Sunday, August 17, 2014


 POLICE USA NEWSLETTER #1, August 17, 2014

See: Militarism,

Contact Representatives

Contents US Police Newsletter #1

Police Service
Police Public Service
Like Firemen
Citizens Review Boards

Prosecuting Alleged Police Murderers
A Death in St. Augustine

Excessive Force
Fayetteville, AR
Scarlet Sims:  Use of Force, NW Arkansas
Barbara Fitzpatrick, Example I Fayetteville

Hartmann:  NYC Jay-Walking Instance of Police Violence, Need for Public Oversight,
   Community-Oriented Police
Dan Wise, NYC’s “Stop and Frisk”

Militarization of Police
Radley Balko, The Militarization of US Police
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept: “Militarization of America’s Police Forces”
Jim Hightower, Absurdly Dangerous Militarization
Sarah Lazare, SWAT Teams vs. Transparency
War Resisters League, Stop Urban Shield

Border Patrol
US/Mexico Border, Low-Intensity Warfare
Steven Hsieh,  Border Patrol Lethal Force Policy
Presente, Letter to President Obama, Stop Killing Rock-Throwers

Some day, when one person asks another, What service were you in?, instead of the automatic military response, the other would reply:  I was a fireman, or I was a policeman, or school teacher, or nurse.   We should honor these people who work in the caring professions, who do not kill or injure, who do no harm or train to kill or harm, but who enhance life and train to protect life.  Dick

POLICE PUBLIC SERVICE, Google Search, August 17, 2014
  1. Police Integrity: Public Service With Honor -- A Partnership ...
National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Police Integrity. Public Service With Honor. A Partnership Between the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
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University of California, Merced
Police Services - Emergency Management - Violence Prevention. Apply Visit Info ... Welcome to the Department of Public Safety website. More About Us ...
  1. Public Service Unit - West Haven Police Department
West Haven Police Department
Public Service Officers serve part-time and are appointed by the Chief of Police to supplement the regular police force. They assist the West Haven Police ...
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Boston Police Department
public service initiative aimed towards strengthening the connection between the police and community members by allowing easy access to police-related ...
  1. Community Service Officer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Community Service Officer (CSO), provides support in crime prevention, ... budgets collided with the public's demand for better response in emergency situations. ... The current climate within larger police agencies is that they are becoming ...

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Globe icon.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page(October 2013)
fire department or fire brigade (also known as a fire and rescue service or simply fire service) is a public orprivate organization that provides predominantly emergency firefighting and rescue services for a certain jurisdiction, which is typically a municipality, county, or fire protection district. A fire department usually contains one or more fire stations within its boundaries, and may be staffed by career firefightersvolunteer firefighters, or a combination thereof (referred to as acombination department).[1]
A fire department may also provide "fire protection" or fire prevention services, whereby firefighters visit homes and give fire safety advice and fit smoke alarms for members of the public. In many countries fire protection or prevention is seen as an important role for the fire service, as preventing a fire from occurring in the first place can save lives and property.
Most public or municipal fire departments also carry out an enforcement role, to ensure that buildings (homes, hotels, offices, factories, and so on) are equipped with adequate fire precautions to limit the chances of fire and ensure that in the event of fire, people can safely evacuate the premises unharmed. This is also part of the protection or prevention role.

CITIZENS’ REVIEW BOARD, Google Search, August 17, 2014
  1. CitizensReview Board on Police Practices | City of San Diego
San Diego
For information on how to enable scripting in your browser, visit View the CitizensReview Board on PolicePractices ...
  1. Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board | Independent ...
Independent investigations into complaints of police conduct. ... Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board Meeting, July 22nd, 2014. Video of the pre-Public ...
  1. [PDF]
National Criminal Justice Reference Service
The most active citizen oversight boards investigate allegations of police misconduct ... Other citizen boards review the findings of internal police investigations.
  1. Citizens Police Review Board - Iowa City - City of Iowa City › Boards & Commissions
Iowa City
The Iowa City Citizens Police Review Board, formerly known as the Police Citizens Review Board, consists of five members appointed by the City Council.
  1. Citizen Review Board - Welcome - Las Vegas
Board of twenty citizens comprised to review complaints against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
  1. Oakland CitizensPolice Review Board - City of Oakland
  1. Citizens Police Review Board - Columbia › ... › Council › Commissions
Reviews appeals from the police chief's decisions on alleged police misconduct, hosts public ... (a) The citizens police review board is hereby established.
  1. City of Durham - Civilian Police Review Board › ... › Inside City Hall › Office of the City Manager
The Civilian Police Review Board hears appeals of complaints submitted by citizensconcerning actions taken by Durham police officers. The Durham Police ...
  1. Citizen's Police Review Board - Albany - Albany Law School
Albany Law School
by VA Law - ‎Related articles
Welcome to the Home Page of the Albany CitizensPolice Review Board (CPRB). The CPRB is an independent body established by the city of Albany in 2000 to ...
  1. Civilian Review Boards - Legal Dictionary - The Free ...
Citizen review boards have not been very effective at causing reform, as they are often co-opted by the police department whose investigations they are ...

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Prosecuting Alleged Police Murderers
A Death in St. Augustine
new york times
(53:41) What happens when police face the possibility of domestic violence within their ranks?
What happens when your abuser is a cop? How the entire criminal justice system fails these victims
Here’s how to get help.



The Force of the Law.   Anthony Reyes
A Springdale Police officer watches a doorway during an active shooter training scenario Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 at Shiloh Christian School in Springdale. Several members of both police and fire departments and many people serving as students and teachers in the school helped in the training. Police used airsoft guns and others loaded with blanks.

Sunday, January 12, 2014
Fallon Frederick called Rogers police for protection. Minutes later, an officer shot and killed her.
“It’s hard in my mind to justify the shooting,” said Timothy Steven Parker, an attorney. “This woman didn’t have a bazooka, she had a knife.”
Parker represents Frederick’s ex-husband, Darrell Frederick, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in July against Rogers, police Chief James Allen and officers Harold “Scott” Clifton, Nicholas Torkelson and Vence Motsinger.
By the Numbers
Use of Force
Use of force numbers aren’t comparable because departments define force and track its use differently.
• Bentonville had four reports on record for use of force among police officers in 2013. Seventeen instances, mostly involving deer, were reported in 2012.
Springdale police filed 76 action reports on use of force among its officers in 2012, compared with 38 reported last year.
Rogers police filed 76 reports about use of force in 2013. Police reported 52 incidents of use of force in 2012.
Fayetteville police documents revealed about 125 use of force reports for last year. The department had about 196 reports in 2012.
• Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported 27 instances of use of force among deputies in 2013, compared with 37 reported in 2012.
• Benton County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t track the use of force.
Source: Staff Report
At A Glance
Reasonable Belief
A law enforcement officer is justified in using non-deadly physical force or threatening to use deadly physical force when the officer “reasonably” believes force is necessary to arrest someone, prevent escape of an arrested person, defend himself or other people while attempting an arrest or preventing an escape. An officer is justified in using deadly physical force when he believes deadly force is necessary to make an arrest or prevent an arrested person who has committed a felony and is armed and dangerous from escaping and to defend himself and others from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.
Source: Arkansas Code 5-2-610
Parker alleges the three Rogers officers used excessive and deadly force against Fallon Frederick. He and others say the use of force among Northwest Arkansas police departments is concerning. Law enforcement agencies have no state oversight, define “force” differently and track those incidents — or not — as they wish. That means there’s no way to get an overall picture of how much force police use against people.
Law enforcement officials say excessive use of force isn’t a problem among departments in Northwest Arkansas. Few residents have filed complaints against law enforcement officials in Benton or Washington counties in the past three years, according to records.
Frederick, 30, called police from a Rogers convenience store the morning of Aug. 1, 2011, saying she was being followed, according to police records. She then backed herself into a corner at the store and took out a 4-inch hunting knife. Video from the store captured the events that followed, with other details discovered in the subsequent investigation.
Frederick, a 109-pound woman with diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia, questioned the three officers about whether they were really police and demanded their badge numbers. Officers warned her if she didn’t drop the weapon, they would have to “Taser,” or stun her. The stun attempt failed, and Frederick bounded forward — toward police but also toward the door. An officer fired three shots.
Frederick died at the store.
Prosecutor Van Stone said the officers who shot Frederick were justified. Frederick came at the officers with a knife, he said in a 2011 news release. Rogers City Attorney Ben Lipscomb wouldn’t comment on the case except to say officials don’t think excessive force was used.
Lipscomb is providing information to the Arkansas Municipal League, which is defending the city in the lawsuit. A trial date has been set for Oct. 27, said John Wilkerson, league staff attorney.
Rogers police spokesman Keith Foster said the lawsuit is pending, so officers involved are unable to discuss the matter.
The knife Frederick had could have been deadly, said Thomas Aveni, executive director of the Police Policy Studies Council, a research-based, interdisciplinary training and consulting corporation.
“It sounds pretty clear cut,” Aveni said.
Police typically are trained not to allow people with knives any closer than about 35 feet. An average person can cover 21 feet in about 1.5 seconds, Aveni said. Frederick could have slashed an officer’s neck and struck an artery.
When police shot Frederick, she was only a couple of feet away, according to records released by Stone.
“You don’t let anyone get that close with a weapon,” Aveni said.
At the heart of the lawsuit is whether the officers were too aggressive when dealing with Frederick. Police used deadly force when they had training on how to disarm people and had alternatives, such as pepper spray, Parker said. The officers didn’t have to kill Frederick, he said.
Using Force
Northwest Arkansas law enforcement officials are supposed to use a “reasonable” amount of force in situations where a person is violent, an officer fears for his life or others, or a subject refuses to obey commands, according to policies from Rogers, Bentonville, Springdale, Fayetteville and Benton and Washington counties’ sheriff’s offices.
Rogers officers use only one level more force than the person passively or actively resisting, fleeing or fighting, Foster said. Most use of force comes during arrest, he said.
Few Northwest Arkansas officers have been reprimanded or have been found to have used too much force, according to records provided by police.
Each police department defines what is force and tracks the number of times force is used by which officer differently, making comparing departments difficult. Where instances of force are tracked, law enforcement officials are required to fill out forms showing why they used what kind of force. That can include instances where officers shoot an animal or use pressure points on someone resisting arrest.
Departments aren’t required under federal or state law to track instances, but most do. Both Fayetteville and Rogers are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Those police departments must meet higher standards, including standards on how they define and track use of force to be accredited, Foster said.
Rogers started counting pointing a weapon as use of force in 2013, Foster said. Between January and November 2013, the department had about 26 incidents of where officers used force, he said.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies had 27 use of force reports filed last year, documents show. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t track use of force among its deputies, said Keshia Guyll, spokeswoman.
“We just don’t have a problem with it,” Guyll said.
Springdale police said 38 use of force reports were filed in 2013, but the department has changed what it considers use of force — meaning year to year numbers don’t compare and neither do other departments. Pointing a stun gun, for example, is no longer considered force. Using a stun gun is still considered force, said Derek Hudson, Springdale police spokesman.
Bentonville police had only four use of force reports for 2013, Capt. John Hubbard said. He said Bentonville’s number is low because the department stopped reporting some animal shootings last year.
Fayetteville reported its officers used force about 125 times last year. Fayetteville’s number is higher than other departments because officers police heavily attended events such as Bike, Blues & BBQ and Razorback football games, spokesman Craig Stout said in email.
The numbers between law agencies are simply not comparable, Foster said.
“You cannot get an apples to apples comparison until every department uses the same criteria,” Foster said. “You cannot realistically compare the numbers between the departments and get a fair comparison because we all use different standards.”
Police Aren’t ‘Thugs’
Excessive use of force cases are uncommon in Northwest Arkansas, said Doug Norwood, a criminal defense and civil rights attorney. Someone who resists arrest might be thrown to the ground and get bruised or cut, but that doesn’t mean the officer was excessive, Norwood said.
Excessive use of force must show unreasonable response by officers, police said. Departments investigate use of force among their officers and will reprimand them, they said.
“Officers are able to use force in defense of themselves or others,” Hudson said in email. “They may also use force to make an arrest or other lawful duty. They may only use the amount of force necessary.”
Departments that have reprimanded officers for using too much force include Springdale and Rogers, according to records.
In 2012, the Springdale Police Department reprimanded two officers for excessive use of force. Officer Tony Keck was suspended without pay for 10 days in August after he used a stun gun and arrested a man who refused to sit down. In September of the same year, officer Kristopher Arthur was suspended without pay for 10 days when he used pressure points and a stun gun on a prisoner who refused to sit on a bench.
Arthur is now police chief in Tontitown. Keck is an officer in Bethel Heights.
In 2012, two Rogers police officers violated the department’s use of force policy when they used their Taser guns at the same time. Foster said the officers didn’t realize the other was about to use his Taser.
Torkelson, who tried to stun Frederick and who Motsinger told investigators said, “Shoot, shoot, shoot” as Frederick rushed forward, used force more often than most of his fellow officers, according to a Rogers police document that combines use of force incidents by officers for 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Torkelson used force 11 times in three years. Most officers used force fewer than five times total, according to the police document. A further breakdown by year was not available, Foster said.
Motsinger left the Rogers police force in March 2012 and joined the Little Flock Police Department. He left there about six months ago, Chief Jesse Martinez said. Clifton remains a sergeant in the Rogers Police Department.
Northwest Arkansas police officers are not “thugs,” Norwood said. Police have a tough job and often deal with people who are on drugs or intoxicated, he said.
Foster said use of force among Northwest Arkansas law enforcement is low considering the volume of calls to which officers respond. Rogers police arrested 1,181 people between July and September of last year, according to previously released statistics. The department received 8,275 calls for service during that time. Totals for 2013 aren’t yet available, Foster said, but in 2012, the Rogers Police Department made 3,680 arrests.
No Oversight, No Complaints
Frederick’s family never filed a complaint with the Rogers Police Department about her death, Foster said. People often don’t want to complain about a policeman to another policeman, said Holly Dickson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Arkansas.
“People don’t complain if they don’t think anything will be done about it,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division fielded two complaints by the same person against the Springdale Police Department between 2010 and 2013, said Nelson D. Hermilla, chief of the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch. The department refused to release any officer’s name, citing privacy concerns. The complaints haven’t been investigated, Hermilla said.
Rogers Police Department received three written complaints about officers between 2011 and 2013. One complaint was determined to be unfounded. Officers were exonerated in the other two complaints.
In Bentonville and Fayetteville, no written complaints were filed, police said. Benton County’s Sheriff’s Office doesn’t track written complaints.
The low number of complaints might mean few people trust the police enough to speak out, Dickson said. Complaints about police violating residents’ constitutional rights are “rampant” statewide, she said. Dickson said she also hears specifically from Northwest Arkansas residents who feel their rights were violated.
“We’re constantly having to turn away complaints about that because we are so small and the problem is so large,” Dickson said. No litigation brought by ACLU is pending that involves Northwest Arkansas law enforcement officials, Dickson said.
The problem is there’s no independent agency or group that includes law enforcement officials and residents to field complaints, she said.
Arkansans need a way to hold police accountable through a licensing committee or through a group that includes both law enforcement officials and civilians, Dickson said. That kind of group or committee would protect both residents and police officers, she said.
Law enforcement officials and Norwood said police don’t need an outside agency because they police themselves.
“There is no law enforcement agency in Northwest Arkansas that would allow an officer they know is using excessive force to remain on the force,” Norwood said.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Barbara Fitzpatrick 
Date: Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Subject: Re: excessive police force in nwa
To: "L. Woodall" , Dick Bennet
A couple of years ago FPD decided to do a SWAT-type "drug bust" around dawn on my street.  The "command vehicle" was parked across the street from my house.  They broke down the door and did some serious damage inside to nab a couple of peacefully sleeping pot smokers who happened to deal a bit on the side.  Said pot smokers were very good neighbors - not loud, kept the yard in great shape, paid their rent on time.  FPD did not pay for the damage to the house. Dick is right.  bf

From: L. Woodall <>
To: Dick Bennet <> 
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2014 3:29 AM
Subject: excessive police force in nwa

(To my surprise I learned from this article there are no definitions for 
"excessive force." Dick has mentioned before the need for "citizens review boards to keep an independent eye on police activities.” Letting them evaluate themselves may not be in our interests.)

Why Did Police Beat an Elderly Man for Jaywalking?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:12 By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed

don't walk(Image: Don't walk via Shutterstock)
84-year-old Kang Wong is recovering today from a brutal attack on the streets of New York City.
Wong’s attackers jumped him as he jaywalked across a busy street in Manhattan, threw him up against a wall, and left him with cuts all across his face that have since been sealed up with four metal staples.
The attackers then brought Wong to the nearest police station, where he was booked on charges of jaywalking and resisting arrest.
Kang Wong’s attackers, you see, were New York City cops.
That city’s police commissioner, Bill Bratton, has said that excessive force wasn’t used in his arrest, but that statement doesn’t really face up to much muster. It’s pretty clear that the cops overreacted.
Wong doesn’t speak any English, and if it looked like he was resisting the officers in question, that’s almost certainly because he didn’t understand a word they were saying.
Understandably, his family now plans on pressing charges.
Wong’s brutal arrest is outrageous in its own right, but it also speaks to the broader problem of police brutality in this country. In some places, police culture is very professional; in others it’s just plain militaristic.
I know this from personal experience.
Back in 1996, the Olympics were coming to Atlanta. Just like right now, with Sochi trying to ramp up their security, Atlanta needed more security for the Olympics than was available from just the local police.
At the time, I was writing a novel about a private detective, and shadowing an Atlanta PI, a now-longtime friend named DeWitt Wannamaker, who has held a variety of jobs in law enforcement.
The Georgia Police Academy had opened their doors to civilians that year with an “executive protection” training course for people who’d work for Olympic athletes and visiting VIPs, and DeWitt got me into the course. I ended up not only completing the course but getting licensed for two years as a private detective in the state of Georgia.
Most of the guys going through the course were small-town cops who’d never had any professional training at all, and what I discovered was that there are a lot of really good, really dedicated, and really smart people who aspire to or work in law enforcement.
I also discovered that there are a small number of yahoos who are just really, really excited about the chance to get a gun and a billy club and have the legal authority to kick the stuffing out of people. I encountered one of those guys in the “hand to hand” part of the Academy’s course, and still remember the bruises.
It’s cops like that who do things like beat up an 84-year-old man for jaywalking and it’s cops like that who crack open a protestor’s head at an Occupy Wall Street protest.
Part of this, I believe, has to do with how we talk about law enforcement in the United States. We don’t solve crime, we “fight” it; we don’t have a campaign to stop drug addiction, we have a “War on Drugs.”
We tell cops that they’re in a battle with crime, and then they act accordingly: like soldiers, not public servants.
It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that the number of SWAT team deployments - something unheard of when I was growing up - jumped from around one hundred in the 1970s to over 50,000 in 2005.
While we’ve turned our public servants into warriors, we’ve started to give up - at the federal level, at least - on the whole idea of community policing.
The federal Community Oriented Policing Services program, or COPS, which provides resources for local police forces around the country was initiated in 1994 during the Clinton administration as part of an effort to put 100,000 police officers on America’s streets.
The idea was to get officers out into the community where they could form relationships with everyday people and act more like teachers than soldiers.
Madison, Wisconsin Police Officer Katie Adler is a great example of the kind of person the COPS program was meant to create.
She is a neighborhood officer in the crime-ridden North Side area of Madison. Unlike regular patrol cops in Madison, neighborhood officers are put in at-risk communities to help make a difference and build relationships with citizens in the hopes preventing future crime.
Officer Katie, as everyone calls her, is beloved in the communities that she patrols, so much so that kids follow her wherever she goes. She’s even inspiring children in the communities to become police officers when they grow up.
But the promise of every neighborhood having an Officer Katie is becoming increasingly unlikely.
That’s because ever since the Bush administration, funding for the COPS program has been continually slashed by hundreds of millions of dollars.
In 2010, $792 million was allotted in the form of federal grants under the COPS program for local police forces across the country; by 2012, that number shrank to just $199 million.
We need to reverse this trend and ramp up funding for community policing.
Programs like COPS encourage law enforcement agencies to do more than just catch criminals. They encourage them to work with communities to create a culture of trust that breaks down the barrier between cops and civilians. They also encourage police officers, police officers like Katie Adler, to work towards solving the root causes of crime as opposed to just trying to stop its symptoms.
Not all police officers are bad guys. The vast majority, in my experience, actually want to do good by their community. But it’s clear that by turning our law enforcement agencies into battalions, we’ve created an environment where violence is both more acceptable and more likely.
If we really want to prevent people like Kang Wong from being brutalized at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect them, then we need to totally rethink what it means to be a police officer in America.
Part of this means drawing down wasteful and ineffective initiatives like Nixon’s War on Drugs that do nothing but alienate already vulnerable communities from law enforcement.
But we need to go bigger than that. We need to make a commitment to funding the COPS program so that police work is seen not just as a way to catch the bad guys, but as a way to serve communities all across the country.
We also need to pay police as professionals and hold them to professional standards just like we do other professions.
This won’t stop all police brutality, but it will definitely go a long way towards making sure that our streets become less of a battle zone and more of a place where we can all learn to live with each other 

Removing the Judge Who Ruled 'Stop and Frisk' Unconstitutional Is a Blow to Justice 
Dan Wise, The Nation, 12 January 14, Reader Supported News
Wise writes: "The removal order was a crushing blow to Scheindlin's professional standing and sent a chilling message to other judges: tread carefully when handling cases that challenge government action." 

Dick I recall you once saying that we need citizens' review of police actions instead of merely allowing them to review their own actions. One family took on that challenge in Wisconsin. Here's the story.  Larry W

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces by Radley Balko

The last days of colonialism taught America’s revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But according to investigative reporter Radley Balko, over the last several decades, America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to ...

The last days of colonialism taught America’s revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But according to investigative reporter Radley Balko, over the last several decades, America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other—an enemy.
Today’s armored-up policemen are a far cry from the constables of early America. The unrest of the 1960s brought about the invention of the SWAT unit—which in turn led to the debut of military tactics in the ranks of police officers. Nixon’s War on Drugs, Reagan’s War on Poverty, Clinton’s COPS program, the post–9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs.
In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.
Editorial Reviews
Publishers Weekly
”Are cops constitutional?” It’s a bold and provocative question, and the more Balko (Overkill) delves into the history of law enforcement, the more that question seems worth considering. And yet it’s not the mere presence of a police force that concerns the Cato Institute policy analyst (he readily concedes that one is necessary to any functional society); it’s the force’s gradual militarization that bothers him and many who’ve found themselves on the wrong side of a SWAT team. Our country’s “founding statesmen were adamant about the dangers of armed, standing forces,” but Balko argues that we have strayed far from their vision. From the creation of the first SWAT teams in response to the violent riots of the 1960s, to the literal war on drugs, the much-publicized crackdowns on the Occupy movements, and the increasingly frequent deployments of heavily armed units to address minor incidents (underage drinking, anyone? unlicensed barbers?), the list of questionable tactics and militarized raids has grown longer with each passing year, especially in the wake of 9/11. The problem, Balko insists, is that we “tend not to take notice of such long-developing trends, even when they directly affect us. The first and perhaps largest barrier to halting police militarization has probably been awareness.” After reading Balko, you’ll be aware, alright—and scared. Agent: Howard Yoon, Ross Yoon. (July 9)

glenn greenwald: militarization of America's police forces - Horrors of Ferguson

photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The Horrors of Ferguson
By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
17 August 14
he 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.
If anything positive can come from the Ferguson travesties, it is that the completely out-of-control orgy of domestic police militarization receives long-overdue attention and reining in.
Last night, two reporters, The Washington Post‘s Wesley Lowery and The Huffington Post‘s Ryan Reilly, were arrested and assaulted while working from a McDonald’s in Ferguson. The arrests were arbitrary and abusive, and received substantial attention — only because of their prominent platforms, not, as they both quickly pointed out upon being released, because there was anything unusual about this police behavior.
Reilly, on Facebook, recounted how he was arrested by “a Saint Louis County police officer in full riot gear, who refused to identify himself despite my repeated requests, purposefully banged my head against the window on the way out and sarcastically apologized.” He wrote: ”I’m fine. But if this is the way these officers treat a white reporter working on a laptop who moved a little too slowly for their liking, I can’t imagine how horribly they treat others.” He added: “And if anyone thinks that the militarization of our police force isn’t a huge issue in this country, I’ve got a story to tell you.”
Lowery, who is African-American, tweeted a summary of an interview he gave on MSNBC: “If I didn’t work for the Washington Post and were just another Black man in Ferguson, I’d still be in a cell now.” He added: “I knew I was going to be fine. But the thing is, so many people here in Ferguson don’t have as many Twitter followers as I have and don’t have   Jeff Bezos or whoever to call and bail them out of jail.”
The best and most comprehensive account of the dangers of police militarization is the 2013 book by the libertarian Washington Post journalist Radley Balko,entitled “Rise of the Warrior Cops: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.”Balko, who has devoted his career to documenting and battling the worst abuses of the U.S. criminal justice system, traces the history and underlying mentality that has given rise to all of this: the “law-and-order” obsessions that grew out of the social instability of the 1960s, the War on Drugs that has made law enforcement agencies view Americans as an enemy population, the Reagan-era “War on Poverty” (which was more aptly described as a war on America’s poor), the aggressive Clinton-era expansions of domestic policing, all topped off by the massively funded, rights-destroying, post-9/11 security state of the Bush and Obama years. All of this, he documents, has infused America’s police forces with “a creeping battlefield mentality.”
I read Balko’s book prior to publication in order to blurb it, and after I was done, immediately wrote what struck me most about it: “There is no vital trend in American society more overlooked than the militarization of our domestic police forces.” The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim, in the outlet’s official statement about Reilly’s arrest, made the same point: “Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time.”
In June, the ACLU published a crucial 96-page report on this problem, entitled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.” Its central point: “the United States today has become excessively militarized, mainly through federal programs that create incentives for state and local police to use unnecessarily aggressive weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield.”
The report documents how the Drug War and (Clinton/Biden) 1990s crime bills laid the groundwork for police militarization, but the virtually unlimited flow of “homeland security” money after 9/11 all but forced police departments to purchase battlefield equipment and other military paraphernalia whether they wanted them or not. Unsurprisingly, like the War on Drugs and police abuse generally, “the use of paramilitary weapons and tactics primarily impacted people of color.”
Some police departments eagerly militarize, but many recognize the dangers. Salt Lake City police chief Chris Burbank is quoted in the ACLU report: “We’re not the military. Nor should we look like an invading force coming in.” A 2011 Los Angeles Times article, noting that “federal and state governments are spending about $75 billion a year on domestic security,” described how local police departments receive so much homeland security money from the U.S. government that they end up forced to buy battlefield equipment they know they do not need: from armored vehicles to Zodiac boats with side-scan sonar.
The trend long pre-dates 9/11, as this 1997 Christian Science Monitor article by Jonathan Landay about growing police militarization and its resulting abuses (“Police Tap High-Tech Tools of Military to Fight Crime”) makes clear. Landay, in that 17-year-old article, described “an infrared scanner mounted on [a police officer's] car [that] is the same one used by US troops to hunt Iraqi forces in the Gulf war,” and wrote: “it is symbolic of an increasing use by police of some of the advanced technologies that make the US military the world’s mightiest.”
But the security-├╝ber-alles fixation of the 9/11 era is now the driving force. A June article in the New York Times by Matt Apuzzo (“War Gear Flows to Police Departments”) reported that “during the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” He added: “The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units.”
All of this has become such big business, and is grounded in such politically entrenched bureaucratic power, that it is difficult to imagine how it can be uprooted. As the LA Times explained:
An entire industry has sprung up to sell an array of products, including high-tech motion sensors and fully outfitted emergency operations trailers. The market is expected to grow to $31 billion by 2014.
Like the military-industrial complex that became a permanent and powerful part of the American landscape during the Cold War, the vast network of Homeland Security spyware, concrete barricades and high-tech identity screening is here to stay. The Department of Homeland Security, a collection of agencies ranging from border control to airport security sewn quickly together after Sept. 11, is the third-largest Cabinet department and — with almost no lawmaker willing to render the U.S. less prepared for a terrorist attack — one of those least to fall victim to budget cuts.
The dangers of domestic militarization are both numerous and manifest. To begin with, as the nation is seeing in Ferguson, it degrades the mentality of police forces in virtually every negative way and subjects their targeted communities to rampant brutality and unaccountable abuse. The ACLU report summarized: “excessive militarism in policing, particularly through the use of paramilitary policing teams, escalates the risk of violence, threatens individual liberties, and unfairly impacts people of color.”
Police militarization also poses grave and direct dangers to basic political liberties, including rights of free speech, press and assembly. The first time I wrote about this issue was back in 2008 when I covered the protests outside the GOP national convention in St. Paul for Salon, and was truly amazed by the war-zone atmosphere deliberately created by the police:
St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be, even more so than Manhattan in the week of 9/11 — with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured.
The same thing happened during the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011: the police response was so excessive, and so clearly modeled after battlefield tactics, that there was no doubt that deterring domestic dissent is one of the primary aims of police militarization. About that police response, I wrote at the time:
Law enforcement officials and policy-makers in America know full well that serious protests — and more — are inevitable given the economic tumult and suffering the U.S. has seen over the last three years (and will continue to see for the foreseeable future). . . .
The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albright said when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which isincreasingly directed inward.
Most of this militarization has been justified by invoking Scary Foreign Threats — primarily the Terrorist — but its prime purpose is domestic.
Police militarization is increasingly aimed at stifling journalism as well. Like the arrests of Lowery and Reilly last night, Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman and two of her colleagues were arrested while covering the 2008 St. Paul protests. As Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation (on whose board I sit)explained yesterday, militarization tactics “don’t just affect protesters, but also affect those who cover the protest. It creates an environment where police think they can disregard the law and tell reporters to stop filming, despite their legal right to do so, or fire tear gas directly at them to prevent them from doing their job. And if the rights of journalists are being trampled on, you can almost guarantee it’s even worse for those who don’t have such a platform to protect themselves.”
Ultimately, police militarization is part of a broader and truly dangerous trend: theimportation of War on Terror tactics from foreign war zones onto American soil. American surveillance drones went from Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia into American cities, and it’s impossible to imagine that they won’t be followed by weaponized ones. The inhumane and oppressive conditions that prevailed at Guantanamo are matched, or exceeded, by the super-max hellholes and “Communications Management Units” now in the American prison system. And the “collect-it-all” mentality that drives NSA domestic surveillance was pioneered by Gen. Keith Alexander in Baghdad and by other generals in Afghanistan, aimed at enemy war populations.
Indeed, much of the war-like weaponry now seen in Ferguson comes from American laws, such as the so-called “Program 1033,” specifically designed to re-direct excessive Pentagon property – no longer needed as foreign wars wind down – into American cities. As the Missouri Department of Public Safety proudly explains on its website, “the 1033 Program provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety.”
One government newsletter - from “the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), a little known federal agency that equips police departments with surplus military gear” – boasted that “Fiscal Year 2011 was a record year in property transfers from the US military’s stockpiles to police departments around the nation.” The ACLU report notes: “the Department of Defense operates the 1033 Program through the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), whose motto is ‘from warfighter to crimefighter.’” The Justice Department has an entire program devoted to “supporting military veterans and the law enforcement agencies that hire them as our veterans seek to transition into careers as law enforcement officers.”
As part of America’s posture of Endless War, Americans have been trained to believe that everything is justified on the “battlefield” (now defined to mean “the whole world”): imprisonment without charges, kidnapping, torture, even assassination of U.S. citizens without trials. It is not hard to predict the results of importing this battlefield mentality onto American soil, aimed at American citizens: “From Warfighter to Crimefighter.” The results have been clear for those who have looked – or those who have been subject to this – for years. The events in Ferguson are, finally, forcing all Americans to watch the outcome of this process.
Attachments area

Jim Hightower, The Absurdly Dangerous Militarization of America's Police.    Other Words , Reader Supported News, January 9, 2014.
Hightower writes: "Wait, are the good people of Bastrop facing some imminent terrorist threat that warrants military equipment?"

They say they are immune to public records requests about deadly force, incident reports, and more because they are private "corporations."

SWAT Teams Claim 'Corporate' Exemption From Public Scrutiny

ACLU hits brick wall after issuing public records requests for information about deadly force, incident reports, and more.

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer.  Common Dreams, June 28, 2014

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Ferguson is facing military occupation and the Marriott Hotel is hosting a program that makes this possible.


The militarized lockdown and brutal attack on Ferguson's Black community is not an anomaly. Police repression is growing across the US and globally through coordinated efforts to militarize policing tactics and weapons.   
Local police departments are now directly funded by the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. From September 4th-8th, one such DHS-backed program, Urban Shield, will be hosted by Oakland's Marriott Hotel. This weekend - including SWAT training, national and transnational police networking, and weaponry sales - is coordinated by the Urban Areas Security Intiative (UASI.) UASI is an initative in which the St. Louis area police actively participate. The military tanks, tear-gas, rubber bullets and SWAT armor attacking the people of Ferguson are there because of these programs:Resist the occupation of Ferguson by stopping Urban Shield.
**ACT NOW: Demand the Marriott not host!**
People across communities are rising up to resist policing. We cannot allow this engine of state repression to continue. Take a stand with WRL and our partners in Oakland to oppose Marriott's profiteering from the militarized repression of our communities. Sign and share this petition as a nonviolent demonstration of people power!

(Photo above by Scott Olson/Getty)

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US/MEXICO BORDER LOW-INTENSITY WARFARE, Google Search, Page One, August 17, 2014
The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992: Low-Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home (Cmas Border & Migration Studies Series) [Timothy J.
by M Jimenez - ‎2000 - ‎Cited by 2 - ‎Related articles
Mexico border is with community-based organizations to document human ... increased militarization, which is conceptualized under the low-intensity conflict.
Timothy Dunn, author of The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 19781992: Low-Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home, is the premiere theorist of border ...
International Socialist Review
The matrix of disequilibrium produced by the U.S.-Mexico border offers portable .... ofborder enforcement to “Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC),” a U.S. military doctrine ...
Tony Payan - 2006 - ‎History
And shortly after, all activity across the border came to a halt. ... went on to Iraq had also intensified the ongoing low intensity conflict on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mother Jones
Jul 11, 2013 - On the US-Mexican border, there are already more than 18,500 agents ... part, in response to the Pentagon's low-intensity conflict doctrine.
Barnes & Noble
Tim Dunn examines these policies and practices in detail, and considers them in light of the strategy and tactics of the Pentagon doctrine of "low-intensity conflict ...
From San Diego to the Rio Grande Valley, US soldiers are on duty. ... These are scenes from an intensifying campaign being waged on the US-Mexican border. ... presence at the border is, he said, a low-intensity warfare against immigrants.

US Border Agents Intentionally Stepped in Front of Moving Vehicles to Justify Shooting at Them 
Steven Hsieh, The Nation , Reader Supported New, March 2, 2014
Hsieh reports: "The Los Angeles Times obtained an internal review of US Border Patrol's use-of-force policies, which US Customs and Border Protection has refused to release publicly (members of Congress have seen a summary)." 
Dear Dick, 
Here is a new Progressive Secretary letter. You will be able to edit your name, address, etc. in the next step.
This letter supports a campaign by asking President Obama to stop using murder as a response to rock-throwing at the US-Mexican border.
Our letter will be sent to the President.
Our Border Patrol is countering rock-throwing civilians with lethal force.  Human rights groups are outraged by the increasing number of deaths inflicted by enforcement officers. In other countries, rock throwing is often countered with tasers or an unpleasant chemical that can be sprayed on people or cars.

A recent independent review of our Border Patrol recommended further training and better record keeping, which is all very well. But without acting to curb Border Patrol violence, we are sending the message that killing Latin Americans is acceptable.

North America needs to show the world that we value peoples' lives. Let's explore other means of responding to rock throwers.

President Obama, please intercede at once to end this irresponsible violence.
Click here to send this letter or to learn more (you can edit the subject or the letter itself in the next step, if you wish).
Sincerely, Kathie Turner, Executive Director


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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)