The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson

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Anyone want to talk about this shit? Because its fucking scary, and it should be scaring you right now.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/...on-u-s-police-dragged-light-horrors-ferguson/

The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson
By Glenn Greenwald 14 Aug 2014, 8:40 AM EDT 159
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Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images
The intensive militarization of America’s police forces is a serious menace about which a small number of people have been loudly warning for years, with little attention or traction. In a 2007 paper on “the blurring distinctions between the police and military institutions and between war and law enforcement,” the criminal justice professor Peter Kraska defined “police militarization” as “the process whereby civilian police increasingly draw from, and pattern themselves around, the tenets of militarism and the military model.”

The harrowing events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri – the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Mike Brown, and the blatantly excessive and thuggish response to ensuing community protests from a police force that resembles an occupying army – have shocked the U.S. media class and millions of Americans. But none of this is aberrational.

It is the destructive by-product of several decades of deliberate militarization of American policing, a trend that received a sustained (and ongoing) steroid injection in the form of a still-flowing, post-9/11 federal funding bonanza, all justified in the name of “homeland security.” This has resulted in a domestic police force that looks, thinks, and acts more like an invading and occupying military than a community-based force to protect the public.

As is true for most issues of excessive and abusive policing, police militarization is overwhelmingly and disproportionately directed at minorities and poor communities, ensuring that the problem largely festers in the dark. Americans are now so accustomed to seeing police officers decked in camouflage and Robocop-style costumes, riding in armored vehicles and carrying automatic weapons first introduced during the U.S. occupation of Baghdad, that it has become normalized. But those who bear the brunt of this transformation are those who lack loud megaphones; their complaints of the inevitable and severe abuse that results have largely been met with indifference.

If anything positive can come from the Ferguson travesties, it is that the completely out-of-control orgy of domestic police militarization receives long-overdue attention and reining in.


Photo credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

Last night, two reporters, The Washington Post‘s Wesley Lowery and The Huffington Post‘s Ryan Reilly, were arrested and assaulted while working from a McDonald’s in Ferguson. The arrests were arbitrary and abusive, and received substantial attention — only because of their prominent platforms, not, as they both quickly pointed out upon being released, because there was anything unusual about this police behavior.

Reilly, on Facebook, recounted how he was arrested by “a Saint Louis County police officer in full riot gear, who refused to identify himself despite my repeated requests, purposefully banged my head against the window on the way out and sarcastically apologized.” He wrote: ”I’m fine. But if this is the way these officers treat a white reporter working on a laptop who moved a little too slowly for their liking, I can’t imagine how horribly they treat others.” He added: “And if anyone thinks that the militarization of our police force isn’t a huge issue in this country, I’ve got a story to tell you.”

Lowery, who is African-American, tweeted a summary of an interview he gave on MSNBC: “If I didn’t work for the Washington Post and were just another Black man in Ferguson, I’d still be in a cell now.” He added: “I knew I was going to be fine. But the thing is, so many people here in Ferguson don’t have as many Twitter followers as I have and don’t have Jeff Bezos or whoever to call and bail them out of jail.”

The best and most comprehensive account of the dangers of police militarization is the 2013 book by the libertarian Washington Post journalist Radley Balko, entitled “Rise of the Warrior Cops: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.” Balko, who has devoted his career to documenting and battling the worst abuses of the U.S. criminal justice system, traces the history and underlying mentality that has given rise to all of this: the “law-and-order” obsessions that grew out of the social instability of the 1960s, the War on Drugs that has made law enforcement agencies view Americans as an enemy population, the Reagan-era “War on Poverty” (which was more aptly described as a war on America’s poor), the aggressive Clinton-era expansions of domestic policing, all topped off by the massively funded, rights-destroying, post-9/11 security state of the Bush and Obama years. All of this, he documents, has infused America’s police forces with “a creeping battlefield mentality.”

I read Balko’s book prior to publication in order to blurb it, and after I was done, immediately wrote what struck me most about it: “There is no vital trend in American society more overlooked than the militarization of our domestic police forces.” The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim, in the outlet’s official statement about Reilly’s arrest, made the same point: “Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time.”

In June, the ACLU published a crucial 96-page report on this problem, entitled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.” Its central point: “the United States today has become excessively militarized, mainly through federal programs that create incentives for state and local police to use unnecessarily aggressive weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield.”



The report documents how the Drug War and (Clinton/Biden) 1990s crime bills laid the groundwork for police militarization, but the virtually unlimited flow of “homeland security” money after 9/11 all but forced police departments to purchase battlefield equipment and other military paraphernalia whether they wanted them or not. Unsurprisingly, like the War on Drugs and police abuse generally, “the use of paramilitary weapons and tactics primarily impacted people of color.”

Some police departments eagerly militarize, but many recognize the dangers. Salt Lake City police chief Chris Burbank is quoted in the ACLU report: “We’re not the military. Nor should we look like an invading force coming in.” A 2011 Los Angeles Times article, noting that “federal and state governments are spending about $75 billion a year on domestic security,” described how local police departments receive so much homeland security money from the U.S. government that they end up forced to buy battlefield equipment they know they do not need: from armored vehicles to Zodiac boats with side-scan sonar.

The trend long pre-dates 9/11, as this 1997 Christian Science Monitor article by Jonathan Landay about growing police militarization and its resulting abuses (“Police Tap High-Tech Tools of Military to Fight Crime”) makes clear. Landay, in that 17-year-old article, described “an infrared scanner mounted on [a police officer's] car [that] is the same one used by US troops to hunt Iraqi forces in the Gulf war,” and wrote: “it is symbolic of an increasing use by police of some of the advanced technologies that make the US military the world’s mightiest.”

But the security-über-alles fixation of the 9/11 era is now the driving force. A June article in the New York Times by Matt Apuzzo (“War Gear Flows to Police Departments”) reported that “during the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” He added: “The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units.”

All of this has become such big business, and is grounded in such politically entrenched bureaucratic power, that it is difficult to imagine how it can be uprooted. As the LA Times explained:

An entire industry has sprung up to sell an array of products, including high-tech motion sensors and fully outfitted emergency operations trailers. The market is expected to grow to $31 billion by 2014.

Like the military-industrial complex that became a permanent and powerful part of the American landscape during the Cold War, the vast network of Homeland Security spyware, concrete barricades and high-tech identity screening is here to stay. The Department of Homeland Security, a collection of agencies ranging from border control to airport security sewn quickly together after Sept. 11, is the third-largest Cabinet department and — with almost no lawmaker willing to render the U.S. less prepared for a terrorist attack — one of those least to fall victim to budget cuts.
The dangers of domestic militarization are both numerous and manifest. To begin with, as the nation is seeing in Ferguson, it degrades the mentality of police forces in virtually every negative way and subjects their targeted communities to rampant brutality and unaccountable abuse. The ACLU report summarized: “excessive militarism in policing, particularly through the use of paramilitary policing teams, escalates the risk of violence, threatens individual liberties, and unfairly impacts people of color.”

Police militarization also poses grave and direct dangers to basic political liberties, including rights of free speech, press and assembly. The first time I wrote about this issue was back in 2008 when I covered the protests outside the GOP national convention in St. Paul for Salon, and was truly amazed by the war-zone atmosphere deliberately created by the police:

St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be, even more so than Manhattan in the week of 9/11 — with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured.

The same thing happened during the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011: the police response was so excessive, and so clearly modeled after battlefield tactics, that there was no doubt that deterring domestic dissent is one of the primary aims of police militarization. About that police response, I wrote at the time:

Law enforcement officials and policy-makers in America know full well that serious protests — and more — are inevitable given the economic tumult and suffering the U.S. has seen over the last three years (and will continue to see for the foreseeable future). . . .

The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albright said when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which is increasingly directed inward.

Most of this militarization has been justified by invoking Scary Foreign Threats — primarily the Terrorist — but its prime purpose is domestic.

Police militarization is increasingly aimed at stifling journalism as well. Like the arrests of Lowery and Reilly last night, Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman and two of her colleagues were arrested while covering the 2008 St. Paul protests. As Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation (on whose board I sit) explained yesterday, militarization tactics “don’t just affect protesters, but also affect those who cover the protest. It creates an environment where police think they can disregard the law and tell reporters to stop filming, despite their legal right to do so, or fire tear gas directly at them to prevent them from doing their job. And if the rights of journalists are being trampled on, you can almost guarantee it’s even worse for those who don’t have such a platform to protect themselves.”



Ultimately, police militarization is part of a broader and truly dangerous trend: the importation of War on Terror tactics from foreign war zones onto American soil. American surveillance drones went from Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia into American cities, and it’s impossible to imagine that they won’t be followed by weaponized ones. The inhumane and oppressive conditions that prevailed at Guantanamo are matched, or exceeded, by the super-max hellholes and “Communications Management Units” now in the American prison system. And the “collect-it-all” mentality that drives NSA domestic surveillance was pioneered by Gen. Keith Alexander in Baghdad and by other generals in Afghanistan, aimed at enemy war populations.

Indeed, much of the war-like weaponry now seen in Ferguson comes from American laws, such as the so-called “Program 1033,” specifically designed to re-direct excessive Pentagon property – no longer needed as foreign wars wind down – into American cities. As the Missouri Department of Public Safety proudly explains on its website, “the 1033 Program provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety.”

One government newsletter - from “the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), a little known federal agency that equips police departments with surplus military gear” – boasted that “Fiscal Year 2011 was a record year in property transfers from the US military’s stockpiles to police departments around the nation.” The ACLU report notes: “the Department of Defense operates the 1033 Program through the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), whose motto is ‘from warfighter to crimefighter.’” The Justice Department has an entire program devoted to “supporting military veterans and the law enforcement agencies that hire them as our veterans seek to transition into careers as law enforcement officers.”

As part of America’s posture of Endless War, Americans have been trained to believe that everything is justified on the “battlefield” (now defined to mean “the whole world”): imprisonment without charges, kidnapping, torture, even assassination of U.S. citizens without trials. It is not hard to predict the results of importing this battlefield mentality onto American soil, aimed at American citizens: “From Warfighter to Crimefighter.” The results have been clear for those who have looked – or those who have been subject to this – for years. The events in Ferguson are, finally, forcing all Americans to watch the outcome of this process.
 
http://gawker.com/dont-call-the-police-militarized-the-military-is-bet-1621523647

Don't Call the Police "Militarized." The Military Is Better Than This.

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As last night's institutional violence unfolded in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, an old trope came back to life: America's police have been militarized. Like most tropes, it holds a grain of truth, but it's off-base in one critical respect: The U.S. armed forces exercise more discipline and compassion than these cops.


Multiple law enforcement agencies have flooded Ferguson with SWAT teams and emergency services units. Armored vehicles with small-arms mounts are ubiquitous, as are rubber and wooden bullets. Tear gas and smoke canisters have been popped in quantities that would evoke jealousy in a Marine colonel girding his unit for practice maneuvers on a North Carolina beach. There are enough AR-15s in the St. Louis suburbs this week to arm a Contra army.


Some of the police vehicles in Ferguson even carry LRADs—multidirectional transmitters meant to debilitate a target with a blast of sound. As a lowly midshipman on summer training, I saw them being tested at Marine Corps Base Quantico, along with other experimental field gadgets. I never imagined I'd see them on a street in the United States. I am not alone:

@PaulSzoldra LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), the last place I saw one of those was at the Iraqi detention facility.

— James Skylar Gerrond (@JimmySky) August 14, 2014

Police are clad not merely in traditional riot gear, but in more tactical gadgetry and armor than an invading infantry captain:

The gentleman on the left has more personal body armor and weaponry than I did while invading Iraq. pic.twitter.com/5u6TxyIbkk

— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) August 14, 2014

So there's a fair basis for the trope. Radley Balko—a Washington Post reporter with whom I have serious disagreements on many other issues—recently wrote a gripping and definitive book on cops playing army, and Glenn Greenwald's analysis today is especially poignant.

How, then can anyone say that the police in St. Louis County, and all over America, are not militarized? Because the cops aren't acting like soldiers. They're acting like extras in a Michael Bay movie playing soldiers.

Despite their expensive costuming, the police in Ferguson are putting on an unsophisticated, unscripted performance, a copy without an original. If these cops were to take a page out of the Army's book on crowd control, it would be an improvement. But they seem to be making up tactics to go with the gear they've acquired.

It goes without saying that the American military is not benign or without defect. Its primary job—and the orientation of its training and equipping—is to defeat violent threats with superior firepower and maneuver. It an inherently violent mission. The military is an inherently violent institution.

But U.S. military development of nonlethal weaponry and crowd-control tactics has happened haltingly over the last half-century, and new doctrine has come with it. Here are several salient passages that literally come from the first page of the Army's field manual on civil disturbances:

During unified action, U.S. forces should never violate basic civil or human rights. Most protesters are law-abiding citizens who intend to keep their protests nonviolent, but some protest planners insist that the event involve violence. Often in the media, protesters can gain sympathy for their cause by prompting authorities to take physical action against them...

Inciting a crowd to violence or a greater intensity of violence by using severe enforcement tactics must be avoided...

Community unrest results in urban conflicts that arise from highly emotional social and economic issues. Economically deprived residents may feel that they are treated unjustly or ignored by people in power and authority. Tensions can build quickly in a community over a variety of issues, such as hunger, poor employment opportunities, inadequate community services, poor housing, and labor issues. Tensions in these areas create the potential for violence. When tensions are high, it takes a small (seemingly minor) incident, rumor, or perceived act of injustice to ignite groups within a crowd to riot and act violently. This is particularly true if community relations with authorities are strained.

Lest you think nobody really goes by that book, check out this collection of tweets from military veterans reflecting on the events in Ferguson. At least these vets understand, from their training and experience, that crowd control is not for winning hearts and minds—it's for acknowledging you've lost them. That it's not enough to just show restraint—you must also show that you're showing restraint. That even if you care about nothing else, you should care about optics.

For all that, the military still has plenty of ethical disasters, its My Lais and Hadithas. But it also has clearer lines of accountability in place for when such things happen. Who's responsible for each granular part of an operation, who's in command, what the overall objective is, where complaints go, even who pays when soldiers fuck up: All of these aspects are considered and concisely drawn for each arm of the organization.

Above all, the military has learned that even its best planning and organization can't win a war for hearts and minds. Iraq and Afghanistan have proven that.

But imagine if the military didn't even try to perform these tasks well. Imagine if there was no clear command and control. If a force's response to the involvement of one of its own in the shooting death of a civilian was to say nothing and to lock down on the entire community. If members of that force didn't feel the need to identify themselves to the populace they aim to govern. If they mocked the populace and arrested civilians without charges as a mere matter of course, with no fear of punishment from their superiors. You begin to get a picture of how badly the police in Missouri are failing.

It's not that the police could simply do better with all this military gear if they were given more training on it or had improved protocols. Practically and ethically, the police just don't need this equipment. It is not conducive to protecting and serving a civilian population that enjoys freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

In the military, these weapons and vehicles exist on the lower end of a spectrum of force. Getting hit by an LRAD or being water-hosed is preferable to seeing the business end of a .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun or an M203 grenade launcher. But in police departments, this gear is on the upper end of the force spectrum. It's a far, far cry from community policing.

So how did we get here? It's partly due to the easy availability of surplus armed forces gear. We have a plump security industrial complex and a demobilizing military. Politicians have tight asses and loose budgets post-9/11. Law enforcement leaders want "cool tools," and they want to use them.

But none of those material factors actually account for cops' proven willingness to use this gear on American citizens. That comes only with a citadel mentality, what I call Fortress America: a belief that "we" are under siege from "them." It comes from a society that establishes poverty and privation as a matter of course for some citizens, then criminalizes those citizens, then dehumanizes the criminal class. Only after we have constructed someone as an internal enemy does it then make sense to target him thus:

nononononononononono RT @mdotbrown: Goodnight. RT @Sixfever: Just wow pic.twitter.com/mznFVqXePd

— Lana Berry (@Lana) August 14, 2014

And to justify the spectacle as law and order.

STL County Police Chief Belmar: "We've done everything we can to demonstrate a remarkable amount of restraint." pic.twitter.com/97AcVPPZGK

— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014

So no, it's not fair to the military to say America's constabulary has been militarized. But there's no question a lot of Americans—cops and civilians—are digging deep foxholes. Until we tackle that mentality, and take away the toys that enhance it, "cops and robbers" will continue to look like Full Metal Jacket.​
 
There is a lot of truth in those articles. I think there are two long-term and interrelated causes of this. The first is the rise of the SWAT culture in the aftermath of the civil disorders of the late '60s and the early '70s. The other is widespread recruitment and deployment of women for "line" police duties, with the concomitant lowering or abolition of previous size and strength requirements. In so doing, a lot of police became "armed social workers," as I have heard them called. When anything threatening appeared imminent, their response was to call in the SWAT. This is in contrast to the old "one riot, one Ranger" style of police work that was still extant when I was growing up.

Many people like to characterize the cops as "heroes" simply by virtue of being cops. Some indeed are. Many, however, are not. Contemporary police are more like hyenas--they have to run in packs! I see little heroism in large numbers of armored, heavily armed, presumably well trained men going up against one or two adversaries, the latter being in all probability more poorly armed and much less skillful.

On reflection, perhaps I am giving the police too much credit for skill. In a number of shootings recently that I am aware of, the cops have acted like cowardly, trigger-happy incompetents. The fusillades unleashed at unoffending vehicles during the hunt for Chris Dorner are good examples of this.
 
I agree with the premise. I just fail to see how that connects into the police becoming a defacto military force?

Because you can't be a defacto military force unless you have defacto military equipment. They can't have that equipment unless they have the money to pay for it. They can't afford that insanely expensive stuff, so they have resorted to property seizure. If they just looked like a bunch of cops in sticks and blue helmets with $30 riot shields, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
 
I've been relying on "paranoid" "conspiracy theorists" for the bulk of my news this millennium, so none of this is news to me and I'm glad to see that these articles got it right.
There is a deliberate move to get law enforcement (and the military, but that's off-topic) comfortable with the idea of treating citizens as the enemy. And this is all about control and suppression of constitutional rights, NOT protection, security, drugs, terror, yadda yadda. It is to squash opposition to authority.
 
I've been relying on "paranoid" "conspiracy theorists" for the bulk of my news this millennium, so none of this is news to me and I'm glad to see that these articles got it right.
There is a deliberate move to get law enforcement (and the military, but that's off-topic) comfortable with the idea of treating citizens as the enemy. And this is all about control and suppression of constitutional rights, NOT protection, security, drugs, terror, yadda yadda. It is to squash opposition to authority.


To a degree, yes. But its more nuanced. To make this work, you need a population of people willing to behave like paratroopers, and we've achieved that thru cartoons like GI Joe, movies like Predator (awesome), and recruitment videos like Top Gun. Beyond that, the infiltration of the military industrial complex in our lives has reached normalcy, and a group of smart white men sat in a room and decided how they could sell more military equipment... easy... sell it to local governments. Arming America to the teeth is a national passtime. Now, I know there are plenty of don't tread on me over my cold dead hand gun types out there, and for the most part they're about personal responsibility and personal stockpile, but this is the knock on effect of that culture. When you make something easy, a vacuum is formed and Barney Fife's 6 shooter just isn't going to do it anymore when you see Arab's with rocket launchers on the news every night and kids murdering kids with 100 bullet clips lead out of terrifying looking rifles.
 
Some videos, which may or may not have been linked to previously


I saw some claims that the nice policemen were helping Al Jazeera move to a safer place and were thanked afterward. I don't buy it. Why do they knock the lights down and, more tellingly, point the camera downward?
 
BTW, I keep thinking of the shitty Hanks/Akroyd flick Dragnet from the mid 80's. I recall that at the end, Hanks starts piloting some dinky armored personnel carrier to deal with something and it is for comedic effect. The idea that even a large urban police force would have one armored vehicle with a mounted weapon was laughable.
 
This shift towards militarization is interesting especially given that previous to this, police forces had tried to culture a softer and gentler persona. The move to white squad cars from ominous dark ones. Downplaying the "Police" moniker for community service and the notion of being social workers as Jan Libourel Jan Libourel referred to earlier. Clearly that failed. Failed because society has changed. Failed because of who self selects to join police forces. Trust and respect was lost over time. Firepower increased because criminals had more firepower. Changed because of the involvement of new gangs: Jamaicans, Columbians, Mexicans who changed the playing field given their disregard for not killing cops or collaterally destroying civilians.

But now this military-level armament is being deployed on an ever-increasing daily basis. You don't call SWAT, you just pull out the body armor and weapons from your trunk.

I wonder how much of this is some fucked up training exercise? If you have the arsenal, you have to use it.

What function does MarPat or woodland camouflage have in an urban environment? It can't just be military surplus. It has to be for intimidation.

Poorly trained, trigger happy, over-armed, self-important civil servants turned into paramilitary forces by legislation enacted in response to terrorism but employed on the home front by people who - after watching hours of soldiers and private security contractors blasting people indiscriminately half a world away just want to "get some" too
 
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Radley Balko's book is chock full of errors, misstatements, and outright fabrications. Which is a shame, because I think his point is very, very valid. It would be nice to see a book addressing this and the skyrocketing number of mundane activities that can now be classified as criminal.

I think as we've shied away from enforcing cultural norms for fear of offending someone, we've fallen back on an ever-increasingly regulatory web to get others to enforce those norms for us. A child is seen walking alone in the street. The Horror! Don't go up and talk to the child and try to see if he's alright. (Or God forbid, leave him alone and let him enjoy the outdoors and learn independent thinking). No, call the cops, so they can detain the child and then arrest the parent for child endangerment. It's fucking sad and scary.

And the resistance to it is also a clusterfuck. About 1/3 of the movement is genuine, the rest is just people searching for tu quoque attacks against the political parties in charge or latching on to the cause of the week to try to earn social status. I post on a very liberal message board and I "joke" that I can't wait for Obama to leave office so those jackasses will go back to giving a shit about federal overreach.
 
And the resistance to it is also a clusterfuck. About 1/3 of the movement is genuine, the rest is just people searching for tu quoque attacks against the political parties in charge or latching on to the cause of the week to try to earn social status.

Agree, and especially this.

We're trapped in politicization of everything. Worst part is this fallacy of 'tough on crime', where its a political convenience to over-sentence to win points from the public.

The knock on effect is sending people who would normally be fairly good citizens into a cesspool where they are criminalized, and then given a record that more or less destroys their ability to improve their quality of citizenship. The cycle then deepens when they can't get jobs, and turn to "guy I knew inside" for introduction to career criminality.

People living inside this cycle understand its desperation. And they loot. And then the end justification for armored cars painted black becomes a victim of the means.

A family friend said something poignant a few years ago, "great country, lots of food". It's a very sad and subtle statement about what America is.
 
Timely:

An elderly woman's home was raided by police after she was suspected of making anonymous online threats against the Evansville police department and Chief Billy Bolin.

The FBI later arrested Derrick Murray, a suspected local gang leader who lived nearby in his mother’s house and was using his smartphone to access the Milan's unsecured wireless network.


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I saw some claims that the nice policemen were helping Al Jazeera move to a safer place and were thanked afterward. I don't buy it.
Yup, the victims are pretty adamant that cops came in with blinding lights and a spray of rubber bullets. Terrorizing, not doing good deeds.

An elderly woman's home was raided by police after she was suspected of making anonymous online threats against the Evansville police department and Chief Billy Bolin.
Wait, an entire SWAT team is deployed to address crank phone calls? When you threaten the President of the United States, I've heard, they send out a pair of suit-clad g-men to look into the matter. WTF?
 
Michael Brown committed armed robbery right before he was shot and killed? Next you'll tell me Trayvon Martin wasn't 12 years old.
 
More police lies. Works every time. Just a little bit of public deflection so whites don't pile on.
 
I mean that the stories about looking for a robber are lies.

Anonymous published the police tapes... they weren't looking for shit.

At 37:34 of the link you posted they seem to reference that they were. Dispatcher asks if they are still looking for suspect or if the suspect was the one involved in the shooting. Wording is pretty vague though, so it could mean someone else.
 
At 37:34 of the link you posted they seem to reference that they were. Dispatcher asks if they are still looking for suspect or if the suspect was the one involved in the shooting. Wording is pretty vague though, so it could mean someone else.

But the fact that Brown wasn't arrested for that robbery, but for something, AND they never arrested his accomplice, lends credence to your version.

But it does dispute the usual media narrative of a good, fun-loving kid brutally shot down by a white cop. Right now, it's the word of a cop with no disciplinary actions against him in six years against the word of a kid (Johnson) who helped rob a guy half his size.

But none of this justifies APCs on our streets, of course.
 
At 37:34 of the link you posted they seem to reference that they were. Dispatcher asks if they are still looking for suspect or if the suspect was the one involved in the shooting. Wording is pretty vague though, so it could mean someone else.

Precisely, if this were some "manhunt" then wouldn't there be specific, verbose chatter about it?

And regardless, looking for some convenience store thief doesn't justify this event. It's a red herring. We are talking about a kid here, and basically every black kid with a hoodie, or t-shirt, or Air Jordans is suddenly to be treated like a criminal within this "looking for a suspect" mindset.
 
Precisely, if this were some "manhunt" then wouldn't there be specific, verbose chatter about it?

Did you even listen to the recordings? They aren't specific or verbose about anything. The word "riot" is used once.

And regardless, looking for some convenience store thief doesn't justify this event. It's a red herring. We are talking about a kid here, and basically every black kid with a hoodie, or t-shirt, or Air Jordans is suddenly to be treated like a criminal within this "looking for a suspect" mindset.

An 18 year old kid that beat up a 5 foot tall convenience store clerk in broad daylight to get some Swisher Sweets should be treated like a criminal.
 
But it does dispute the usual media narrative of a good, fun-loving kid brutally shot down by a white cop.
For this reason, I'm quite happy that this is being referred to as Ferguson and not the Michael Brown protests. There seems to be less misrepresentation of a minor thug as a saintly little lamb this time...so far.
We are talking about a kid here, and basically every black kid with a hoodie, or t-shirt, or Air Jordans is suddenly to be treated like a criminal within this "looking for a suspect" mindset.
Well, really, would it kill them to wear an OCBD and Keds? It might save their lives!
 
There's a lot of bullshit demonization coming out today claiming Brown was a robbery suspect.
 
In fairness, the body had that full ass of underwear showing, so you know strongly suspect that he was a menace...
 
In fairness, the body had that full ass of underwear showing, so you know strongly suspect that he was a menace...
How is that fair? Lets say, just as a lark since we all know its bullshit, that it is true. So I steal a pack of cigarettes and you shoot me to death? This is appropriate? Acceptable? Justified???
 
I am more likely to suspect someone of being criminal if they wear clothing associated with criminals (actually prisoners, if my understanding is correct).
The cops do the same. They should. Of course even murder suspects have rights and that is the issue here. Overstating the conditions is unnecessary...well, actually the populace responds better to untrue emotional appeals than to rational constitutional and civil liberty arguments so I see why it is done.
 
Did you even listen to the recordings? They aren't specific or verbose about anything. The word "riot" is used once.



An 18 year old kid that beat up a 5 foot tall convenience store clerk in broad daylight to get some Swisher Sweets should be treated like a criminal.

Exactly. There was no clarity about this "manhunt", "is there is a suspect still at large", they even heard about the shooting thru the news and discussed it on the radio. From what I gather, the cop didn't even call it in. That comment on that tape may not have anything at all to do with this situation.

I didn't listen to the whole thing, its too long. From what I have heard, it seems like typical police chatter. At 44 min, they start talking riots and "Canfield" which I believe is the street it happened on. My guess is a crowd was gathering after the shooting.

Yeah, *the* 18 year old kid that beat up that clerk *is* a criminal. A kid you stop on the street that might look like a suspect is not. Big difference.
 
It doesn't really matter if he'd just finished killing some kittens and pushing an old lady into traffic. If you're not an immediate threat, there is no need for discharging a weapon.
And I've fired a police issue .45. That trigger pull is amazingly stiff. There is no accidental firing.
 
^ guess which story will win?

I frankly don't give a shit if he was a hoodlum or not, demonizing the kid is just a game played by media outlets, police and politicians to distract from the wider issue of police brutality and para-militarization.
 

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