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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/28/20

Time for Charlottesville to Act on Militarized Policing

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The City of Charlottesville is dragging up the rear in the current winds of change, is stalling on moving its war monuments, is failing to move on divesting its retirement fund from weapons and fossil fuels, and is tip-toeing around prevaricating Chief of Police Dr. RaShall M. Brackney.

The Chief of Police has told the City Council that state police did not use city vehicles recently, but reversed that claim upon photographs being produced. She has claimed not to have a mine resistant vehicle or anything like that or any military weaponry, later admitting to having an armored personnel carrier -- possibly this one that I photographed and published this picture of in January 2017.

Nearly 800 people have now signed a petition in Charlottesville, Va.

Almost all of the signers are from Charlottesville.

The petition is addressed to the Charlottesville City Council and reads:

We urge you to ban from Charlottesville:

(1) military-style or "warrior" training of police by the U.S. military, any foreign military or police, or any private company,

(2) acquisition by police of any weaponry from the U.S. military;

and to require enhanced training and stronger policies for conflict de-escalation, and limited use of force for law enforcement.

Were Charlottesville's City Council dealing with an open and forthcoming Chief of Police who persuasively claimed to be adhering to all of these policies at present, the need to put them into legally binding form going forward would remain. In the current situation, that need is all the more pressing, and the language needs to be more detailed. For example, we need to ban the acquisition of military weaponry from any source, and probably to specify what constitutes military weaponry. We probably also need to ban the use of such weaponry even when somehow not legally "acquiring" it.

Seattle's City Council has recently passed a ban against police use or purchase of chemical weapons, kinetic impact projectiles, acoustic weapons, directed energy weapons, water cannons, disorientation devices, and ultrasonic cannons. There is no excuse for Charlottesville's City Council defering to police on whether such outrageous weaponry is "strategically significant" or "tactically necessary" or any such wartalk doublespeak. In a representative government it is not up to an armed, militarized force to dictate terms to a government, which in turn informs the public of what is reasonable. In a representative government it is up to the public to tell the government what's needed -- a government which can then inform its staff what is required of them. Hundreds of Charlottesvillians are attempting to do just that.

Here are some of the comments people have added when they have signed the petition:

End police violence NOW!

We need to be coming together instead of pointing war weapons at each other. The power of listening, understanding, compassion and teamwork was NEVER more important than right now.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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