Sunday, May 27, 2012

Consequences of Militarized Police Departments in America

The following is a portion of article is posted here which gives some specific examples of our increasingly militarized law enforcement. For more on the role of the US military see about the DOD 1033 Program

The Police Are Militarized – And We Are Surprised?

Posted on March 22, 2012 by admin
Writers have been sounding the alarm for years.  Why are we now surprised when protest groups such as Occupy Wall Street find themselves facing a horde of anxious-to-fight soldiers instead of the community peacemakers of a bygone era? 
As far back as the 80′s, scholars and writers, such as Peter B. Kraska and Victor E. Kappeler, studied and wrote about the “new” American police moving toward militarization.(1)  And that was before the chief facilitator of this trend toward militarization, the Department of Homeland Security, was created by President George W. Bush.  Things have gone horribly downhill since then.
An internet search for “Militarization of American Police” yields numerous articles in a wide array of publications. However, little research is necessary since currently one need only be exposed to daily news to realize American Police have been dangerously militarized.   The framers of the Constitution of the United States of America would be horrified to know the rights granted and protected by our Constitution are being taken from us by an army of occupation of our own making.
The Occupy Movement has only aimed yet another spotlight at a problem in our country which, if not addressed and fixed, will become our introduction to an out-of-control loosely connected army hell bent on “controlling” Americans.
Even a small sampling of the stories is horrifying. 
  • An Arkansas State Trooper arrives on a scene in 2007 where several officers have a disabled man corralled.  It’s a case of mistaken identity, but no one knew that at the time.  The disabled man, who had cerebral palsy, was lying on the ground surrounded by sheriff’s deputies and was unable or did not comply with the deputy’s instructions.  A state trooper arrives on the scene. He shoots and kills the 21-year-old with a slug from his shotgun.  Later he pleads guilty of negligent homicide, gets 90 days in jail, a $1000 fine and spends 30 days working with the developmentally disabled. That trooper trained at a training academy where officers are forced to march military style, salute military style, dress military style and adopt the attitudes of enlisted officers instead of civilian employees performing a public safety mission.  He acted as the well-trained drone of higher-ups who have so confused our nation’s police as to who they are and who they serve. The state police settled the civil case for one million dollars of the taxpayers’ money. (2)
  • July 25, 2011, a 13-year-old boy named Jimmell Cannon was killed by police in Chicago, who shot him 8 times after he fled.  They claimed he had a weapon. The “weapon” was never found, and the local Fraternal Order of Police spokesman said part of the problem was that people just don’t “respect and fear” the police like they used to. 43 people were shot by Chicago Police as of August, 2011.  16 of those shot died. (3)
  • February 2, 2012, a teen with autism was shot to death by Chicago police in his parents’ basement.  He had allegedly brandished a knife and cut one of the officers’ forearms.  But family  members insist the weapon was only a butter knife and the officer’s wound was not serious.(4)
  • March 14, 2012,  Portland, Oregon; A three-man “tactical team” shoot a 31 year-old-man who friends and neighbors say thought his house was being broke into when the plain clothes officers started battering his door.  He got his gun before he opened the door.  No one knows if he ever actually pointed it at anyone. He was shot seven times and dragged across his front porch leaving a bloody trail.  The officers allegedly had a search warrant.  Witnesses claim the man was shot immediately when he opened the door, before police identified themselves. The officers were from the Washington County Sheriff’s Tactical Team in Portland, Oregon. (5)
  • May 8, 2009, an officer in a small Arkansas town fatally shoots a 20-year-old man who had reportedly stolen a bottle of whiskey from a liquor store then allegedly tried to back over police officers with his car after they stopped him.  A civil case is pending in federal court.(6)
  • May 28, 2011, Arizona police shoot and kill a former marine in his home during a botched pot raid.  The police tactical team was looking for marijuana and gave no warning before entering the home occupied by the former marine. As the officers entered, the homeowner encountered them in a hallway.  The police fired, shooting over 70 rounds at the veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq.  He had armed himself with his AR-15 rifle after realizing a person or persons had entered his home.  The cops saw the gun.  They released the fatal barrage of gunfire.  The homeowner never released the safety on his gun.(7)
Goto The Police Are Militarized for the rest of this article.

 (1) Author(s): Peter B. Kraska and Victor E. KappelerThe Militarization of
American Police
 Source: Social Problems, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 1-18 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society for the Study of Social Problems Stable URL
(2) Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Arkansas Archives.
(3)Autistic Teen Fatally Shot by Police in Suburban Chicago;
(4) “Chicago Police Shooting Spree? 43 Shot Already in 2011; 16 Dead;” an August 2, 2011 story in Colorlines, News for Action, by Asrae Mustufa
(5) Updated story, March 14, 2012, Portland, Oregon  By Thom Jenson and KATU Staff,  “Police Investigating Whether Man Shot by Police Fired At Them”   KATU News,
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