Friday, August 15, 2014

Stop Militarization of America's Police Departments NOW!

The federal government can stop this increased militarization at its source. The Pentagon must end its transfer of military-grade weapons through the 1033 program. And the Department of Homeland Security should stop handing out the terrorism grants. The ease with which police departments can avail themselves of Homeland Security funding for enormous caches of weapons and ammunition in the name of counterterrorism is deeply disconcerting.  NY Times Oped

This week I have been watching events unfold in Ferguson, MO, and am angry as can be at the militarization of our police forces by the Department of Defense surplus equipment handout to local police agencies called 1033 and the Department of Homeland Security grants for anti-terrorism that gives money for guns, ammo, and the like.  This happened on Monday when one guy walking down a sidewalk with his hands up is confronted by this many people in riot gear.  Question is would they have done to this to a white guy?  My guess is no but this picture says it all about how some of our police forces are now out of control:

Frankly I am beyond furious at a Republican Congress and President Clinton who passed/signed this 1033 monstrosity into law.  Made Defense contractors who manufacture weapons even richer and has now fleeced the American taxpayer.  No wonder there is a deficit when DoD buys equipment for big bucks and sells it to local police for pennies on the dollar or the fact that Homeland Security has a program that was set up to provide grants to local police and it is still on-going for terrorism from the Bush years following 9/11.  Had no idea it was still ongoing.  Picture is getting clearer of how these local police are better armed and have better protective gear then some of the military we send into battle.

Are these mostly white, seemingly uneducated cops a front for the KKK, militia, white supremacy or just plain racist and ignorant playing soldier?  They seem to miss the part during school that the Constitution guarantees Freedom of the Press, Speech, and Right to Assemble.

When cops arrest reporters they have gone way too far acting more like jack booted thugs then local police.  Then to find out the Federal Government because of stupid legislation is providing/funding these militarized local police organizations sent me over the top -- took a day to wind down and not be too angry to write a blog post like I was earlier this week at what this Country has become when you look at pictures of St Louis County PD and cannot tell the difference from police in Egypt going after demonstrators and Ferguson, MO.

Something needs to happen and a good start is canceling 1033 and the bill that gave Homeland Security the money to fund local police.  How much ammunition do you need? This is Ferguson, MO, not a 3rd world country but it sure looks line one.

People from Gaza were twittering how you handle tear gas to the people of Ferguson.

There were no molotov cocktails hurled at police - erroneous report -- people standing on their own property had tear gas launched at them along with reporters from Al Jazerra America.  Some suffered wounds from the rubber bullets that were fired by police on peaceful protestors holding up their hands. This is beyond horrendous and looks to be waking up a Nation that has been asleep far too long.   Demonstrations around the Country standing in solidarity with Ferguson protestors last night and the pictures coming from Ferguson of a peaceful march led by Captain Ron Johnson and the MO Highway Patrol after they were put in charge after a call from President Obama to Governor Nixon yesterday morning.

This oped which appeared in the editorial section of the New York Times in today's print edition of the paper is one of the best about 1033 and Homeland Security programs I have read on the situation:
Get the Military Off of Main StreetFerguson Shows the Risks of Militarized Policing
WASHINGTON — FERGUSON, Mo., has become a virtual war zone. In the wake of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, outsize armored vehicles have lined streets and tear gas has filled the air. Officers dressed in camouflage uniforms from Ferguson’s 53-person police force have pointed M-16s at the very citizens they are sworn to protect and serve. 
The police response has shocked America. The escalating tension in this town of 21,200 people between a largely white police department and a majority African-American community is a central part of the crisis, but the militarization of the police is a dimension of the story that has national implications. 
Ferguson’s police force got equipped this way thanks to the Pentagon, and it’s happening all over the country. The Department of Defense provides military-grade weapons and equipment to local law enforcement agencies through the 1033 program, enacted by Congress in 1997 to expand the practice of dispensing extra military gear. Due to the defense industry’s bloated contracts, there is a huge surplus. To date, the Pentagon has donated military equipment worth more than $4 billion to local law enforcement agencies. And the giving goes on, to police forces in all 50 states in the union. 
Ferguson’s police department is just one recipient; small towns all over America are now the proud owners of “MRAP” armored vehicles. The largess has gotten so out of hand that a congressman, Hank C. Johnson, is introducing a bill to block the 1033 handouts.
Whereas the Department of Defense hands over weapons directly, the Department of Homeland Security provides funding for arms. It has distributed more than $34 billion through “terrorism grants,” enabling local police departments to acquire such absurd items as a surveillance drone and an Army tank. 
In the absence of extreme violence or actual terrorist threat, what happens — as the American Civil Liberties Union has documented — is that the equipment and weapons are used by SWAT teams in routine situations, such as low-level drug raids or the execution of search warrants. As Ferguson shows, this militarizing of routine police work exacerbates tensions and increases the likelihood of disorder. This, in turn, appears to justify a militarized police response, and so the cycle continues.
Please Click Here to Read the complete oped editorial.
Today the Chief of Police of Ferguson released still photos of a robbery and 16 pages basically defending the killer cop for killing a young man holding up his hands surrendering without ever informing Captain Johnson who is in charge in Ferguson of what he was releasing.  You want to know what is wrong in Ferguson, look no further then the Mayor and especially the Chief of Police who was allegedly trained in Israel about riot tactics and went on Fox News Hannity while the St Louis County police were hurling tear gas at demonstrators holding up their hands.  Says all you need to know about the Chief of Police who needs fired IMHO!

This militarization of police departments throughout America needs to end and end now.  American people need to get out to vote in massive numbers to turn racist out of office this November.  Make this truly a country of We the People not We the White Males we are seeing/hearing from today from the Republicans in Congress to local office holders led around by the nose by the Koch Bros Tea Party.  Time to end racism once and for all in this Country and if the hard right doesn't like it -- shove it!

This graphic says it all after a 97 year old minority woman who has voted for years was denied the right to vote because she couldn't provide an ID.  We must stand united against the racism that is leading the passing of ALEC anti-minority voter registration laws throughout the Red States.  Turn Red State Governors Blue this November and end this injustice.

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