The Military-Local-Police-Industrial-Complex

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The events in Ferguson, MO have highlighted the fact that many local police forces have heavy equipment -- much of it surplus military supplies. Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director of the ACLU and director of the ACLU’s Center for Justice, discusses the year-long investigation into police tactics that found what it calls "excessive" militarization. And Sebastian Walker, correspondent for Al Jazeera America’s documentary program, "Fault Lines," reports on the tactics he saw this past week in Ferguson, from riot gear to tear gas and more.


Vanita Gupta and Sebastian Walker

Comments [11]

WHO were the people who gave authority for the program federal programs? You guys never ever tell us WHOOOOO only the what and we know that. These policies are not self created. Someone has to come up and say "boss I got an idea." Geeze you guys are real goof offs and I have friends at NPR. I was taught who, what , where , when and how...when I wrote a story.

It isn't Only about race, which I believe is a real problem, it's about class. It's a way to protect the 1% against the disparity in income and to quell any thought of "arab" or 1968 uprisings in our Country. I was reminded about this by a black man who is a friend and much wiser than I.
Protests are tolerated as long as they change NOTHING.

Aug. 20 2014 10:59 AM
WB from Upper East

If they are upset about not enough African American cops, then African Americans need to join the police force. Rioting and violent outbursts that cripple the economy of a city doesn't address this problem.

Aug. 20 2014 10:52 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Are there instances in which cops need high powered military grade equipment? If so, what are they? Under such circumstances, what is proper procedure?...We need to know how to have effective national discourse about critical issues.

And caller John's distinctions between lethal and non-lethal guns misses the point: The cops LOOK militarized to lawfully protesting citizens,which engenders anger and resentment, which is was ignited Ferguson.

And Oscar: There is no evidence whatsoever that Jesus had long hair.

Aug. 20 2014 10:51 AM
Mike from NY

These do not look like paint ball guns

Aug. 20 2014 10:48 AM

Bean-bag guns or not, even a military man on the radio yesterday said you never aim a weapon at people until you're ready to use it. It's very aggressive! Not even soldiers do that.

Aug. 20 2014 10:46 AM

The militarization of police is not just a hardware issue - there's also a software part, too. Yesterday on Morning Edition, the head of the police training academy in Washington state said we've gone from training beat cops to making Robocops. Let's also talk about police training, not just armored troop carriers and assault rifles.

Some of this military equipment might actually be sensible sometimes, but only if the police know when to use it - and more importantly, when not to use it!

Aug. 20 2014 10:34 AM
david from NYC

The 1% want them(the police) ready for when the bricks head for their windows.

Aug. 20 2014 10:34 AM
Jim from NJ

Just this past July:

Bergen County sheriff gets U.S. approval for pair of armored military vehicles.

Aug. 20 2014 10:34 AM

FWIW...the "crazy" people were talking about this 5 years ago. Might NOT hurt to consider the alternate media sometimes.

Aug. 20 2014 10:33 AM

Police is using force continuum standard in any confrontation. This allows them to use a baton against an unarmed attacker or a gun against an attacker with knife. Of course, they can skip some steps and use lethal force if they feel a life is in danger.

The other day I've heard on NPR a military expert talking about American passport-holding ISIS combatants coming back from the Middle East and shooting up schools and shopping malls. So, I am glad that our police departments are ready for this scenario.

Aug. 20 2014 10:21 AM
oscar from ny

..police officers are not above the law..the city pays your salary ..your not the judge and executioner ..your here to make peace not war, have respect and courtesy and professionalism.. If you see crime happening don't try to be a hero..that's why the good lord made backup ..even if you see bin laden you still have to take him to court..what if you see Jesus with long hair and a beard and hes sort of dark almost mulatto hanging out and say he j walks ..a young "forgetaboutit" cop who had too much coffee and is defending the universe goes and beats the hell out of him kills him than tries to get answers that's not the way it works Mr and missis city..Mr Ratton I'm sure is a brilliant man and a great man but the logistics of how to conduct police business than he has to realize that the times have the cops on proper manner to deal with crime..stop watching and doing what you think is right but do what's right..or else you will see that revenge no matter how sweet it is can be deadly and ugly ..haven't you read the paper?..yes that's what cops around the states are heading please if you see Godzilla destroy the holiest place in NY..calk for backup just might save Godzilla and you..

Aug. 20 2014 09:56 AM

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