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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Pentagon Militarized Ferguson Police Department With Surplus from Afghanistan War

Posted by on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 11:31 AM

The Wire:

The local community of Ferguson, Missouri, may not look like a war zone, but the Pentagon has helped the police treat it like one.

According to Michelle McCaskill, media relations chief at the Defense Logistics Agency, the Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033, in which the Department of Defense distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the U.S.

That surplus military equipment doesn't just mean small items like pistols or automatic rifles; towns like Ferguson could become owners of heavy armored vehicles, including the MRAPs used in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The post also states that the Pentagon supplied American police departments with nearly $450,000,000 worth of equipment in 2013—yes, in one year alone. What is this all about? Of course, money; but also it's the relocation of the zone of war from national borders (the front) to city streets...
War Zone of the 21st Century
  • CM
  • War Zone of the 21st Century

The human is now not only the talking animal, it's also the urban animal: homo urbanus. The UN:
The world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history. In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities. By 2030 this number will swell to almost 5 billion, with urban growth concentrated in Africa and Asia. While mega-cities have captured much public attention, most of the new growth will occur in smaller towns and cities, which have fewer resources to respond to the magnitude of the change.
In an urbanized world, we can expect policing to increase in importance and the use of police force to intensify. The future will look less like Afghanistan and more like Gaza.

 

Comments (15) RSS

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1
Contact the Seattle City Council and ask them to de-militarize the SPD:

Dear (insert council member),

In light of the recent tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, I am calling on you to draft and introduce legislation to remove all military grade weaponry from the Seattle Police Department.
Automatic weapons, armored personnel carriers, tanks, etc. are of no use in effective community policing. They're designed for warfare, nothing else. Their availability to the police sends a message to both the police and the community that the citizenry is to be viewed as an enemy to be defeated. This serves neither the community nor the police, and creates division and distrust. Deployment of these weapons by local police forces is always for the purpose of suppressing dissent, and their use constitutes a violation of every citizens constitutional rights.

Thank you,
(. )
Posted by Pol Pot on August 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 2
Thanks again, George Bush.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 14, 2014 at 12:05 PM · Report this
rob! 3
When you're behind enough armor and firepower to level the city, that apparently requires you to claim that you're acting with "an incredible amount of restraint," as St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar did this morning.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on August 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM · Report this
COMTE 4
Shorter Belmar: "We've got enough firepower to level this entire town & take out every single person in it. The fact we haven't - yet - is proof of our 'incredible restraint'."
Posted by COMTE on August 14, 2014 at 12:38 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 5
Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police

"Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement."

"Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention, Sen. Rand Paul writes for TIME, amid violence in Ferguson, Mo. over the police shooting death of Michael Brown." http://time.com/#3111474/rand-paul-fergu…
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on August 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
6
You know the US Military get's a fair amount of shit - mostly for being put in the impossible position of carrying out insane foreign policy with all the wrong tools and for all the wrong reasons - but I'm going to step up and agree with the 'Veterans on Ferguson' and defend the US military.

The cops in Ferguson are racist chicken hawk bullies essentially playing SEAL Team 6 cosplay on unarmed civilians.

In contrast our military is far more reasoned, professional, and for the most part even compassionate, than these goobers.

And if you can't get behind that - well how about this - the US military at least is up against ARMED adversaries.

I think Adam Weinstein nailed it here:

http://gawker.com/dont-call-the-police-m…

Posted by tkc on August 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM · Report this
7
Does anybody have good data on the amount and value of military equipment dispersed to law enforcement agencies in Washington? If any? I'm looking for real data, not anecdotes or "I saw" descriptions.
Posted by RDPence on August 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM · Report this
venomlash 8
I'm fine with the military giving surplus gear to police departments, but those donations need to come with a requirement that the beneficiary police department draw up a set of rules outlining when it is appropriate and permissible to use heavy-duty equipment. Military-grade body armor is one thing, but APCs should only be used by civilian forces in times of severe upheaval (I'm talking gang warfare kinds of crises).
Posted by venomlash on August 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Report this
treacle 9
Quiz Question: How many cities in America can you name where the police enter some districts only in (quazi-militarized) convoy?
Posted by treacle on August 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 10
This really is mass murder waiting to happen.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on August 14, 2014 at 1:31 PM · Report this
treacle 11
@9 - Totes disagree with you. If it gets to that level, call in the people with actual training, the National Guard. Don't give cops APC's, LRADs, or military-grade anything. It's not their job to to "fight a small war" on the city streets.

Whatever happened to "Peace Officer"? Who actually attempt to increase the peace and DEescalate conflict. They are now 'War Officers'... trained to escalate and control and see citizens as an enemy force.

not good.

...democracy...slippping... a..wa.y.....
Posted by treacle on August 14, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
12
@7, RDPence wrote, "Does anybody have good data on the amount and value of military equipment dispersed to law enforcement agencies in Washington?"

ACLU of Washington investigated equipment inventory of various area law enforcement agencies and found a significant amount of what I suspect most of us would consider "military equipment."

I intend to file records requests with various agencies soon. I would like to devise language a bit more broad than that in this request made recently of the St. Louis. County Police Department, which included 1) "roster/inventory of all requests to the Pentagon's Program 1033. If a roster is not available, please provide copies of all applications." 2) "roster/inventory of all items received from the 1033 program."

Any suggestions?
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on August 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM · Report this
13
Thank you, Pol Pot! Great idea! That was so easy to copy and paste to Seattle City Council. I put attention, Tim Burgess. This is the email address for anyone that wants to send your letter. council@seattle.gov

Contact the Seattle City Council and ask them to de-militarize the SPD:

Dear (insert council member),

In light of the recent tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, I am calling on you to draft and introduce legislation to remove all military grade weaponry from the Seattle Police Department.
Automatic weapons, armored personnel carriers, tanks, etc. are of no use in effective community policing. They're designed for warfare, nothing else. Their availability to the police sends a message to both the police and the community that the citizenry is to be viewed as an enemy to be defeated. This serves neither the community nor the police, and creates division and distrust. Deployment of these weapons by local police forces is always for the purpose of suppressing dissent, and their use constitutes a violation of every citizens constitutional rights.

Thank you,
(. )
Posted by relombardo on August 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Slam1263 14
I have made this statement before; If you want to play soldier, join the Army.

When the Public Servants start to act as if they are Masters, its time to clip their wings.

When they started to use the SWAT teams to deliver warrants, they acknowledged that they no longer had need for the team.

Crime rates are falling, and the majority of police being injured, is at the hands of repeat felons. Keep the offenders in longer, and you'll have fewer problems.
Posted by Slam1263 on August 22, 2014 at 10:32 AM · Report this
15
the kid was murdered by a sidearm by a cop driving a sedan. that's common sense equipment in the USA, where everyone may drive and everyone may keep them thangs.

this problem is deep. it is not a problem dependent on recent abnormalities
Posted by alfresco on August 25, 2014 at 11:34 PM · Report this

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