolution inevitable, and we’ve got to get this over, I need help. I need some victories, I need concessions.”

He never got them. The next year there were more than 150 riots across the country, from Minneapolis to Tampa.

As the situation escalates in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where police recently shot an unarmed black man as he walked down the street, many are clearly losing faith.

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TSA Union Wants Armed Guards

b241ed39-d123-4a3f-a2bd-3cfaaaa4be10Just the thing these jumped-up mall cops need: firepower. (Speaking of that, every heard of The Mall Ninja?)

Via USA TODAY:

The union representing airport screeners for the Transportation Security Administration says Friday’s fatal shooting of an agent at Los Angeles International Airport highlights the need for armed security officers at every airport checkpoint.

“Every local airport has its own security arrangement with local police to some type of contract security force,” said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the screeners. “There is no standardization throughout the country. Every airport operates differently. Obviously at L.A. there were a fair number of local police officers there.

Keep reading.

 

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How To Reverse The Militarization Of Police In America

militarization

Via the Huffington Post, the militarization of our police can be turned back, and Radley Balko explains how:

Today in America, SWAT teams are deployed about 100 to 150 times per day, or about 50,000 times per year – a dramatic increase from the 3,000 or so annual deployments in the early 1980s, or the few hundred in the 1970s. The vast majority of today’s deployments are to serve search warrants for drug crimes. The question is, how could the U.S. roll all of this back?

End the Drug War – Even decriminalization would take away many of the incentives to fight the drug war as if it were an actual war. Your average small town SWAT team would probably continue to exist, at least in the short term. But these teams are expensive to maintain, and without federal funding, it seems likely that many would eventually disband.

End The “Equitable Sharing” Civil Asset Forfeiture Program – Under civil asset forfeiture, police agencies can seize any piece of property – cash, cars, homes – that they can reasonably connect to criminal activity.

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“They Throw Kids on the Ground, Put Guns to Their Heads” — The Horrors Unleashed by Police Militarization

Picture: Wikipedia (PD)

Picture: Wikipedia (PD)

Radley Balko writes at Alternet:

Betty Taylor still remembers the night it all hit her.

As a child, Taylor had always been taught that police officers were the good guys. She learned to respect law enforcement, as she puts it, “all the time, all the way.” She went on to become a cop because she wanted to help people, and that’s what cops did. She wanted to fight sexual assault, particularly predators who take advantage of children. To go into law enforcement—to become one of the good guys—seemed like the best way to accomplish that. By the late 1990s, she’d risen to the rank of detective in the sheriff’s department of Lincoln County, Missouri—a sparsely populated farming community about an hour northwest of St. Louis. She eventually started a sex crimes unit within the department. But it was a small department with a tight budget. When she couldn’t get the money she needed, Taylor was forced to give speeches and write her own proposals to keep her program operating.

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Have US Police Forces Become Too Militarised?

International news agency Al-Jazeera (which also happened to recently purchase Current TV here in the states, y'all) asks whether the United States' police forces have become too militarized. For those of us who get our news from independent, mostly online sources, this seems obvious. Anyone who was involved with or follows the Occupy movement has seen how local and state law enforcement have refitted themselves as paramilitary organizations. Each week, seemingly every day, there are dozens of stories of police harassment, abuse, brutality, and infringement on civil rights; usually against people of color. It may not be that this is a trend on the rise, but as others have suggested, that there are simply more cameras and recording devices out there facilitating our constitutional right to keep the cops accountable. But there can be no doubt that the addition of SWAT tactics, zero tolerance, racial profiling, stop-and-frisk, warantless surveillance and wiretapping, armored tank-like vehicles, severe use of 'nonlethal' weapons, and the trigger-happy cowboys themselves have increased faster than you can say 'counter-terrorism' or 'fusion center.' Add in some DHS-supplied drones and you've got a local militia with a fraternal code of silence and protection from the very laws they were once sworn to uphold.
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