- Fully militarized police with a Tank(!) and multiple snipers with assault rifles confronting unarmed civilian protesters.
- Tear gassing and arresting reporters
- Al-Jazera news crew was shot at and tear gassed 
- No fly zone over all of Ferguson
- Street level blockades & teargassing of porches to keep people inside
- No badges, tags or any identifying marks on police
- etc, etc,
This is a disgrace for America and a wake up call for all of us.
IMO the more photogenic white people getting jackbooted in the face, the better. It's good for solidarity.
On the other hand, this points to a (to me, more disturbing) aspect of all this - the adoption of military imagery and styling. Why does an urban police force, even if deals with rioting, need to wear camouflage patterns? Why do their trucks need to be painted green instead of the more traditional blue/white or black?
This is indicative of a police force that sees itself as a military force, and its mission as a military mission.
If they really wanted camouflage they would wear jeans. They just want to play commando and find some "action".
The individual misconduct of these officers should be prosecuted. But these rioting mobs won't stand a chance changing these "bullying" tactics or getting the police to "demilitarize".
In some part, the protective gear actually decreases the need of applying violence against protesters, because the officers don't have to defend themselves as "actively" when trying to control a crowd.
Imagine a black community that largely feels (and by data proven to be) oppressed. Now that community has one of its children murdered by the police. When they want to take a stand they are confronted by a wall of heavily armed police that look like they could be fighting a war in Iraq (but as many have said they're even better armed).
What possible reaction do you envision the black community having? I applaud them for keeping their composure as well as they have. I could not do that.
Peaceful, non-violent resistance might work.
Really. There were peaceful protests that were successful. But there were also many violent ones. Violence can and has changed many things.
I don't like violence, but I like those wrong etaist pacifist statements even less.
Edit: Or are you talking only about this specific situation and this is your opinion? Then nevermind, could very well be true here.
In essence violence justifies counter-violence. The more the angry protesters threaten or attack the police, the less "wrong" the current response looks. Non-violence tries to starve the legitimization of excessive force.
This militarization is not a good idea and should be limited or abandoned. But "riots" are hardly making a point against military gear.
In the near east there is a similar problem. There is so much violence going on from both sides, that people can sympathize with cruelties from both sides.
Colonists had to murder plenty of police and military.
I'll just go ahead and leave this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy's_speech_on_t...
The legacy of people who believed that violence is never justified, never necessary and can be overcome with compassion.
The situation will escalate. The Police are escalating.
If you don't want a violent confrontation, don't send in a paramilitary force.
Especially after decades of feeling oppressed and ignored, to have someone whose job is, ostensibly, to protect the public gun down an innocent child is intolerable, and the history shows that after a short internal investigation, while the officer is on 'paid administrative leave' (which may as well be a paid vacation), he will be found to have done no wrong and will be put back on patrol.
I'd be rioting in the streets too, if this were my kid. Except that if it were a white kid, everyone would be calling for his head, not just the black community in Ferguson.
That all sounds perfectly fine, reasonable.
But why are they kitted out like stormtroopers? South Korea has much, much better organised political protesters/rioters and their Combat Police are much, much better at their job than it looks like the US equivalent are, and all they've got is standard riot police kevlar armour, clear plastic shields and the helmets. Note that they don't look like troops occupying enemy territory either.
I can't see any justification for local police forces having military vehicles, and I think the optics of police in camo are hideous, unless that is actually the message you want to send of course.
I realise that the USA is legitimately exceptional in the number of guns floating around, illegal and legal, and that it is far, far more violent than any other first world country, for whites and blacks but why the shoddy police militarisation? You're not Mexico, there are no gangs as organised and competent as the Mafia who go toe to toe with the police.
And if a paramilitary force is needed, why doesn't each state have 100 full-time SWAT guys (or more, I really have no idea how many New York or California need.) and 400 guys who are cross trained? If you need more than 500 men with machine guns, it's time to call the National Guard.
Many years ago, Congress passed a law that has the DoD sell off vehicles it no longer needs to police for very good prices. The police get those vehicle for around $3000, which is much less than a conventional car would cost.
I would guess that for most departments, the low cost is their justification.
Also: could those who down vote please explain what you find wrong with asking what the police should be doing?
You don't need trained snipers, full body armor and APCs to do that. Not for a town of 21,000. They were sandblasting saltines.
Also, in every picture I've seen of the militarized police they've had badges as well as tags that read 'POLICE'.
It certainly doesn't help to spread fear. Don't let these frustrations fuel and justify the juvenile and irresponsible reaction we've seen from groups like Anonymous.
These are scary times for everyone involved and polarizing the issue is a path that quite clearly and logically leads people away from resolving their conflicts.
Perhaps you're just wanting to see things burn?
That's kind of a super-extreme isn't it? He said first glimpse of tyranny creeping up. I took it as an implication that the wheels may be beginning to turn.
Social unrest has also happened quite a number of times throughout history, but are we not allowed to be shocked in seeing weapons trained at civilians? Snipers? Vehicles of this stature? I mean, this is a town of 21,000 and utilizing this equipment was deemed appropriate?
Fortunately, the death and violence and hate aren't on par with lynch mobs and the like, but are you trying to say we should just brush this off? If you could perhaps elaborate on how the concept of Police Militarization is being polarized and preventing a resolution?
I don't see this particular resolution in the first place. We had the President decry weapons or war and then the Pentagon give 'em out. I don't feel like there is a resolution in place to be prevented.
Anyone feeling the same is as guilty as they are. They just don't happen to be in possession of an armored vehicle and riot gear. If they did they'd probably be out somewhere knocking heads together.
Someone needs to convince the people who elect these Sheriffs that they should put someone in charge who isn't going to buy 50,000 rounds of tear gas.
You know what's really going to end our democracy? Everyone abandoning it because they think it is too hard to go out, interact with people, and maybe start a real dialog about how we're governing ourselves.
Getting angry, pointing fingers, and inventing some sort of "us vs. them" mentality does nothing to prevent things like this from happening.
Tyranny is "super-extreme". We're nowhere near it. Implying that we are is irresponsible and most importantly, is a type of language that is hard to reconcile. The goal is conflict resolution. That doesn't mean that the actions are condoned just that there are plenty of ways to respond to situations like this.
We quite clearly have a lot of remaining issues from our past. Slavery, segregation, civil wars... it's been a fucking shit show. But so has basically everywhere else.
I'd say that events in Ferguson are more a reflection of our traumatic past than evidence of some sort of paranoid future of oppression. The oppression is behind us, fading away. Fear and mutual misunderstanding is what will lead us back to that bullshit.
Sure, but if you look at the situation: a black kid was gunned down in broad daylight by a police officer, shot at point-blank range and then shot repeatedly while he was trying to escape, without any evidence of danger to the officer or even wrongdoing.
Now you have that same police department rolling in military kit, tear-gassing film crews and assaulting journalists.
I think it's pretty legitimate to be pissed off at the police in this case, but I don't think the police have any justification for their actions.
A few police stations would be a good start.
You can clear everybody out first (optional operation).
"""He was denied information about the names and badge numbers of those who arrested him."""
If hiding the badge numbers or other identifying marks distinguishing law enforcement officers from each other isn't already a crime it ought to be. And it ought to be one that disqualifies the officer involved from serving in any position of authority over the public.
There is no excuse by which law enforcement can expect to have both legitimacy and the cloak of anonymity. If there is one thing the last 4000 years of recorded history has taught us; it is that unaccountable power will be abused.
If our civilisation is to have a solid foundation of law; it's law enforcement authorities must be more law-abiding than the average citizen rather than less. As is so glaringly the case in Ferguson tonight.
>some senior officers it had interviewed "did
>not appear to believe this was a disciplinary
One of the scariest subtleties with these situations is how police officers always chant "stop resisting" regardless of whether the person is resisting. It's almost as if they are explicitly trained to repeat that mantra. It's eery.
There's also of course, the conclusions about abuse of power drawn from the Stanford Prison Experiment:
Either way, these cops should not be given such heavy weaponry.
They say "stop resisting" because saying it makes it harder to sue them for excessive use of force. Saying "stop resisting" is, of course, unassailable evidence of resistance.
As with many policing policies, crossing as many things off the cover-your-ass list at time of arrest seems to be very important.
Should there be a need to push 'resisting arrest' at a future date, it's probably better for someone to have said it than not. Even if this is not trained, it falls in line intuitively with policing attitudes towards risk of legal complications. It would be rewarded behavior that gets learned.
It's a terribly morbid version of soccer players taking falls. It's in their interest, as the rules of the game they are playing is written, to do so.
EDIT: And a excerpt from the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop" from last summer: http://www.salon.com/2013/07/07/%E2%80%9Cwhy_did_you_shoot_m...
And Slate has a current piece on the phenomenon specifically in reference to Ferguson: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/201...
But when the reaction of the police to spraying "Fuck the police" on a mailbox is that six of them charge you with rifles aimed at you, that seems like a pretty clear justification of the sentiment.
Police: "Umff flumfff urgffff fruffu hufff froof!"
Youth: "I want to comply with your orders. I am not violent. I am not resisting. I can't hear y..."
Police: "UMFF FLUMFF URGFFFF FRUFFU HUFFF FROOF!!"
> But it is hard to see why Fargo, North Dakota—a city that averages fewer than two murders a year—needs an armoured personnel-carrier with a rotating turret. Keene, a small town in New Hampshire which had three homicides between 1999 and 2012, spent nearly $286,000 on an armoured personnel-carrier known as a BearCat. The local police chief said it would be used to patrol Keene’s “Pumpkin Festival and other dangerous situations”.
> Householders, on hearing the door being smashed down, sometimes reach for their own guns. In 2006 Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old woman in Atlanta, mistook the police for robbers and fired a shot from an old pistol. Police shot her five times, killing her. After the shooting they planted marijuana in her home. It later emerged that they had falsified the information used to obtain their no-knock warrant.
* The Boston marathon bombings were a false flag attack by the US government
* The US government creates (some) tornadoes, and uses them to destroy US cities
You took my son away from me. You know how hard
it was for me to get him to stay in school
and graduate? Do you know how many black men
graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down
to this type of level where they feel like "I don't
got nothing to live for anyway. They're going to
try and take me out anyway."
EDIT: Why the downvotes? Honest question, how much more are people willing to take?
When it starts being white people targeted. Killing an unarmed man, cordoning off the city with millitarized police, and shutting down the press sure sounds like the scenario that 2nd amendment fundamentalists like the Oathkeepers claim they need their AR-15s to deal with, but they're conspicuous by their absence.
You mean like Christopher Dorner?
they had - check the history of Black Panthers.
This situation is going to keep escalating. If you visit Ferguson, you'll see the business-district smashed up but the residential areas nice, calm, well-kept - with families literally everywhere walking around. The community is united and organizing. I can only hope that the period of chaotic rage settles down into something strong, long-lasting, and effective. This would be a true tribute to Michael Brown.
Last - I want to mention that a St. Louis City Alderman/Protestor was also arrested tonight. He remains peaceful as his respected reputation depends on it, so one can only gather that it was to silence his filming.
An account of STL police two years ago:http://antistatestl.noblogs.org/post/2012/03/19/a-personal-a...
And some resistance:
This is how every representative should act – willing to stand with the populace on the right side of history. Imagine if Obama went there incognito, sans entourage, and did the same thing. Instant place in history.
>In a mixed verdict, a federal judge awarded $3 million to the parents of an 18-year-old honor student shot and killed by plainclothes drug enforcement agents, but also determined that the authorities were not negligent in their actions.
U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald said that DEA agents had reason to believe they were in danger, but determined that the agents should not have fired their weapons at Zachary Champommier's car because shooting at a moving vehicle would not have helped their predicament.
Middle to upper class people (many white) rioted when the SF Giants won the World Series . I don't recall any police officers in military gear.
I believe it's because middle or white crowds don't pose any perceived threat even though they're burning cars and otherwise breaking the law. There were arrests, though.
If you're community is poor and black then you're SOL.
"The following 47 pages are in this category, out of 47 total."
edit: and also this, of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Summer#Violence
I just read the Wired article on Snowden on HN this evening, and in it he referred to the process of becoming numb/accepting of something that you get repeatedly shown, regardless of how sad/miserable/bad it is, the frog in the slowly heating pot of water.
I have come to the realization that the country (USA) I was taught about in school that was so great and cherished its Constitution and Bill of Rights is mostly just a fantasy, a hopeful work in progress that does not seem to be making much progress, and the best thing I can do is teach the people around me what I think is right/ethical and keep working to make my small section of the world a better place.
There is a better and better chance that more shit is going to hit the fan financially (http://vimeo.com/user20236372/review/101487179/54bf993e5d), wars seem to now be a constant state of human social equilibrium, and rather than give in to depression, I will teach those around me how to care for what we have, and maybe survive any larger disaster that doesn't just wipe my area off a map.
Sad, but about the only positive thing I can currently think of doing.
I don't believe the issue you are seeing with regards to the militarization of police stems to anything so terribly insidious. Instead, I think it is just another sign of corruption in politics & business as usual.
There is a terrible amount of money being tagged for "Homeland Security". Police departments are _still_ strapped for cash, but are given the option of buying expensive toys with funds that can only be used to buy these toys from the companies of successful lobbyists. In other words, "sorry, no money to hire more officers this year. however, we can give you a grant for $20,000 to spend on an armored carrier - but nothing else"
The money won't go away, because if a congressman _does_ stand up to this sort of abuse, they just give a big donation to his opponent to runs TV ads saying he's "soft on terrorism"
So what's a police chief to say? it's free
After that, we enter the simple world of psychology - it's a well-known fact that when you give people pads and helmets, they will act in a riskier and more aggressive manner. If you give them a mask, they will become more belligerent. Toss in an "us vs. them" situation, stand by your team, etc.
So, these men are simply doing what psychiatrists say we would all do, if you strapped us into a Robocop getup and told us to go protect the city.
That said - the Chief of Police should be experienced and responsible enough to judge the situation and tell his officers "No riot gear". This is their normal riot gear, but someone should have used some common sense to tell them to leave it at the station. That is the fault at the local level.
The US has such poor police training that this problem will not go away. There are also way to many people in the force that are mentally not fit for the job.
Sadly the the Police appears to reflect the conscience of the country. Where force rules over diplomacy. Shoot first ask questions later and revenge over forgiveness.
Anonymous has claimed that they will be releasing the name of the cop who shot Mike Brown if they recover it: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/13/anonymous_released_alleged_a...
(Short answer: Congressionally-enabled DoD surplus transfers.)