Published on May 22, 2015
” Zo applauds President Obama’s efforts to stop providing military surplus equipment to local law enforcement. Hear why all conservatives should cheer these efforts as an example of federalism.”
Published on May 22, 2015
” Zo applauds President Obama’s efforts to stop providing military surplus equipment to local law enforcement. Hear why all conservatives should cheer these efforts as an example of federalism.”
” If you had to guess which states had the most per-capita police involved deaths, would you include states like California, Texas, or New York? Or maybe Florida, Missouri, or Washington? Strange as it may seem, although these states do have many police involved deaths, they do not fall within the five deadliest.
California has a population of approximately 38,802,500. In 2014 there were around 106 killings, which calculates to about 2.73 police related deaths per million residents (PRDPMR). Texas had a population of about 26,956,958, and 53 killings, calculates to about 1.97 PRDPMR. With a population of about 19,746,227 and 19 killings, New York’s rate of deaths from police officers is only 0.96 PRDPMR. Florida’s rate is 2.01 PRDPMR, Missouri’s is 2.14 PRDPMR, and Washington’s is 2.55 PRDPMR.”
Get the specifics at CopBlock.com
” Six things you can do to reduce the slaughter:
- Write letters to your state legislators and city councils demanding that they require police to get trained on de-escalation strategies and less-than-lethal methods, and that police and sheriff’s departments enact stricter rules for using lethal force.
- Vote out prosecutors that refuse to charge officers who needlessly take life.
- Write your local police chiefs and sheriffs demanding that they hold their officers and deputies to higher standards when it comes to the use of force. Let them know that you will hold them accountable for any loss of life that results from the excessive use of force from members of their agency.
- Always keep a video recording device with you, record every police encounter you see.
- Email the link to this article to all of your friends.
- Visit VictimsofPolice.com and look up the police related deaths that have recently occurred in your state. “
” It is hard to imagine that this surreal story does not originate in a nation run by a violent warlord (or maybe it does), but it actually comes from Florida, where Lucas Jewell, a resident of Gainesville noticed local members of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department were riding through town in a tank-like armored vehicle that appears to be a Lanco BearCat, an armored personnel carrier intended for military use.
As Mr. Jewell believes that this is a gross abuse of taxpayers’ dollars and is opposed to the militarization of police, he found this display of military hardware on public roads offensive and showed the individuals in riding in the tank his middle finger and proceeded to continue on his journey.
The deputies from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department had other plans; they followed Mr. Jewell closely for several blocks and then decided it to pull him over in an attempt to punish and intimidate him.
What appears to be paramilitary group of individuals exited the armored vehicle and immediately proceeded to assault Mr. Jewell, accuse him that he was receiving oral sex from his girlfriend and his middle finger gesture constituted an “improper hand signal” in violation of Florida traffic law. The suggestion that a middle finger raised in the air was intended to be a traffic hand gesture is ludicrous, but it did not stop these cops from attempting to bully Jewell into submission.”
Read the rest at TruthVoice
Published on Mar 6, 2015
” ANONYMOUS WOULD LIKE TO DEDICATED THIS VIDEO TO EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY POLICE BRUTALITY AND LET THIS VIDEO SERVE AS A WARNING TO THOSE CROOKED COPS WHO FEEL ITS THEIR JOBS TO INFLICT PHYSICAL HARM OR DEATH ON THEIR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS… WE WILL BE WATCHING…
FURTHER MORE, YOUR ACTIONS ARE BEING RECORDED AND WILL SERVE AS AN ADMISSION OF GUILT AS ANONYMOUS WILL DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO SEE THAT YOUR PAST ACTIONS OF VIOLENCE DO NOT GO UNPUNISHED…”
WE ARE ANONYMOUS…
WA ARE LEGION…
WE DO NOT FORGIVE…
WE DO NOT FORGET…
Apologies for the caps , but the post came that way and there was too much text for us to redo … the message remains regardless of the SHOUTING …
” A bill introduced in Montana, HB 330, which would attempt to reign in the growing militarization of law enforcement is making its way through the House.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, would put limit on the type of military equipment that could be transferred to state and local police under the federal 1033 program. In addition, the bill will audit the current inventory and require a strict regiment of oversight.
Local and state police agencies would be barred from receiving long-range acoustic devices (LRAD), grenade launchers, explosives (including grenades and flash-bangs), silencers, tanks, and armored or weaponized drones.
Beginning in the 80’s, under the guise of the “War on Drugs,” a war on the American people was undertaken. The federal government began attempting to turn local police forces into paramilitary organizations and local cops into quasi-soldiers.
Then with the attacks of 9/11 the government doubled down and began a “War on Terror,” passing new draconian laws that decimated constitutional rights and individual liberty such as the NDAA and Patriot Act.
Using the 1033 program, the feds provided surplus military hardware to local police to fight this war against its own citizens. These actions went unchecked and very little government or public oversight existed.”
” Following a drug tip, nearly 20 cops stormed a small apartment outside Atlanta in 2010. Invading officers found only a little weed, but managed to seriously injure resident Treneshia Dukes with a flashbang grenade—a police device that’s drawing increasing attention and controversy, Pro Publica reports. Cops often toss the flash-and-bang devices to disorient suspects during drug raids, but critics note that the grenades’ flash is more hot than lava.At least 50 Americans, including children and cops, have been killed, maimed, or injured by flashbangs that landed near them or went off too soon. Even Bill Nixon, an Arkansas man who used to make flashbangs for police (before an officer lost a hand demonstrating one to Boy Scouts) doesn’t get why cops use them regularly. “It boggles my mind,” he says.”
” Police in Little Rock, Ark., used them on 84% of raids from 2011 to 2013, although the raids usually just turned up minor drug paraphernalia. But a police rep defends flashbang use, saying that “what we see is a large service of warrants without gunfire.” Still, horror stories include a 19-month-old Georgia baby who suffered severe facial injuries during a drug raid when a flashbang landed in her crib, WOKV reports. A grand jury didn’t indict the officers involved but suggested two ideas that are going around: better police training (there are no national flashbang training standards) and fewer “no-knock” warrants that permit police raids. Meanwhile, Dukes—who suffered second-degree burns over her body—has filed a civil suit alleging excessive police force. “My skin is ugly, and I feel like I’m ugly,” she says. “When I talk about it, I just get angry.” “
Thanks to Newser
” The federal government shipped nearly 4,000 more assault rifles to local law enforcement agencies in the three months following the Ferguson riots, marking a huge surge in the amount of lethal firearms being doled out to police and sheriff’s offices.
The Ferguson riots drew attention and criticism to the massive firepower state and local police are now able to bring to bear on their citizens, and earned scrutiny for the Pentagon project, known as the 1033 program, that helps arm many of those agencies by making surplus military equipment available to them.
President Obama called for a review of the program, civil rights advocates said the local police had become indistinguishable from the military, and even some police departments questioned their own policies.
But a Washington Times analysis of the first three months after the riots shows the program remains popular with law enforcement agencies throughout the country, though there have been some changes in the types of equipment that are now being offered.
The 3,879 rifles the Pentagon shipped was an astronomical increase over the dozen rifles shipped during the same three-month period in 2013, with several police agencies taking delivery of hundreds of rifles soon after the Ferguson riots.
Armored vehicles, which drew particular scrutiny in the riots in Ferguson and other cities, were less popular in the aftermath. The Pentagon shipped just 11 mine-resistant vehicles, or MRAPs, from Aug. 15 through Nov. 14, compared to nearly 180 in the same time period a year earlier.”
” Tribalism is the default state of humanity: The tendency to defend our own tribe even when we think it’s wrong, and to attack other tribes even when they’re right, just because they’re other. Societies that give in to the temptations of tribalism — which are always present — wind up spending a lot of their energy on internal strife, and are prone to disintegrate into spectacular factionalism and infighting, often to the point of self-destruction.
Societies that temper those tribal tendencies, replacing them with the mechanisms of civil society, do much better. But there is much opportunity for political empire-building in tribalism, and if the benefits of stoking tribal fires exceed the costs for political actors, then expect political actors to pour gasoline on even the smallest spark.
That’s pretty much what’s happened in the last few months, and the results haven’t been good. In America, we have both a police culture that is too quick to escalate force, and an aggressive victim culture, embodied by the loathsome Al Sharpton, that seeks to portray every police use of force, at least against members of the wrong racial and ethnic groups, as excessive.”
Click image and scroll down for an interactive , state by state and county by county accounting of the DoD weapons giveaway
” You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department’s surplus equipment program. You probably have not heard about some of the more obscure beneficiaries of the Pentagon giveaway:
- Police in Johnston, R.I., with a population less than 29,000, acquired two bomb disposal robots, 10 tactical trucks, 35 assault rifles, more than 100 infrared gun sights and two pairs of footwear designed to protect against explosive mines. The Johnson police department has 67 sworn officers.
- The parks division of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources was given 20 M-16 rifles, while the fish and wildlife enforcement division obtained another 20 M-16s, plus eight M-14 rifles and ten .45-caliber automatic pistols.
- Campus police at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, received 12 M-16s to help protect the 8,811 students there (or perhaps to keep them in line).
- The warden service of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received a small aircraft, 96 night vision goggles, 67 gun sights and seven M-14 rifles.
For more than 20 years, the Pentagon program that distributes surplus weapons, aircraft and vehicles to police departments nationwide received little attention or scrutiny. Defense Department officials closely guarded the details of which agencies across the country received which items.
Then, events in Ferguson propelled the 1033 program, as the surplus distribution is called, into the public eye.”
Total Value of Tactical Items Distributed by Department of Defense 1033 Program
Readers should take note of when this program really took off … 2010 . It comes as no surprise that this disastrous policy truly came into it’s own during the current administration .
” Flooded with calls for greater transparency, in late November, the Pentagon quietly released data that details all tactical equipment distributed through the program, and for the first time identified the agencies that received items. The data is a national gift list of high-caliber weapons, armored vehicles, aircraft and similar military equipment, all delivered for the price of shipping and often with little civilian oversight.
The program has doled out $5 billion in equipment since 1990. Most of it was general office and maintenance equipment – shovels, copiers, computers – but the Pentagon largesse included tactical military equipment worth more than $1.4 billion, disseminated in 203,000 transfers to about 7,500 agencies. Even after Ferguson, the program continues to chug along, transferring $28 million in tactical equipment in the past three months.”
Read the entire accounting and be sure to click the interactive link to see exactly what type of military firepower that your local authorities have received from the Feds .
See also , The Marshall Project’s companion piece, A Department Of Defense 2014 Gift Guide :
” Shopping for holiday gifts for your local police department, park ranger or campus security team? How about an “interim fast attack vehicle”? Or a nice grenade launcher? These are just a few of the $5 billion dollars worth of surplus items that the Defense Department has distributed to law enforcement agencies and others in its Excess Property Program, also called the 1033 program. Below is a list of gifts culled from records that the department quietly made public last month. The values are based on what the Pentagon paid when it acquired the equipment. The recipients paid only shipping.”
God save us from our own government …
” Rumain Brisbon, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Phoenix, Arizona, Tuesday night.
In a string of cases involving unarmed black men dying at the hands of officers the last several months, another incident hits news.
According to a report published by USA Today, an officer in Phoenix says he felt threatened by 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon, so he used lethal force. The encounter led to Brisbon getting shot twice and dying from his gunshot wounds at a north Phoenix apartment complex.
A “detailed account” of what resulted in Brisbon’s death was released by the police department. The police department’s account is being argued by some witnesses and community activists, nonetheless. Those people are saying the officer’s force was “excessive” and that Brisbon’s death was “unwarranted.” “
” (TheAntiMedia) A recently published FBI report accidentally proves that while the police claim cops face growing threats from rowdy populations
–like in Ferguson –the opposite is true. The report presents law enforcement deaths in 2013.
The report found that across the entire country, only 76 LEOs were killed in “line-of-duty” incidents. 27 died as a result of “felonious” acts and 49 officers died in accidents
–namely, automobile (ironically, of the 23 killed in car accidents, 14 were not wearing seat belts –a violation for which cops routinely ticket drivers). More officers die from accidents than actual murders on the job. The report also outright admits that intentional murders of cops were down from 2004 and 2009.”
” Further, 49,851 officers were assaulted
–a statistic that seemingly proves police are at risk. 29.2%, or 14,556, were actually injured (an admittedly high number). Still, a suspect fact is that 79.8% of the time, “assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).” This means that in a vast majority of cases, there was no physical evidence that assault occurred (outside of potential bruises and cuts,but this information is not public). Punches and kicks can be damaging, but nowhere near firearms and knives, which constituted a very small percentage of “assaults.” The report also does not specify what constitutes an “injury,” making designations of injury potentially arbitrary and subjective.
This means that the common police tactic of misrepresenting scuffles and charging people with assault could be at work (such as when a cop squeezed the breast of an Occupy protester so hard he left a bruise and in the chaos, she accidentally elbowed a cop. She went to jail for “assaulting” an officer). Of course, it’s a possibility that all 49,851 officers were simply “doing their jobs,” but at the very least it is important to be skeptical.”
” But besides direct contradictions to the logic behind institutional myths of heroic cops and dangerous bad guys, what are the implications of this FBI report?
First, that police are schizophrenic in their belief that they are in danger (this fear is proven in the recent Ferguson protests and presence of the National Guard). The overzealous militarization of local cops is enough to prove that they might as well be hiding under blankies from the American populace in spite of the fact that violent crime has been dropping for decades.”
” However, considering how well cops are armed and how efficiently the justice system protects them from prosecution for their crimes, they prove to be paranoid. 27 police officers in a country with over 300 million people died last year. Law enforcement deaths-by-murder are included in the 49,851 “assaults” against officers, which means that .05 (half a percent) died as a result of alleged attacks. Crime against cops has dropped to a 50 year low. It’s more dangerous to drive a car than be a cop (this is bolstered by the fact that the number of cops who died in car accidents almost equals the total number of cops murdered
–23 to 27).
Second, militarization is working for the police. It is not working for the rest of us. Though there is little reliable, official data about the number of people police kill every year, tenuous reports claim it is around 400. This is already almost 15 times more than police who are intentionally killed. However, the 400 figure is a result of 17,000 local police agencies being allowed to self-report. The numbers could be far higher.
“That count only includes homicides that occurred during the commission of a felony. This total doesn’t include justifiable homicides committed by police officers against people not committing felonies and also doesn’t include homicides found to be not justifiable. But still, this severe undercount far outpaces the number of cops killed by civilians.”
The number of “justifiable” homicides was on the rise in 2008 (to be fair, it was rising among private citizens as well) in spite of the inconvenient fact that overall crime has been declining.”
” Unfortunately, the most important implication of the FBI report is the simple fact that the report exists. When the FBI takes the time to construct a meticulous report (you can read more details here) of all the ways that a tiny percentage of cops were killed
–but cannot be bothered to officially count civilian deaths at the hands of cops, the reality is obvious:
The government places a higher priority on their own than on the lives of those they claim to “serve,” “protect,” and “work for.” It cares more about exonerating the police of their crimes than providing justice to those they abuse. There is no justice when the criminal is the cop. “
” In the weeks after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., images of officers training rifles on crowds of protesters from the turrets of armored vehicles became a potent symbol of the distrust between law enforcement and citizens in Ferguson — and elsewhere.
Now, civil rights and civil liberties advocates are calling on the Obama administration to respond to the events in Ferguson by discouraging police from relying so heavily on military equipment and tactics.
Several federal programs are helping local law enforcement to acquire heavy weapons, either by making funds available or by providing the equipment directly. One program at the Pentagon transferred surplus military equipment worth nearly half a billion dollars to local police last year. Grants provided by the Department of Homeland Security total another $1 billion, and Holder’s department provides hundreds of millions more.
” We do not condition that money on requiring real change in policing,” said Sherrilynn Ifill of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a press conference on Tuesday. “Taxpayer money to local police departments should come with the condition that the police take responsibility for improving.” “
Washington Post has more on the burgeoning American Police State . Read it all .
” One thing you can say about 2014: it’s been a bad year to wear a badge. People around the world are fed up with abusive, militarized police—as a new memo to St. Louis police about a class designed to help officers “win the media” after shooting someone makes perfectly clear.
Public ire spilled over once again yesterday, with the 17th annual “Thank a Police Officer Day” going about as well as the #MyNYPD hashtag campaign did back in April. The observance, conceived and promoted under the banner of lawyer Andrew M. Hale’s Whole Truth Project, is meant to further that group’s aim of combating negative assumptions about cops.
Instead, social media users took the opportunity to reinforce those unflattering stereotypes.
— Cassandra (@CassandraRules) September 20, 2014
#ThankAPoliceOfficerDay Thank you for providing an ongoing example of militarized fascism in the United States
— Colin Dickey (@colindickey) September 20, 2014 “
” A Pentagon program that distributes military surplus gear to local law enforcement allows even departments that the Justice Department has censured for civil rights violations to apply for and get lethal weaponry.
That lack of communication between two Cabinet agencies adds to questions about a program under review in the aftermath of the militarized police response to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Pentagon, which provides the free surplus military equipment, says its consultation with the Justice Department will be looked at as the government reviews how to prevent high-powered weaponry from flowing to the untrustworthy.
The Justice Department has opened civil rights investigations into the practices of some 20 police departments in the past five years, with the Ferguson force the latest. The investigations sometimes end in negotiated settlements known as consent decrees that mandate reforms. Yet being flagged as problematic by Washington does not bar a police department from participating in the program.”
” One arm of the federal government is restricting the departments based on a history of constitutional violations, and the other arm is feeding them heavy weapons. That’s absurd,” he said.”
” Senators on Tuesday criticized federal programs that outfit police departments with military gear, saying they waste funds and sow mistrust between law enforcement and the communities they police.
At a hearing called to examine what critics call police militarization, members of the Senate’s homeland-security committee expressed deep skepticism toward some equipment used by local police departments.
The issue has gained new attention in the wake of the police response to protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by police. The Obama administration is reviewing federal programs that equip local departments.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) singled out a one-man police department in Michigan that she said had received 13 assault weapons. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) criticized the 14,000 bayonets the Pentagon distributed to local law enforcement across the country for reasons he said he couldn’t fathom.
“Giving military-grade weapons to every police force and every officer comes with costs,” Ms. McCaskill said. “Officers dressed in military fatigues will not be viewed as partners in any community.” “
” Haunting images of local police officials using military-issued equipment to quell protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have raised new concerns about the Pentagon’s controversial program to equip local and state police departments with military surplus weaponry.
The program, now under White House review, has been plagued by messy bookkeeping, bureaucratic confusion and scores of missing weapons.”
” Fusion has learned that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon’s “1033 program” for missing weapons or failure to comply with other guidelines. We uncovered a pattern of missing M14 and M16 assault rifles across the country, as well as instances of missing .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and 2 cases of missing Humvee vehicles.
” [The program] is obviously very sloppy, and it’s another reason that Congress needs to revisit this promptly,” said Tim Lynch, director of the CATO Institute’s project on criminal justice. “We don’t know where these weapons are going, whether they are really lost, or whether there is corruption involved.”
More troubling yet is the possibility that some of the missing weapons, which were given to local police departments as part of a decades’ old government program to equip cops for the wars on terrorism and drugs, are actually being sold on the black market, Lynch said.”
Read the whole , in-depth article at Fusion
Published on Aug 17, 2014
” In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, John Oliver explores the racial inequality in treatment by police as well as the increasing militarization of America’s local police forces.”
Click on the pic to go to interactive page and view your county’s arsenal
” State and local police departments obtain some of their military-style equipment through a free Defense Department program created in the early 1990s. While the portion of their gear that comes from the program is relatively small (most of it is paid for by the departments or through federal grants), detailed data from the Pentagon illustrates how ubiquitous such equipment has become. Highlighted counties have received guns, grenade launchers, vehicles, night vision or body armor through the program since 2006.”
” After a decade of sending military equipment to civilian police departments across the country, federal officials are reconsidering the idea in light of the violence in Ferguson, Missouri.
The public has absorbed images of heavily armed police, snipers trained on protesters and tear gas plumes. Against that backdrop, Attorney General Eric Holder said that when police and citizens need to restore calm, “I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said police responses like that in Ferguson have “become the problem instead of the solution.” Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said he will introduce legislation to curb the trend of police militarization.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee will review the program to determine if the Defense Department’s surplus equipment is being used as intended.
One night after the violence that accompanied the presence of military-style equipment in Ferguson, tensions eased when a police captain, unprotected and shaking hands, walked through a crowd in a gesture of reconciliation. The contrast added to the perception that the tanks and tear gas had done more harm than good.
As the country concludes its longest wartime period, the military has turned over thousands of surplus weapons and armored trucks to local police who often trained alongside the military.
A report by the American Civil Liberties Union in June said police agencies had become “excessively militarized,” with officers using training and equipment designed for the battlefield on city streets. The report found the amount of goods transferred through the military surplus program rose in value from $1 million in 1990 to nearly $450 million in 2013.”
Read more at AP
” If Ferguson, Missouri, looks like a war zone, that may be because its police force is armed to the teeth with military equipment. In photographs from this week’s protests, officers can be seen toting assault rifles, wearing gas masks and body armour loaded with extra ammunition magazines, and riding around in mine-resistant armoured personnel carriers.
The militarisation of US police departments has escalated exponentially in the years since 9/11, with many local forces increasingly resembling US troops fighting overseas.
And with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wound down, much of the military’s surplus equipment has been handed to domestic law enforcement agencies.
According to a recent report by the New York Times, since 2006 US police departments have collectively acquired 93,763 machine guns; 432 mine-resistant trucks; more than 500 aircraft; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night vision gear; and hundreds of thousands of ammunition magazines, all supplied via a Department of Defence programme.”
” Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention, Sen. Rand Paul writes for TIME, amid violence in Ferguson, Mo. over the police shooting death of Michael Brown
The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation.
If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.
The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.
The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.
Glenn Reynolds, in Popular Mechanics, recognized the increasing militarization of the police five years ago. In 2009 he wrote:
Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force.
It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians.
The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson observed this week how the rising militarization of law enforcement is currently playing out in Ferguson:
Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”? “
Published on Aug 14, 2014
” The police shooting and killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown has made Ferguson, MO known worldwide as citizens continue defying heavily armed police to protect their rights. Although the details of the initial incident remain murky, the tragedy has thrust the issues of racial disparity, police militarization and media portrayals of minorities into the mainstream’s attention, and no one knows what will happen next. RT’s Manila Chan takes a look at the now historic series of events.”
” As part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report on police militarization, the Massachusetts chapter of the organization sent open records requests to SWAT teams across that state. It received an interesting response.
As it turns out, a number of SWAT teams in the Bay State are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. These LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board, which is usually made up of police chiefs from member police departments. In 2012, for example, the Tewksbury Police Department paid about $4,600 in annual membership dues to the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, or NEMLEC. (See page 36 of linked PDF.) That LEC has about 50 member agencies. In addition to operating a regional SWAT team, the LECs also facilitate technology and information sharing and oversee other specialized units, such as crime scene investigators and computer crime specialists.
Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests. Let’s be clear. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws. The state’s residents aren’t permitted to know how often the SWAT teams are used, what they’re used for, what sort of training they get or who they’re primarily used against.”
This is arrogance of the highest order . For any organizations funded by the taxpayers to claim to be private corporations is beyond the pale .
” From the ACLU of Massachusetts’s report on police militarization in that state:
Approximately 240 of the 351 police departments in Massachusetts belong to an LEC. While set up as “corporations,” LECs are funded by local and federal taxpayer money, are composed exclusively of public police officers and sheriffs, and carry out traditional law enforcement functions through specialized units such as SWAT teams . . .
Due to the weakness of Massachusetts public records law and the culture of secrecy that has infected local police departments and Law Enforcement Councils, procuring empirical records from police departments and regional SWAT teams in Massachusetts about police militarization was universally difficult and, in most instances, impossible . . .
Police departments and regional SWAT teams are public institutions, working with public money, meant to protect and serve the public’s interest. If these institutions do not maintain and make public comprehensive and comprehensible documents pertaining to their operations and tactics, the people cannot judge whether officials are acting appropriately or make needed policy changes when problems arise . . . “
This situation cannot be allowed to stand . ALL public servants MUST be held accountable for their actions or are we to believe that these “mercenary” SWAT units are merely rogue privateers issued Letters of Marque ? If such is the case then they are no more than pirates and as such must be fought with all possible means .
Food for thought: If the SWAT teams are private corporations/private contractors , ala Blackwater , then they do not enjoy the legal immunities offered to employees of the State and thus should be subject to civil lawsuits and thus the discovery process … Let the flood gates open .
” By John W. Whitehead
June 16, 2014
“ A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison
“ Here [in New Mexico], we are moving more toward a national police force. Homeland Security is involved with a lot of little things around town. Somebody in Washington needs to call a timeout.”—Dan Klein, retired Albuquerque Police Department sergeant.
If the United States is a police state, then the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its national police force, with all the brutality, ineptitude and corruption such a role implies. In fact, although the DHS’ governmental bureaucracy may at times appear to be inept and bungling, it is ruthlessly efficient when it comes to building what the Founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.
The third largest federal agency behind the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the DHS—with its 240,000 full-time workers, $61 billion budget and sub-agencies that include the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—has been aptly dubbed a “runaway train.”
In the 12 years since it was established to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.
A better plan would be to abolish the DHS altogether. In making the case for shutting down the de facto national police agency, analyst Charles Kenny offers the following six reasons: one, the agency lacks leadership; two, terrorism is far less of a threat than it is made out to be; three, the FBI has actually stopped more alleged terrorist attacks than DHS; four, the agency wastes exorbitant amounts of money with little to show for it; five, “An overweight DHS gets a free pass to infringe civil liberties without a shred of economic justification”; and six, the agency is just plain bloated.
To Kenny’s list, I will add the following: The menace of a national police force, a.k.a. a standing army, vested with so much power cannot be overstated, nor can its danger be ignored. Indeed, as the following list shows, just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to police agencies in the form of grants.
Militarizing police and SWAT teams. The DHS routinely hands out six-figure grants to enable local municipalities to purchase military-style vehicles, as well as a veritable war chest of weaponry, ranging from tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, assault weapons and combat uniforms. This rise in military equipment purchases funded by the DHS has, according to analysts Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, “paralleled an apparent increase in local SWAT teams.” The end result? An explosive growth in the use of SWAT teams for otherwise routine police matters, an increased tendency on the part of police to shoot first and ask questions later, and an overall mindset within police forces that they are at war—and the citizenry are the enemy combatants.”
Below are a list of other ways in which the State is busy eroding our Constitutional rights , all explored in greater depth at the Rutherford Institute .
” Spying on activists, dissidents and veterans.
Distributing license plate readers.
Contracting to build detention camps.
Tracking cell-phones with Stingray devices.
Carrying out military drills and lockdowns in American cities.
Using the TSA as an advance guard.
Conducting virtual strip searches with full-body scanners.
Carrying out soft target checkpoints.
Directing government workers to spy on Americans.
Conducting widespread spying networks using fusion centers.
Carrying out Constitution-free border control searches.
Funding city-wide surveillance cameras.
Utilizing drones and other spybots.
It’s not difficult to see why the DHS has been described as a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast.” If it is a beast, however, it is a beast that is accelerating our nation’s transformation into a police state through its establishment of a standing army, a.k.a. national police force.
This, too, is nothing new. Historically, as I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the establishment of a national police force has served as a fundamental and final building block for every totalitarian regime that has ever wreaked havoc on humanity, from Hitler’s all-too-real Nazi Germany to George Orwell’s fictional Oceania. Whether fictional or historical, however, the calling cards of these national police agencies remain the same: brutality, inhumanity, corruption, intolerance, rigidity, and bureaucracy—in other words, evil. “
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