Police Militarization increasing in the US
Solano sheriff tank. I drove these before. These will hold numerous people in the back, has a mount up top for anti-tank missiles or machine guns. Particularly the .50 cal M2. It is against the Geneva Convention to use such weapons against the enemy when firing at humans. I suppose it’s ok if we use it against ourselves…
Tampa police tank
What type of country are we that our police need heavy weaponry of mass destruction to police its own citizens? Worse, our country takes away our rights, especially in New York and California, to protect ourselves. The Constitution is written to protect our rights to live free from tyranny both globally and domestically. That we can pick up our own weapons and:
- Protect our country from invasion (especially more important now that our military is depleted and weakened by democrats). The democrats prefer to employ the lazy and unemployable to make the welfare/assistance-like people work for their food. However, they seldom do work which causes government bloat, encourages laziness, they receive medical, benefits, holidays, constant sick time, take many days off a month, etc etc. I can say this from experience as I have worked with the feds, state, and county and for them. Decrease government bloat, increase our military might as we are now laughable if it weren’t for our nukes, and get God back in our country before He turns His face away from us.
- Protect our states
- Protect our cities
- Protect our land
- Protect our people
- Protect our families
- Protect ourselves.
What type of country are we that our law enforcement officers are at such a threat from the public? We should respect authority but we have become increasingly violent towards those in position of authority.
What type of country are we that we embolden the cartel, drug lords, and border crossing specialist to escort undocumented illegal immigrants over our border with automatic weapons and our own land owners cannot protect themselves or their own land?
We give criminals and illegal aliens more firepower and more rights than law abiding citizens. Our own federal agencies are known for giving away and losing track of those same weapons which kill US citizens in the hands of foreign criminals.
Our own federal government in the past needed money to fund their CIA work in other countries. They raised funds by bringing in cocain. It is well documented, even Los Angeles tried to sue in court over this but of course our corrupt government through it out. CIA to those who know better stands for Cocaine In America.
Yes, we need to respect authority but also need to protect ourselves from tyrannical authority. Our cowardly leaders have even allowed the Obama administration break the law. Our military now has the right to walk into your house, on to your property, and hold you without cause…indefinitely. Wake up America, the end is at hand.
Police stand watch as demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, is experiencing its fourth day of violent protests since the killing.
FERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) – A U.S. military program that sends armored cars, camouflage and other battlefield equipment to police departments is under fresh scrutiny as demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, enter their fifth straight night of protests over the death of an unarmed black teenager.
The hundreds of people who have gathered each night since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by an unnamed police officer last Saturday have been met with police clad in body armor and using tear gas, smoke bombs and stun grenades.
On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said it was clear the scenes playing out in the St. Louis suburb “cannot continue.” And while he condemned acts of violence and looting by some protesters, he said it was the role of law enforcement to reduce tensions in the city, rather than exacerbate them.
“At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message,” Holder said.
Ferguson, along with many other U.S. communities, has taken part in the Pentagon’s Excess Property Program, known as 1033, which distributes surplus military equipment to police. The program began in the early 1990s to assist anti-drug efforts and grew after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
A report released in June by the American Civil Liberties Union, titled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” documents the flow of armored robots, military-style rifles and tactical vehicles to local police departments.
The program has proved popular with police forces across the country, with local officials saying it saves them money and offers valuable equipment that helps protect police officers.
Through the program, Arizona’s Maricopa County has amassed a stockpile of 120 assault rifles, five armored vehicles and 10 helicopters, the ACLU report found. The city of North Little Rock, Arkansas, obtained 34 automatic and semiautomatic rifles, two robots designed for Afghanistan and ground troop helmets.
‘GOING INTO BATTLE’
“What we’re seeing in Ferguson is a reflection of the militarization of American policing,” said Kara Dansky, senior counsel with the ACLU’s Center for Justice. “They’re trained to think of what they do as going into battle.”
Asked about the program at a Defense Department news briefing on Thursday, a spokesman said the program had proven useful because it allows U.S. law enforcement to reuse military equipment that would otherwise go to waste.
“That said, it is up to law enforcement agencies to speak to how and what they gain through this system. And I’m not going to inject the Pentagon into this discussion,” Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
The response to Brown’s death was almost immediate, with hundreds of people gathering at the site to condemn the decision by the overwhelmingly white Ferguson Police Department to not release the name of the officer who shot Brown.
In the ensuing days, demonstrators in the majority black town have gathered to hold vigils, often reciting the chant: “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
But the police response has generally been regarded as fierce. Early on Wednesday, a protester was shot and critically wounded after police said he pointed a gun. The next night, two journalists covering the protests were arrested at a McDonald’s – and then quickly released.
President Barack Obama, in an attempt to defuse tensions in Ferguson, called on police to respect peaceful demonstrations.
“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,” Obama said.
“There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protesters or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights,” he said.
Military veterans have taken to social media to marvel, and in some cases express dismay, at the tactical supplies being used in Ferguson.
“I led foot patrols in downtown Baquba, #Iraq in 2005-06 w/less firepower than #Ferguson PD,” tweeted Phillip Carter, the director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security.
Local authorities initially defended the response.
But facing a chorus of criticism, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Thursday said the town had come to resemble a war zone, and he named a black Missouri Highway Patrol captain to oversee security in Ferguson.
Meanwhile in Ferguson, people described the police response to the protests as unnecessary and over the top.
“We can’t even protest peacefully in our own neighborhoods where we pay taxes without being subjected to tear gas and rubber bullets,” said Al Cole, 36, a salesman. “There was no need to treat unarmed protesters that way. None.”
(Reporting by Nick Carey; Additional reporting by Missy Ryan in Washington and Edith Honan in New York; Writing by Edith Honan; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Beech)
Congressman wants to curb military surplus program
WASHINGTON (AP) — Images of police outfitted in paramilitary gear clashing with protesters in suburban St. Louis after the weekend shooting death of unarmed black teenager is giving new impetus to efforts to rein in a Pentagon program that provides free machine guns and other surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., says he plans to introduce legislation when Congress returns in September to curb what he describes as an increasing militarization of police agencies across the country.
“Our Main Streets should be a place for business, families and relaxation, not tanks and M16s,” Johnson said Thursday. “Militarizing America’s Main Streets won’t make us any safer, just more fearful and more reticent.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said he’s concerned that use of military equipment by police in Ferguson, Missouri, is sending a “conflicting message.” Holder said authorities there have accepted the Justice Department’s offer of crowd-control help as it continues to investigate the Saturday shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The response by law enforcement to protests “must seek to reduce tensions, not heighten them,” Holder said.
A spokesman for the Defense Logistics Agency, the government’s combat logistics support agency, said the Ferguson Police Department has been part of the surplus equipment program. It received two tactical vehicles — both Humvees — as well as a generator and a trailer and may have received other equipment, DLA spokesman Joe Yoswa said.
The FBI and Justice Department are conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting. Eyewitnesses have already been interviewed, Holder said.
“We need to demilitarize this situation_this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who was in Ferguson on Thursday.
Johnson said his bill would limit the kinds of military equipment that can be transferred to local law enforcement agencies and require states to certify they can account for all equipment received.
He said he is disturbed by reports that some weapons and other equipment distributed to police agencies have gone missing. He also expressed concern that the trend toward militarizing has moved beyond local police departments and sheriff’s offices, saying Ohio State University recently acquired a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP.
“Apparently, college kids are getting too rowdy,” Johnson said.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blamed the trend on the federal government.
“There should be a difference between a police response and a military response” to street protests, Paul, a possible GOP presidential contender in 2016, wrote in an opinion column in Time magazine.
“Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement,” Paul wrote.
Johnson, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, cites a 24-year-old program that lets local police agencies acquire for free surplus military equipment ranging from blankets and bayonets to tanks. An Associated Press investigation last year found that a large share of the $4.2 billion in surplus military gear distributed by the program since 1990 went to police and sheriff’s departments in rural areas with few officers and little crime.
Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, defended the program as useful because “it allows for the reuse of military equipment that otherwise would be disposed of.”
Asked whether events in Missouri had given the Pentagon reason to reconsider the program, Kirby said, “It is up to law enforcement agencies to speak to how and what they gain through this system.”
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, declined to comment on Johnson’s proposal.
In a statement about the shooting, Boehner said he supports “a full and thorough investigation” of the events surrounding Brown’s death, as well as subsequent actions, including the detention of journalists covering the protests.