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

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Cross-posted from The Intercept

From youtube.com/watch?v=Ffd2G2Ekpo0: MILITARIZATION OF AMERICAS POLICE FORCE. WEAPONS/GEAR/DRONES/TANKS,ETC.
MILITARIZATION OF AMERICAS POLICE FORCE. WEAPONS/GEAR/DRONES/TANKS,ETC.
(image by YouTube)


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.

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For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. I am the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot (more...)
 

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Excellent article by Glenn Greenwald ... but there... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 5:40:59 PM
Saw a newpaper (of the old-fashioned paper 'newpri... by Charles Roll on Sunday, Aug 17, 2014 at 4:19:47 PM
Glen, Tell Edward he doesnt have to want to come ... by Catherine McCoy on Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 6:08:35 PM
There has never been any justification for this Po... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 9:38:27 PM
The twin development to the militarization of the ... by Scott Baker on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 1:34:02 AM
Glenn, what you're describing is chilling to the b... by Paul Sedkowski on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 4:29:49 AM
It has always been clear who gives the orders, fro... by E. J. N. on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 12:31:36 PM
The turning of Ferguson into an armed camp is not ... by Ethan Hollow on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 7:05:59 AM
It's good that Greenwald writes this "is the destr... by E. J. N. on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 11:54:33 AM