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#1457230 - 08/14/14 04:33 PM Police militatism, Mike Brown
VM Smith Offline
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Registered: 11/28/05
Posts: 38160
Loc: Ship of Fools
Some nitwit will probably come on and say that I shouldn't post this because I don't live in St. Louis, but he'll just have to deal with it.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/14/police-militarism-in-america/

AUGUST 14, 2014

In Many Communities Cops are the Terrorists

Police Militarism in America

by DAVE LINDORFF
The apparent murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, of Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth who was shot a number of times while he was allegedly on his knees with his hands up in the air, pleading “Don’t shoot, I’m not armed,” is exposing everything that is wrong with policing in the US today.

The Ferguson Police Department, reportedly nearly all white, patrols a St. Louis suburban community that is largely African-American, which is already a recipe for disaster in a country that is drenched in racism. The Ferguson PD is also reportedly using the kind of aggressive policing — arresting people over minor infractions — that can quickly escalate into violent confrontations. In this case, it appears Brown’s offense was jay-walking and perhaps talking back to the police officer — the first being a citation offense, and the second not even illegal.

When this shooting happened, instead of immediately attempting to calm things down, the Ferguson Police Department went all paramilitary, sending massive numbers of up-armed cops in military gear into the community, backed by armored vehicles. They responded to understandable community protests with tear gas and, later, with solid wooden and rubber bullets designed to hurt and injure but not kill (though clearly at close range there is always that danger). Several more people have already been shot by police, leaving them in critical condition.

Adding to community outrage is the refusal by police to release the name of the officer responsible for killing Brown, or even to release the initial report of his autopsy — both the kind information that would be readily available were the shooter not a police officer.

What’s wrong here? So many things that it’s hard to know where to begin.

First of all, unless an officer is under attack, or unless members of the public are threatened, there is simply no justification for a police officer to unholster a service revolver or worse, to fire at, a person who is allegedly committing some minor offense.

Nor, even after having fired shots, is there any justification for an officer to continue to fire at someone who is manifestly unarmed and who is not threatening anyone, as appears to have been the case when this officer continued to fire at the kneeling Brown.

Second, once a tragic outrage like this has occurred, it is totally unacceptable for the police department involved to withhold the information concerning the officer’s identity. Police are not CIA agents. They are public employees responsible to the community in which they work. When they decide to become “peace officers,” they are signing on to be responsible members of the community they are policing. In a democratic society they cannot be permitted to hide behind their badges. Public knowledge of who is doing that policing is a critical deterrent to the dangerous tendency for police to see themselves in an oppositional role with respect to the community they are policing — as a sort of occupying army.donate now

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said he is withholding the name of the officer who killed Brown (who has been put on paid administrative leave from his patrol assignment), because of fears that he and his family could be at risk, but that is not an acceptable justification. Police, as I already mentioned, are public employees and know the risks they are taking when they decide to be cops. Their spouses also know the risks. If the police are worried about security, they can provide protection for the officer and the officer’s family, but in an incident like this the community, and the family of the victim of this killing, also have rights — including the right to know who the officer is and what his prior history has been. For example, did he have a history of abusive arrests or other questionable shootings?

As for the withholding of the autopsy, police say they are awaiting the result of toxicology tests on the body. That’s a common ploy of police in shootings, on the theory that if they can find evidence of alcohol or drugs, it will somehow diminish public outrage over the shooting. But in this, as in many such police shooting cases, whether or not Brown was inebriated or drug addled would have no bearing at all on the justification for the shooting. According to witnesses Brown was on his knees with his hands raised when the officer, who had already shot the him at least once, walked up to him and fired more shots at him, killing him in the street. Toxicology tests are irrelevant. What is important is how many shots were fired, where they hit him, and what the trajectories of the bullets were. And the public has a right to know this information as soon as possible.

Particularly since 9-11 and the launching of the so-called War on Terror, police across the country have been deliberately mythologized into “heroes,” and have effectively been morphed from “peace officers” into “combat troops” in an amorphous and largely imaginary “war.” In this “war,” the enemy, initially unseen and largely nonexistent foreign “terrorists,” gradually shifted to become a larger group of “others” – in particular darker-skinned immigrants and, especially, African-Americans. Increasingly white people too have been added to this “enemy” category as police have become ever more militarized. (This author was threatened with arrest last year by a thuggish local suburban Pennsylvania cop when I questioned, correctly, the officer’s false assertion that hitch-hiking was illegal in the state. Had I continued to protest and to insist that I had a legal right to stand on the side of a secondary road, out of the roadway, with my thumb out, I would likely have been roughly grabbed, hand-cuffed, and hauled off to jail for something which, even if I had been too close to traffic, would have been a non-criminal charge, like a parking violation.)

In many communities of color today, police routinely patrol the streets all decked out in military-style gear, complete with kevlar helmets, semi-automatic weapons, and body armor. They do this not because they are in danger — the incidence of officers being shot in the line of duty has fallen to rates not seen since the late 19th century — but in order to make them more intimidating.

Back in the mid-1960s, when police forces in most cities were almost lily-white, black areas of major cities across the country erupted in riots over the same kinds of incidents as what just happened in Ferguson. Out of those riots, a resistance grew, including the founding of the Black Panthers. That kind or community resistance, while it was brutally challenged by police and by the FBI, also led to reforms, such as the hiring of many minority police officers, to the establishment of civilian police review boards, and to the election of minority mayors and council members.

9-11 undid much of that.

In most communities in the US, we now have police who are described, quite appropriately, as law “enforcers.” The term “peace officer” today sounds anachronistic.

We urgently need a new era of reforms that puts police back in the role of “public servant,” and both of those words needs to be equally emphasized. As public employees, police must not be permitted to hide anonymously behind their badges. Their actions must be open to public inspection. And they need it to be made clear by their supervisors, and by the elected officials who ultimately are their bosses, that they are “servants” of the citizens of the community in which they work.

Such a change will not come easily. The police will not willingly surrender their new powers as “enforcers.” Those powers will have to be wrested away from them. And doing that will require the kind of community organizing and resistance that we saw in the 1960s.

I’m not calling here for vigilantism, or street warfare. I am calling for a peaceful but militant community resistance to existing police militarism.

I’m reminded of an incident back in the late 1970s when I was living in Los Angeles. I had just come out of a theater where I had watched a showing of Ralph Bakshi’s excellent dystopic film “Wizards.” As I walked towards my car in the mall parking lot near the inter-racial working-class community of Silver Lake, I saw police helicopters and dozens of squad cars converging on a residential neighborhood across the main street. Curious to see what was going on, I trotted over to have a look.

I came upon the scene, flood-lit by noisy helicopters hovering above, of a car that had just been stopped by several LAPD squad cars. It had apparently been stolen by three joy-riding Latino teenagers. As I looked on, the three were yanked out of the vehicle by officers, some of whom had guns drawn. The boys were brutally slammed against the car amid a lot of yelling by the officers, whose numbers were growing by the minute as new squad cars arrived.

It was getting ugly, and I was worried about the boys, who were not very big. Suddenly a crowd began to grow, as local people, mostly Latino, from the surrounding houses, poured out into their yards to see what was going on. These local men and women began to yell at the cops:

“Don’t you hurt those boys!”

“We see you, and we see that they are not injured! Make sure they stay that way!”

“We’re watching you! If they get hurt, we’re going to report you!”

The scene visibly calmed down. The cops stopped yelling. The boys, cuffed, were led to squad cars to be brought downtown for booking. But there was no violence. None of the kids ended up getting hit. I don’t know what happened to them later at Parker Center downtown, but what was developing into a nasty situation was defused by the presence of the community, who stood in solidarity against the cops.

This is what we need today: community resistance to police abuse, and a demilitarization of policing.

In too many communities across America today, as in Ferguson, Missouri, the “terrorists” in our midst are the police themselves. We need to end that situation.

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).
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#1457231 - 08/14/14 05:19 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: VM Smith]
Geedog Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 141
Loc: NY
http://news.firedoglake.com/2014/08/14/f...3ed34d13aa18016

Snipers, automatic weapons, armored vehicles, and sonic weapons were just some of the military equipment aimed at the people of Ferguson, Missouri by police for protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. Brown was said to have been shot and killed by the officer after putting his hands up in the air.



Protests in response to the shooting of Brown were met with military equipment and occupation tactics – including the arrest of two journalists reporting from the scene who were later released.

The police adorned themselves in combat rather than riot gear and were seen multiple times pointing deadly weapons at protesters.

As night fell police demanded the protesters disperse and when they did not began using sonic weapons (LRAD), tear gas, flash bombs and rubber bullets. The dispersal tactics combined with the armored vehicles and combat gear makes it seem like Ferguson, Missouri is a war zone. Which is what happens when police are militarized.

According to The New York Times, Since 2006, police have acquired at least 867 armored vehicles, 533 aircraft and 93,763 machine guns due to US military surplus. Combine military hardware and an ideology of war on terrorism, drugs and broken windows and suddenly 99% of the public are enemy combatants.

Will this soon be every town’s future?

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#1457239 - 08/14/14 09:49 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: VM Smith]
Josephus Offline
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Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 10966
Loc: NYS
I'm sure he's not one of your favorites VM, but Bill Maher did a segment on this very subject a few weeks ago... about the militarizing of the police. Yes, there is some humor in it (he's a comic, after all), but the seriousness of the message is there.

Blitzkrieg Cop
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#1457297 - 08/15/14 11:33 AM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: VM Smith]
Hard Corps Offline
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Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 762
Loc: The Village
So some criminal punk got shot trying to disarm a cop and the outrage is against the police? Because there aren't enough blacks on the police force? So people riot and destroy their own town and then wonder why the cops have armored vehicles. The seriousness of the message is do unto others and you reap what you sow.
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#1457333 - 08/15/14 07:23 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Hard Corps]
Josephus Offline
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Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 10966
Loc: NYS
Originally Posted By: Hard Corps
So some criminal punk got shot trying to disarm a cop and the outrage is against the police? Because there aren't enough blacks on the police force? So people riot and destroy their own town and then wonder why the cops have armored vehicles. The seriousness of the message is do unto others and you reap what you sow.

So... what part of the first paragraph in the article VM Smith posted didn't you understand? The part where the victim was on his knees with his hands in the air when he was shot, or the part where he pleaded "Don't shoot. I'm not armed"?

What a friggin' moron you are.
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#1457346 - 08/15/14 10:18 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Josephus]
VM Smith Offline
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Registered: 11/28/05
Posts: 38160
Loc: Ship of Fools
Originally Posted By: Josephus
I'm sure he's not one of your favorites VM, but Bill Maher did a segment on this very subject a few weeks ago... about the militarizing of the police. Yes, there is some humor in it (he's a comic, after all), but the seriousness of the message is there.

Blitzkrieg Cop


I switch. I was a Limbaugh fan when he was against the execrable Clinton, but not when he started kissing the disgusting Bush's jack boots. I was a Maher fan when he was against Mad bomber Bush, but not now, when he supports the Drone Murderer, who is doing his best to start WWIII. I'll be against the next statist, imperialist mass murderer.

In this vid, Maher puts his finger right on a huge problem, which will get worse. Maybe Prozac Nation will snap out of its torpor, but based on past performance, I doubt that it has enough brains left to wake up.
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If you vote for government, you have no right to complain about what government does.

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#1457358 - 08/16/14 07:38 AM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: ]
Josephus Offline
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Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 10966
Loc: NYS
Originally Posted By: MWSG-17

Ahahahahahahahaha....Are You The Acting Judge and Jury, Now Jabba the Slug?

No Chickenhawk... I actually read the article. You know... the thing this whole thread is based on? You should try reading yourself sometime. It's Fundamental. You might even learn somthing.
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#1457408 - 08/16/14 08:33 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Josephus]
sands Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 7537
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Josephus
the victim was on his knees with his hands in the air when he was shot, or the part where he pleaded "Don't shoot. I'm not armed"?



THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE FERGUSON SHOOTING

Let’s take a look at that whole “innocent” situation. The news media reported that an unarmed teen was shot 8 times and killed by a Ferguson Police Officer. Did you know that the unarmed teen was 6 foot 3 inches and 300 lbs, or that according to witnesses in the complex (not other police officers, WITNESSES IN THE COMPLEX), the unarmed teen along with another suspect blocked the officer’s vehicle from responding to a call by standing in front of it? After words were exchanged, the “innocent” teen rushed the officer tackling him back into the driver’s seat of the police car. As the unarmed teen was on top of the officer beating him to where his face has several contusions and his eye is still swelled shut this morning, the officer went for his gun and fired. I think we all agree that the officer should have let the unarmed teen beat him to death rather than fire the shot because he was an “unarmed teen” that was looking forward to going to college next week. After the round goes off, the unarmed teen backs out of the car and starts to walk away. The officer who was just severely assaulted by being punched in the head repeatedly, points his gun at the teen, tells him he’s under arrest. The unarmed teen turns and, according to witnesses, again the WITNESSES IN THE COMPLEX, the teen starts yelling at the officer daring him to shoot. He AGAIN rushes the officer at which point the officer, who was just beaten, fires at the unarmed innocent teen.

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#1457409 - 08/16/14 08:37 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Josephus]
sands Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 7537
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Josephus
the victim was on his knees with his hands in the air when he was shot, or the part where he pleaded "Don't shoot. I'm not armed"?


Michael Brown Suspected In 'Strong-Arm' Robbery (Minutes Before Fatal Shooting) RAW VIDEO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbsiFFPPdW4

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#1457452 - 08/17/14 04:16 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Josephus]
sands Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 7537
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Josephus
the victim was on his knees with his hands in the air when he was shot, or the part where he pleaded "Don't shoot. I'm not armed"?

Not according to a witness confused
http://www.ijreview.com/2014/08/168698-e...guson-shooting/

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#1457455 - 08/17/14 06:31 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: sands]
Josephus Offline
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Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 10966
Loc: NYS
Originally Posted By: sands
Originally Posted By: Josephus
the victim was on his knees with his hands in the air when he was shot, or the part where he pleaded "Don't shoot. I'm not armed"?

Not according to a witness confused
http://www.ijreview.com/2014/08/168698-e...guson-shooting/

Sounds like there are different witnesses with different points of view. It will be interesting to see what the autopsy reveals.

As the author wrote, "We shall see."
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#1457456 - 08/17/14 06:33 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Josephus]
Timbo Offline
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Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 9856
Loc: CNY

And now, a FEDERAL Autopsy is going to be conducted.
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#1457458 - 08/17/14 07:06 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Josephus]
sands Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 7537
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Josephus
It will be interesting to see what the autopsy reveals. As the author wrote, "We shall see."

What I find interesting is how you went from, what part of the article don't you understand to we shall see confused

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#1457469 - 08/17/14 08:39 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: sands]
Josephus Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 10966
Loc: NYS
Originally Posted By: sands
Originally Posted By: Josephus
It will be interesting to see what the autopsy reveals. As the author wrote, "We shall see."

What I find interesting is how you went from, what part of the article don't you understand to we shall see confused

It's called receiving more information from other witnesses, doofus.

On the other hand, Hard Corps was ready to urinate on his grave, despite the reports from witnesses of the victim being on his knees and screaming that he was unarmed when he was shot.
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#1457470 - 08/17/14 09:27 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Josephus]
sands Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 7537
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Josephus
Originally Posted By: sands
What I find interesting is how you went from, what part of the article don't you understand to we shall see confused
It's called receiving more information from other witnesses

Apparently something you failed to do before making your initial comments whistle

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#1457478 - 08/18/14 06:59 AM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: sands]
cwjga Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 6329
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: sands
Originally Posted By: Josephus
Originally Posted By: sands
What I find interesting is how you went from, what part of the article don't you understand to we shall see confused
It's called receiving more information from other witnesses

Apparently something you failed to do before making your initial comments whistle


And he calls you doofus. Why is it liberals can't have a discussion without name calling.
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#1457492 - 08/18/14 08:52 AM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: ]
bluezone Offline
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Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 29634
Loc: USA
he did not have his hands up
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#1457493 - 08/18/14 08:57 AM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: Timbo]
bluezone Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 29634
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Timbo

And now, a FEDERAL Autopsy is going to be conducted.


person attacks police officer
officer defends himself
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#1457506 - 08/18/14 11:27 AM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: bluezone]
Timbo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 9856
Loc: CNY
Originally Posted By: bluezone
he did not have his hands up

The locations of the gunshot wounds STRONGLY suggest otherwise.

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#1457510 - 08/18/14 12:04 PM Re: Police militatism, Mike Brown [Re: VM Smith]
Timbo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 9856
Loc: CNY

Autopsy Results:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/18/michael-brown-family-autopsy_n_5687898.html

After a preliminary autopsy this weekend revealed that Michael Brown was shot at least six times, the teenager's mother had just one question on Monday for police: "What else do we need to give them to arrest the killer of my child?"

The independent autopsy found that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Members of Brown's family surrounded their attorney, Benjamin Crump, at a press conference Monday as he described their emotional turmoil and called for a fair investigation into the teen's death. Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, wants justice for her son and is desperate for answers, Crump said.

Dr. Michael Baden, the former New York City chief medical examiner who conducted the autopsy, also addressed the media, saying there was "no evidence of a struggle" -- a key detail at odds with the police's reported accounts of what transpired moments before an officer shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9.


"The family has a right to know how their loved one died," Baden said.

Baden and Professor Shawn Parcells, a pathologist assistant based in Kansas who helped with the autopsy, said they could not establish the order of bullets fired at Brown. But they believe Brown died from a final bullet fired through the top of his skull because all of the other gunshot wounds were survivable, Baden said.

The information is largely consistent with eyewitness accounts of Brown's fatal encounter with police earlier this month. A friend who was with Brown at the time said the teen, who was unarmed, had his hands in the air and was trying to surrender. At a height of 6-foot-4, Brown's head would have been facing downward when the final bullet entered his head, Baden said.

"We believe that given those types of facts, it shows this officer should have been arrested," Darryl Parks, another family attorney, said.

The questions surrounding Brown's death "could have been answered on Day One if you were really trying to have transparency be the objective," Crump said of local police. "The Brown family wanted to have this autopsy performed on their behalf because ... they did not want to be left having to rely on the autopsy done by the St. Louis law enforcement agencies, the same individuals they feel are responsible for executing their son in broad daylight."

The family "begged and pleaded" to have an independent autopsy performed, Crump added.

Baden appeared to criticize the Ferguson police for the way the case was handled, noting that putting information out sooner on Brown's death and talking to his family could have calmed tensions within the community.

In the week since Brown was killed, Ferguson has been rocked by unrest and riots. Local police were heavily criticized for withholding details about the fatal shooting and attempting to quash largely peaceful protests, prompting state highway patrol officers to take over the law enforcement efforts in the community.

Tensions flared again over the weekend after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) imposed a curfew, leading to a new round of clashes between protesters and police. Nixon announced an executive order on Monday to send National Guard troops to Ferguson.
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