Archive for the 'Police Militarization' Category

How “Protect & Serve” Became “Search & Destroy”

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

The information and video below were shared by Mike, who’s involved with Brave New Films.

Ever wonder why police look like soldiers? With the 1033 Programs, “Protect and Serve” Became “Search and Destroy” WATCH MORE: http://youtu.be/utjxA3GQF5A?list=PLQ9…
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Quick facts on Police Militarization:

• Pentagon’s Excess Property Program (1033 Program) has supplied police departments across the country with more than $4.3 billion in gear since 1997. This includes $449 million in 2013.

• St. Louis County, where Ferguson is located, received two military vehicles, a trailer, a generator, 12 5.56-millimeter rifles and six .45 caliber pistols from the Pentagon.

• Military style police raids have increased in recent years, with one count putting the number at 80,000 such raids last year.

• In SWAT style raids, people of color are most affected – 37% were Black, 12% Latino, and 19% White. Race was not known for the remainder.

Police militarization grew out of our failed drug war. Does a town of 2,200 need a massive military tank? Why does the police department in Dundee Michigan need a MRAP (Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle)? They don’t. Military grade gear does not improve the safety and security in small towns. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel must end the flow of military grade gear from the Pentagon to our local communities. It’s time for the militarizing of police to end.

Last month, protests in Ferguson, MO turned violent after police showed up in full SWAT gear after fellow officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. But Ferguson isn’t the only community receiving military grade weaponry from the Pentagon.

We need to roll back programs 1033, 1122, and the National Defense Authorization Act. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri will chair a subcommittee hearing tomorrow on Capitol Hill looking into police militarization.

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SIGN THE PETITION: http://stoppolicemilitary.org

Click here to watch more: http://youtu.be/KTF_a1DuIyE?list=PLQ9…

ABOUT BRAVE NEW FILMS
Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films are at the forefront of the fight to create a just America. Using new media and internet video campaigns, Brave New Films has created a quick-strike capability that informs the public, challenges corporate media with the truth, and motivates people to take action on social issues nationwide. Brave New Films’ investigative films have scrutinized the impact of U.S. drone strikes; the war on whistleblowers; and Wal Mart’s corporate practices. The company’s films have received more than 56 million views online. For more information, visit http://www.bravenewfilms.org/, watch videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/bravenew… , and follow them at https://twitter.com/bravenewfilms and Robert Greenwald at https://twitter.com/robertgreenwald .

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How “Protect & Serve” Became “Search & Destroy” is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

To Terrify and Occupy: How the Excessive Militarization of the Police Is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Patti Silliman shared a link via CopBlock.org/Submit to a piece authored by  Matthew Harwood, which opened by outlining the needless killing of Jason Westcott. Harwood’s entire write-up seemed worth sharing with readers of CopBlock.org, thus he was contacted via Twitter and asked if it could be cross-posted. Harwood agreed.

To Terrify and Occupy: How the Excessive Militarization of the Police Is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents

by Matthew Harwood, originally posted to TomDispatch.com on August 14, 2014.On Twitter, follow Matthew Harwood @MHarwood31 and Tom Dispatch

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott’s handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Around 7:30 pm on May 27th, the intruders arrived. Westcott followed the officers’ advice, grabbed his gun to defend his home, and died pointing it at the intruders.  They used a semiautomatic shotgun and handgun to shoot down the 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic.  He was hit three times, once in the arm and twice in his side, and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

The intruders, however, weren’t small-time crooks looking to make a small score. Rather they were members of the Tampa Police Department’s SWAT team, which was executing a search warrant on suspicion that Westcott and his partner were marijuana dealers. They had been tipped off by a confidential informant, whom they drove to Westcott’s home four times between February and May to purchase small amounts of marijuana, at $20-$60 a pop. The informer notified police that he saw two handguns in the home, which was why the Tampa police deployed a SWAT team to execute the search warrant.

In the end, the same police department that told Westcott to protect his home with defensive force killed him when he did. After searching his small rental, the cops indeed found weed, two dollars’ worth, and one legal handgun — the one he was clutching when the bullets ripped into him.

Welcome to a new era of American policing, where cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory, often with the help of Uncle Sam’s armory, and where even nonviolent crimes are met with overwhelming force and brutality.

The War on Your Doorstep

The cancer of militarized policing has long been metastasizing in the body politic.  It has been growing ever stronger since the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were born in the 1960s in response to that decade’s turbulent mix of riots, disturbances, and senseless violence like Charles Whitman’s infamous clock-tower rampage in Austin, Texas.

While SWAT isn’t the only indicator that the militarization of American policing is increasing, it is the most recognizable. The proliferation of SWAT teams across the country and their paramilitary tactics have spread a violent form of policing designed for the extraordinary but in these years made ordinary. When the concept of SWAT arose out of the Philadelphia and Los Angeles Police Departments, it was quickly picked up by big city police officials nationwide.  Initially, however, it was an elite force reserved for uniquely dangerous incidents, such as active shooters, hostage situations, or large-scale disturbances.

Nearly a half-century later, that’s no longer true.

In 1984, according to Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop, about 26% of towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 had SWAT teams. By 2005, that number had soared to 80% and it’s still rising, though SWAT statistics are notoriously hard to come by.

As the number of SWAT teams has grown nationwide, so have the raids. Every year now, there are approximately 50,000 SWAT raids in the United States, according to Professor Pete Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies. In other words, roughly 137 times a day a SWAT team assaults a home and plunges its inhabitants and the surrounding community into terror.

Upping the Racial Profiling Ante

In a recently released report, “War Comes Home,” the American Civil Liberties Union (my employer) discovered that nearly 80% of all SWAT raids it reviewed between 2011 and 2012 were deployed to execute a search warrant.

Pause here a moment and consider that these violent home invasions are routinely used against people who are only suspected of a crime. Up-armored paramilitary teams now regularly bash down doors in search of evidence of a possible crime. In other words, police departments increasingly choose a tactic that often results in injury and property damage as its first option, not the one of last resort. In more than 60% of the raids the ACLU investigated, SWAT members rammed down doors in search of possible drugs, not to save a hostage, respond to a barricade situation, or neutralize an active shooter.

On the other side of that broken-down door, more often than not, are blacks and Latinos. When the ACLU could identify the race of the person or people whose home was being broken into, 68% of the SWAT raids against minorities were for the purpose of executing a warrant in search of drugs. When it came to whites, that figure dropped to 38%, despite the well-known fact that blacks, whites, and Latinos all use drugs at roughly the same rates. SWAT teams, it seems, have a disturbing record of disproportionately applying their specialized skill set within communities of color.

Think of this as racial profiling on steroids in which the humiliation of stop and frisk is raised to a terrifying new level.

Everyday Militarization

Don’t think, however, that the military mentality and equipment associated with SWAT operations are confined to those elite units. Increasingly, they’re permeating all forms of policing.

As Karl Bickel, a senior policy analyst with the Justice Department’s Community Policing Services office, observes, police across America are being trained in a way that emphasizes force and aggression. He notes that recruit training favors a stress-based regimen that’s modeled on military boot camp rather than on the more relaxed academic setting a minority of police departments still employ. The result, he suggests, is young officers who believe policing is about kicking ass rather than working with the community to make neighborhoods safer. Or as comedian Bill Maher reminded officers recently: “The words on your car, ‘protect and serve,’ refer to us, not you.”

This authoritarian streak runs counter to the core philosophy that supposedly dominates twenty-first-century American thinking: community policing.  Its emphasis is on a mission of “keeping the peace” by creating and maintaining partnerships of trust with and in the communities served. Under the community model, which happens to be the official policing philosophy of the U.S. government, officers are protectors but also problem solvers who are supposed to care, first and foremost, about how their communities see them. They don’t command respect, the theory goes: they earn it. Fear isn’t supposed to be their currency. Trust is.

Nevertheless, police recruiting videos, as in those from California’s Newport Beach Police Department and New Mexico’s Hobbs Police Department, actively play up not the community angle but militarization as a way of attracting young men with the promise of Army-style adventure and high-tech toys. Policing, according to recruiting videos like these, isn’t about calmly solving problems; it’s about you and your boys breaking down doors in the middle of the night.

SWAT’s influence reaches well beyond that.  Take the increasing adoption of battle-dress uniforms (BDUs) for patrol officers. These militaristic, often black, jumpsuits, Bickel fears, make them less approachable and possibly also more aggressive in their interactions with the citizens they’re supposed to protect.

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A small project at Johns Hopkins University seemed to bear this out. People were shown pictures of police officers in their traditional uniforms and in BDUs. Respondents, the survey indicated, would much rather have a police officer show up in traditional dress blues. Summarizing its findings, Bickel writes, “The more militaristic look of the BDUs, much like what is seen in news stories of our military in war zones, gives rise to the notion of our police being an occupying force in some inner city neighborhoods, instead of trusted community protectors.”

Where Do They Get Those Wonderful Toys?

“I wonder if I can get in trouble for doing this,” the young man says to his buddy in the passenger seat as they film the Saginaw County Sheriff Office’s new toy: a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. As they film the MRAP from behind, their amateur video has a Red Dawn-esque feel, as if an occupying military were now patrolling this Michigan county’s streets. “This is getting ready for f**king crazy times, dude,” one young man comments. “Why,” his friend replies, “has our city gotten that f**king bad?”

In fact, nothing happening in Saginaw County warranted the deployment of an armored vehicle capable of withstanding bullets and the sort of improvised explosive devices that insurgent forces have regularly planted along roads in America’s recent war zones.  Sheriff William Federspiel, however, fears the worst. “As sheriff of the county, I have to put ourselves in the best position to protect our citizens and protect our property,” he told a reporter. “I have to prepare for something disastrous.”

RELATED Content Tagged “MRAP” at CopBlock.org: http://www.copblock.org/?s=mrap

Lucky for Federspiel, his exercise in paranoid disaster preparedness didn’t cost his office a penny. That $425,000 MRAP came as a gift, courtesy of Uncle Sam, from one of our far-flung counterinsurgency wars. The nasty little secret of policing’s militarization is that taxpayers are subsidizing it through programs overseen by the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department.

Take the 1033 program. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) may be an obscure agency within the Department of Defense, but through the 1033 program, which it oversees, it’s one of the core enablers of American policing’s excessive militarization. Beginning in 1990, Congress authorized the Pentagon to transfer its surplus property free of charge to federal, state, and local police departments to wage the war on drugs. In 1997, Congress expanded the purpose of the program to include counterterrorism in section 1033 of the defense authorization bill. In one single page of a 450-page law, Congress helped sow the seeds of today’s warrior cops.

The amount of military hardware transferred through the program has grown astronomically over the years. In 1990, the Pentagon gave $1 million worth of equipment to U.S. law enforcement. That number had jumped to nearly $450 million in 2013. Overall, the program has shipped off more than $4.3 billion worth of materiel to state and local cops, according to the DLA.

In its recent report, the ACLU found a disturbing range of military gear being transferred to civilian police departments nationwide. Police in North Little Rock, Arkansas, for instance, received 34 automatic and semi-automatic rifles, two robots that can be armed, military helmets, and a Mamba tactical vehicle. Police in Gwinnet County, Georgia, received 57 semi-automatic rifles, mostly M-16s and M-14s. The Utah Highway Patrol, according to a Salt Lake City Tribune investigation, got an MRAP from the 1033 program, and Utah police received 1,230 rifles and four grenade launchers. After South Carolina’s Columbia Police Department received its very own MRAP worth $658,000, its SWAT Commander Captain E.M. Marsh noted that 500 similar vehicles had been distributed to law enforcement organizations across the country.

aurora-police-department-1033-program-copblock

Astoundingly, one-third of all war materiel parceled out to state, local, and tribal police agencies is brand new. This raises further disconcerting questions: Is the Pentagon simply wasteful when it purchases military weapons and equipment with taxpayer dollars? Or could this be another downstream, subsidized market for defense contractors? Whatever the answer, the Pentagon is actively distributing weaponry and equipment made for U.S. counterinsurgency campaigns abroad to police who patrol American streets and this is considered sound policy in Washington. The message seems striking enough: what might be necessary for Kabul might also be necessary for DeKalb County.

In other words, the twenty-first-century war on terror has melded thoroughly with the twentieth-century war on drugs, and the result couldn’t be anymore disturbing: police forces that increasingly look and act like occupying armies.

How the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice Are Up-Armoring the Police

When police departments look to muscle up their arms and tactics, the Pentagon isn’t the only game in town. Civilian agencies are in on it, too.

During a 2011 investigation, reporters Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz discovered that, since 9/11, police departments watching over some of the safest places in America have used $34 billion in grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to militarize in the name of counterterrorism.

In Fargo, North Dakota, for example, the city and its surrounding county went on an $8 million spending spree with federal money, according to Becker and Schulz. Although the area averaged less than two murders a year since 2005, every squad car is now armed with an assault rifle. Police also have access to Kevlar helmets that can stop heavy firepower as well as an armored truck worth approximately $250,000. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1,500 beat cops have been trained to use AR-15 assault rifles with homeland security grant funding.

As with the 1033 program, neither DHS nor state and local governments account for how the equipment, including body armor and drones, is used. While the rationale behind stocking up on these military-grade supplies is invariably the possibility of a terrorist attack, school shooting, or some other horrific event, the gear is normally used to conduct paramilitary drug raids, as Balko notes.

the-rise-of-the-warrior-copb-radley-balko-copblock

The Rise of the Warrior Cop, by Radley Balko

Still, the most startling source of police militarization is the Department of Justice, the very agency officially dedicated to spreading the community policing model through its Community Oriented Policing Services office.

In 1988, Congress authorized the Byrne grant programs in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which gave state and local police federal funds to enlist in the government’s drug war. That grant program, according to Balko, led to the creation of regional and multi-jurisdictional narcotics task forces, which gorged themselves on federal money and, with little federal, state, or local oversight, spent it beefing up their weapons and tactics. In 2011, 585 of these task forces operated off of Byrne grant funding.

The grants, Balko reports, also incentivized the type of policing that has made the war on drugs such a destructive force in American society. The Justice Department doled out Byrne grants based on how many arrests officers made, how much property they seized, and how many warrants they served. The very things these narcotics task forces did very well. “As a result,” Balko writes, “we have roving squads of drug cops, loaded with SWAT gear, who get money if they conduct more raids, make more arrests, and seize more property, and they are virtually immune to accountability if they get out of line.”

Regardless of whether this militarization has occurred due to federal incentives or executive decision-making in police departments or both, police across the nation are up-armoring with little or no public debate. In fact, when the ACLU requested SWAT records from 255 law enforcement agencies as part of its investigation, 114 denied them. The justifications for such denials varied, but included arguments that the documents contained “trade secrets” or that the cost of complying with the request would be prohibitive. Communities have a right to know how the police do their jobs, but more often than not, police departments think otherwise.

Being the Police Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Report by report, evidence is mounting that America’s militarized police are a threat to public safety. But in a country where the cops increasingly look upon themselves as soldiers doing battle day in, day out, there’s no need for public accountability or even an apology when things go grievously wrong.

If community policing rests on mutual trust between the police and the people, militarized policing operates on the assumption of “officer safety” at all costs and contempt for anyone who sees things differently. The result is an “us versus them” mentality.

Just ask the parents of Bou Bou Phonesavanh. Around 3:00 a.m. on May 28th, the Habersham County Special Response Team conducted a no-knock raid at a relative’s home near Cornelia, Georgia, where the family was staying. The officers were looking for the homeowner’s son, whom they suspected of selling $50 worth of drugs to a confidential informant.  As it happened, he no longer lived there.

Despite evidence that children were present — a minivan in the driveway, children’s toys littering the yard, and a Pack ‘n Play next to the door — a SWAT officer tossed a “flashbang” grenade into the home. It landed in 19-month-old Bou Bou’s crib and exploded, critically wounding the toddler. When his distraught mother tried to reach him, officers screamed at her to sit down and shut up, telling her that her child was fine and had just lost a tooth. In fact, his nose was hanging off his face, his body had been severely burned, and he had a hole in his chest. Rushed to the hospital, Bou Bou had to be put into a medically induced coma.

The police claimed that it was all a mistake and that there had been no evidence children were present. “There was no malicious act performed,” Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was a terrible accident that was never supposed to happen.” The Phonesavanhs have yet to receive an apology from the sheriff’s office. “Nothing. Nothing for our son. No card. No balloon. Not a phone call. Not anything,” Bou Bou’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, told CNN.

Similarly, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor continues to insist that Jay Westcott’s death in the militarized raid on his house was his own fault.  “Mr. Westcott lost his life because he aimed a loaded firearm at police officers. You can take the entire marijuana issue out of the picture,” Castor said. “If there’s an indication that there is armed trafficking going on — someone selling narcotics while they are armed or have the ability to use a firearm — then the tactical response team will do the initial entry.”

In her defense of the SWAT raid, Castor simply dismissed any responsibility for Westcott’s death. “They did everything they could to serve this warrant in a safe manner,” she wrote the Tampa Bay Times – “everything,” that is, but find an alternative to storming the home of a man they knew feared for his life.

Almost half of all American households report having a gun, as the ACLU notes in its report. That means the police always have a ready-made excuse for using SWAT teams to execute warrants when less confrontational and less violent alternatives exist.

In other words, if police believe you’re selling drugs, beware. Suspicion is all they need to turn your world upside down. And if they’re wrong, don’t worry; the intent couldn’t have been better.

Voices in the Wilderness

The militarization of the police shouldn’t be surprising. As Hubert Williams, a former police director of Newark, New Jersey, and Patrick V. Murphy, former commissioner of the New York City Police Department, put it nearly 25 years ago, police are “barometers of the society in which they operate.” In post-9/11 America, that means police forces imbued with the “hooah” mentality of soldiers and acting as if they are fighting an insurgency in their own backyard.

While the pace of police militarization has quickened, there has at least been some pushback from current and former police officials who see the trend for what it is: the destruction of community policing. In Spokane, Washington, Councilman Mike Fagan, a former police detective, is pushing back against police officers wearing BDUs, calling the get-up “intimidating” to citizens. In Utah, the legislature passed a bill requiring probable cause before police could execute a no-knock raid. Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank has been a vocal critic of militarization, telling the local paper, “We’re not the military. Nor should we look like an invading force coming in.” Just recently, Chief Charlie Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department agreed with the ACLU and the Los Angeles Times editorial board that “the lines between municipal law enforcement and the U.S. military cannot be blurred.”

Retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper has also become an outspoken critic of militarizing police forces, noting “most of what police are called upon to do, day in and day out, requires patience, diplomacy, and interpersonal skills.” In other words, community policing. Stamper is the chief who green-lighted a militarized response to World Trade Organization protests in his city in 1999 (“The Battle in Seattle”). It’s a decision he would like to take back. “My support for a militaristic solution caused all hell to break loose,” he wrote in the Nation. “Rocks, bottles and newspaper racks went flying. Windows were smashed, stores were looted, fires lighted; and more gas filled the streets, with some cops clearly overreacting, escalating and prolonging the conflict.”

These former policemen and law enforcement officials understand that police officers shouldn’t be breaking down any citizen’s door at 3 a.m. armed with AR-15s and flashbang grenades in search of a small amount of drugs, while an MRAP idles in the driveway. The anti-militarists, however, are in the minority right now. And until that changes, violent paramilitary police raids will continue to break down the doors of nearly 1,000 American households a week.

War, once started, can rarely be contained.

To Terrify and Occupy: How the Excessive Militarization of the Police Is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

The $11.8B Militarization of Nevada’s Police Departments

Monday, September 29th, 2014
Ferguson Militarized Police

Nobody really saw much of a difference.

Note: This post was originally published at the Nevada Cop Block site.

After the heavy-handed and overzealous response to protesters by Ferguson police put the militarization of police in a national spotlight, it is becoming increasingly apparent just how much of a dotted line the boundary between the police and military has become over the past few years.

As Las Vegas’ CBS affiliate reports, Nevada police departments have been doing their share of feeding at the trough of leftovers generated by Washington’s perpetual wars over the past 20+ years:

“RENO, Nev. (AP) – Law enforcement agencies in Nevada have accumulated $11.8 million worth of military gear from the Pentagon through a surplus program under increasing scrutiny since the police response to protests over the killing of an unarmed Missouri teenager.

Picture Taken BEFORE the National Guard Troops Arrived in Ferguson

BEFORE the National Guard Troops Arrived in Ferguson

Defense Department records show over the past 17 years Nevada officers have received about 300 semi-automatic rifles, a half dozen mine-resistant and armored vehicles, three helicopters and a pair of grenade launchers.

Tod Story, head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada , says the militarization of local police sends the wrong signal to communities where officers are supposed to protect residents, “not assault them.”

Washoe County sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon says the Huey helicopter worth nearly $1 million they obtained in 1997 has helped save many lives during rescue and firefighting missions.”

The $11.8B Militarization of Nevada’s Police Departments is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Nevada Police Have Received $11.8M Worth of Military Gear

Saturday, September 20th, 2014
FergusonPolice 210x300 Nevada Police Have Received $11.8M Worth of Military Gear

Nobody really saw much of a difference.

After the heavy-handed and overzealous response to protesters by Ferguson police put the militarization of police in a national spotlight, it is becoming increasingly apparent just how much of a dotted line the boundary between the police and military has become over the past few years.

As Las Vegas’ CBS affiliate reports, Nevada police departments have been doing their share of feeding at the trough of leftovers generated by Washington’s perpetual wars over the past 20+ years:

“RENO, Nev. (AP) – Law enforcement agencies in Nevada have accumulated $11.8 million worth of military gear from the Pentagon through a surplus program under increasing scrutiny since the police response to protests over the killing of an unarmed Missouri teenager.

Defense Department records show over the past 17 years Nevada officers have received about 300 semi-automatic rifles, a half dozen mine-resistant and armored vehicles, three helicopters and a pair of grenade launchers.

PoliceRocketLauncher 300x300 Nevada Police Have Received $11.8M Worth of Military Gear

Picture Taken BEFORE the National Guard Troops Arrived in Ferguson

Tod Story, head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada , says the militarization of local police sends the wrong signal to communities where officers are supposed to protect residents, “not assault them.”

Washoe County sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon says the Huey helicopter worth nearly $1 million they obtained in 1997 has helped save many lives during rescue and firefighting missions.”

 

Thanks for reading. Nevada Police Have Received $11.8M Worth of Military Gear is a post from Nevada Cop Block

Taking Over the Police State, One App at a Time

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

The post below, written by Michael Georgiou, points to a handful of apps that can help us safeguard our rights and focus attention on aggressors.

Through objective video or audio, or by sharing details of individual police employees who act in the wrong, we can ensure the narrative of the situation is not controlled by self-proclaimed rulers.

For other apps thought sound, see CopBlock.org/Apps And if you’ve not filmed the police but recognize the value, see CopBlock.org/FilmThePolice

Be sure, if you download any of these apps, to test the functionality so you can operate them effortlessly if and when confronted by a hostile situation. Also, be sure, if you’re saving content to your phone (as opposed to streaming it off-site) to always have enough free space to record for 15min+.

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by Michael Georgiou

The massive unrest in Ferguson, Missouri on the heels of the killing of an unarmed teenager by a police officer has been a wake-up call for many in the US. Yes, it’s a free country. And no, we should not have to fear the police. But often times, as this event is a sad reminder of, we need to protect ourselves from the cops.

We don’t want to speculate about the intentions of the police behind the actions they have recently taken, but it’s clear that certain communities do find themselves targeted as a result of this increasing “police militarization.”

In response, the American people have reacted strongly across the country and on the social media. It’s also very fitting (given the tech-driven times we live in) that this event has brought to light a string of mobile applications that aim at documenting and reporting police brutality.
Let’s look at a few such apps and the intentions behind them. We also look at why they are necessary today.

five-o-app-copblockFive-O

Download: Android

The story of three teen siblings from Georgia who came up with this app (still in the beta stage) has been widely documented.
Ima (14), Caleb (15), and Asha Christian (16) deserve tremendous credit for showing the imagination to design an app that aims to “document police abuse.”

The Five-O had been in development for a few months when Michael Brown was shot dead. His death shone a light on the efforts of the Christian siblings and they are now receiving support to develop the app.

The app allows users to “rate, review and store the details of their interactions with local law enforcement officers.” This includes any run-ins you may have with them. As more and more users rate various officers and departments, the app then aggregates the scores to bring you the general rating of police officers and counties based on their courtesy and professionalism.

The idea is for the people to identify the officers and departments that perform well, as well as those that abuse their authority. Bringing the negligent or abusive officers/departments to light in this fashion, the app makers hope, will trigger departmental reviews and promote fairer practices.

Ratings are subjective affairs, so we are not sure how the app gauges the fairness of the input of a complainant. It is too soon to comment on the effectiveness of this app; however, it is heartening to see young people taking an interest in making their communities a safer and fairer place.

stop-and-frisk-app-copblockStop and Frisk Watch

Download: Android

Download: iOS

This is an app by the New York Civil Liberties Union, aiming to document the stop-and-frisk practices carried out by the NYPD.

As per the Fourth Amendment, cops can stop and search those they suspect of carrying out a crime. If the police suspect you are armed, dangerous, or are carrying drugs, they can stop you, question you, and frisk you — pat you down over your outer clothing — to make sure you’re clean.

This stop-question-and-frisk policy of the NYPD hasn’t gone down well with common people or activists. Protestors have alleged that those of certain ethnicities are targeted more than others, and many have called for a complete stop to this practice, which is seen as humiliating and discriminatory. But despite the outcry, the practice goes on.

With this app users can record stop-and-frisk encounters and send them to the NYCLU with the details related to the incidents. The app also alerts other users in the vicinity about police stops, as well as lets you report incidents even if you did not record them.

If you are confronted by the cops when filming them, just show them the app’s in-built ‘Know Your Rights’ section and they should leave you alone.

aclu-nj-police-tape-app-copblockACLU-NJ Police Tape

Download: Android

Download: iOS


This app, as the name suggests, is an initiative by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. It’s a simple and easy-to-use application which lets the users in New Jersey record their interactions with the police. It also contains a ‘Know Your Rights’ section, similar to that found in Stop and Frisk Watch, which the users can refer to when dealing with cops.

So if you live in New Jersey and are stopped by a cop without any reason and asked to provide your ID, you have the option of turning on this app to make a video or audio recording of the encounter. The app is built so that you can do this discreetly. The recording is then sent to ACLU-NJ for a review of any possible violations of your civil liberties. Since all the files are saved externally, they cannot be permanently deleted by the police even if they snatch your phone.

cop-recorder-2-app-copblockCop Recorder 2

Download: Android
Download: iOS


This is another app that can be used to record the behavior of cops, as well as that of TSA officials and military men and women. This app records the video discreetly, meaning there is no sign of a recording going on. It is then uploaded to openwatch.net where you can share it anonymously and bring to light police high-handedness, abuse, or corruption that you’ve witnessed or been a victim of.

Conclusion

Don’t we just love it when technology helps us make a difference for the better in the society? Such efforts are to be lauded. These apps are far from perfect, and are fighting bugs of their own, but they are a welcome step in the right direction as a police state is a worrying possibility, and for some, already a reality. We need many more such apps to be developed and put forth for public use all over America.

Author Bio:

Michael Georgiou M.A of Business Communications, Marketing/Advertising University of North Carolina at Pembroke Michael Georgiou is a dynamic business and marketing professional in the marketing division of Wilson Law, PA based in Raleigh, NC. He is an entrepreneurial guru with a proven success record in creative strategy, online branding, project management, and communication projects in both public and private sectors.

Taking Over the Police State, One App at a Time is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Military Hardware Not Welcomed in Lewis County, Washington

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

The content below was shared via CopBlock.org/Submit by those active with Peaceful Streets Lewis County.

Though the video encourages area residents to vote for a specific person, please do not consider it being posted here as an endorsement (either voting for the person mentioned or voting in general, as that merely grants legitimacy to the bad idea that says some are rulers and others ruled). That said, the content is shared as it shows that not all eager to becoming involved in the existing police apparatus are as keen on the militarization of police outfits.

Anyone prospective or current police employees are encouraged to check out the content at CopBlock.org/WelcomeLEOs and CopBlock.org/Library.

___________________

This video was compiled by a local sheriff’s candidate in opposition of the rampant militarization of police departments. While it focuses on local issues, the content is applicable nationwide.

Peaceful Streets Lewis County

Peaceful Streets Lewis County is part of a grass roots organization seeking to bring greater awareness to police accountability and educating the public.

Centralia Police Outfit

Lewis County Sheriff’s Outfit

This Tuesday, September 2nd, at 7:30 PM Brian Green and some involved with Peaceful Streets Lewis County will be meeting at Jeremy’s Restaurant, 576 West Main St. in Chehalis, to discuss civil rights, asset forfeiture, dealing with the court system, your constitutional rights, and more.

peaceful-streets-lewis-county-washington-brian-green-event-copblock

___________________

To see just one of the more visible facets of police militarization, consider the distribution of MRAPs to local police outfits, which includes one in Lewis County, WA.

MRAP Distribution within USSA by CopBlock

Military Hardware Not Welcomed in Lewis County, Washington is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Bill Scott, Father of Erik Who Was Killed by LVMPD Employees, Interviewed by Bill Buppert of ZeroGov.com

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

The text below was posted to ZeroGov.com on August 04 by Bill Buppert. It is cross-posted here per the obvious relevance of the matters it addresses.

Related:

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Ten Questions for Bill Scott, Author of The Permit
by Bill Buppert

I read Bill’s book, The Permit, and was aghast at the more intimate and grim details on his son’s murder by cops in Las Vegas in 2010 depicted in the novel. This site is no stranger to reports of predation and rampant misbehavior and mayhem wrought by American police today. My twitter posts three-five new incidents of cop brutality daily. The police state in the US may be the most far-reaching residual of the American War on Terror which has become a self-fulfilling Orwellian prophecy with the use of the campaign as a means to institutionalize maximum government to keep the tax cattle safe no matter the expense in liberty and freedom.

Bill has been kind enough to grant this interview with me.

Bill Scott is now a full-time author, writing techno-thriller novels. The latest is “The Permit,” which is based on the murder of his eldest son, Erik. He co-authored two other novels, “Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III,” and a sequel, “Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III,” plus one nonfiction book, “Inside the Stealth Bomber: The B-2 Story.”

Bill can be reached via the Contact section of my website, http://williambscott.com, or e-mail at: bill@williambscott.com.

While Bill and I may not agree on everything, we do agree that the US police state is a clear and present danger to any human being living within the borders of the US. -BB

Bill Buppert: Tell the readers some of your background.

Bill Scott: My wife and I have been married 44 years, and we were blessed with two incredible sons, Erik and Kevin.

In 2007, I retired as the Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief, concluding a 22-year career as a writer/reporter for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. I’m a Flight Test Engineer graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS), and flight-tested aircraft for 12 years, both as an Air Force officer and civilian FTE. My undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering. While on USAF active duty, I flew classified nuclear debris-sampling/collection missions, served as an R&D engineer with the National Security Agency, and was a flight test instrumentation engineer, prior to being selected for USAF TPS. As a civil pilot with a commercial certificate and instrument and multi-engine ratings, flight test engineer, AvWeek reporter, and USAF aircrew member, I logged about 2,000 hours of flight time in 80 different types of aircraft.

Bill Buppert: Many condolences on the loss of your son; I read Erik’s story when it first happened in 2010 and then read your cathartic novel, The Permit, which fleshed out more details in a fictional narrative of the murder of your son by Las Vegas Metro cops and the subsequent cover-up. Were you surprised at the cover-up, stonewalling and general nastiness of the police after they murdered your son?

Bill Scott: Yes, very surprised. Before Erik was shot to death, I was one of those naïve American military veterans, who thought all but a few rogue police officers also were honest public servants dedicated to protecting and serving. I quickly learned that cowardice, corruption and cover-up were the standard for about a third of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department—including the sheriff, Doug Gillespie, and his chief cover-up “spook,” Captain Patrick Neville. I arrived in Vegas two days after Erik was murdered, convinced that a sloppy, transparent cover-up was well underway. When I asked, “Why would they cover up an officer-involved shooting, which appears to be a massive screw-up, not an intentional murder?” my lawyer, several of Erik’s friends, and long-time Vegas residents looked at me as if I’d parachuted in from Mars. They unanimously replied, “Because they always cover up their murders! There’s nothing special about Erik!”

Bill Buppert: Most Americans are living in what I consider an illusion in thinking the police protect and serve anyone but the rulers and bureaucracy of the various levels of government. This especially appears to be the case with the consistently egregious behavior of the LVM. Do you consider the LVM to be a viciously compromised and self-serving entity?

Bill Scott: Most definitely. Las Vegas Metro PD is an integral arm of the Clark County/Las Vegas Cartel of Corruption, which comprises billionaires, powerful politicians, immoral, appalling cops, a complicit district attorney’s office, compromised judges, the coroner’s office (which now encompasses Public Administrator functions), and an absolutely venal, obstructionist police union. This cartel is controlled by a Cleveland branch of the Mafia or Mob, which has its dirty paws in several of the big resort-hotels and casinos.

In short, this Cartel uses LVMPD cops as its enforcers of evil, ranging from stealing the wealth of elderly citizens to beating and executing those who can’t pay gambling debts, and forcing runaway kids into child sex rings. Paying off low-IQ cops is more sophisticated than hiring a bunch of knee-breaking “Guidos,” as the Mob does back East. Instead, the Las Vegas Cartel developed a quasi-legal “coroner inquest” system that guaranteed any murder committed by a police officer was found “Justified.” Since the late 1970s, about 200 coroner inquest hearings were held in Clark County, NV, billed as a quasi-judicial “fact-finding” exercise. Of course, not a single cop was ever found at fault. Every killing by a LV Metro cop was ruled “Justified.” Incredible.

Bill Buppert: Were you surprised at the cruel and nasty attitude and behavior of the LVM when you were attempting to get justice for Erik in the legal system?

Bill Scott: By the time we filed our lawsuits, I knew LVMPD would stop at nothing to protect their killer-cops and Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s reelection campaign. Good, honest cops said that my phones and e-mails were being monitored, thanks to the Vegas federal-state-local “Joint Fusion Center,” which routinely uses high-tech snooping technology, under the guise of counterterrorism. Metro detectives illegally broke into, and stole several guns from, Erik’s condo, twisted the facts of his medical records (Erik had 40% of his L5 vertebra broken off, a casualty of Army airborne training. He suffered severe back pain, after a fender-bender car accident that realigned his spine in late 2009.), tried to intimidate Erik’s ex-wife, harassed Erik’s then-girlfriend (three traffic tickets within three weeks of Erik’s murder), and cherry-picked witnesses for the coroner’s inquest hearing. Further, LVM cops illegally acquired court-sealed records from another state, which were clearly stamped by a judge, stating that the claims in a detective’s report “did not occur.”

Metro detectives even pursued laughable measures to gin up a patently false narrative about Erik carrying a “second gun,” when, in fact, he only had a single pistol on his person (a legal, concealed-carry weapon), when he was shot to death. His .45-caliber Kimber Ultra Carry semiautomatic was removed from the body, after Erik’s corpse had been loaded into an AMR ambulance. That firearm was then placed on the concrete, near the entrance-exit of Costco-Summerlin in Las Vegas, supposedly as “proof” that Erik had pulled it, still in its holster.

Ooops! The ambulance EMTs’ report documented a firearm and extra magazine found on Erik’s body. That little hiccup prompted a panicked effort to break into Erik’s condo and steal a “second gun” to comport with 1) a gun found on Erik’s body, and 2) a pistol, in its holster, being on the ground, after the shooting. In fact, the only item on the ground, after Erik was shot seven times, was his BlackBerry, which he had in his right hand. At least two of Erik’s pistols, and, possibly, two rifles were stolen from the condo. Then, brilliant Metro detectives fired a hole in the handle of a small (stolen) Ruger LCP, trying to imply the small gun was in my son’s jeans front pocket, which contained Erik’s 1.75-inches-thick wallet!

A detailed analysis conducted by Mike McDaniel, a former professional police and ex-SWAT officer, trainer and crime scene investigator, completely destroys Metro’s ludicrous “two-gun” narrative. That superb analysis is available (with photos of Erik’s firearms) on Mike’s blog: The Erik Scott Case: Update 19

Bill Buppert: Is a Coroner’s Inquest designed to protect the misbehavior and brutality of the police and its allies?

Bill Scott: In Las Vegas, NV, that’s absolutely true. The old Vegas inquest was a one-sided, bizarre perversion of due process, which made a mockery of American jurisprudence. We allowed Erik’s September 2010 inquest hearing to be televised and streamed over the Internet. Once Las Vegas citizens and thousands throughout America and many foreign countries witnessed, first-hand, this moronic kangaroo court in action, the outrage and blow-back that erupted forced a radical revision of the Clark County coroner’s inquest process. However, the Cartel of Corruption, through its proxy, an uber-arrogant Las Vegas Police Protective Association (police union), managed to put the new, revised inquest system on indefinite hold. Now, a corrupt district attorney, Steve Wolfson, reviews all officer-involved shootings and single-handedly rules whether they were justified or criminal. Over the past three years, Wolfson has found every single shooting “Justified.” Surprise! New system, same outcomes. The Cartel maintains iron-fisted control of the Southern Nevada “justice” system, ensuring Metro’s killer-cops always go free and never are held accountable for crimes that would imprison a “civilian” for life.

Bill Buppert: There are an estimated 19,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA; do you suspect the behavior and actions of the LVM are a microcosm of modern American policing?

Bill Scott: I do, given that cops across the nation routinely commit and get away with egregious murders and acts of raw brutality. The federal Patriot Act literally gave cops a license to kill, and many don’t hesitate to shoot. As a result, law enforcement now attracts an extraordinary number of bullies and brain-damaged, angry men and women. Many of these are totally devoid of courage and conscience, and are convinced they truly are above the law. They feel they can do anything they please, and can get away with it. Backed by obscene unions, today’s cops take great umbrage with anybody daring to question their judgment, tactics, use of force, and absurd accounts of an incident.

Bill Buppert: I suggest an evil trifecta of police misbehavior in police unions, officer safety mandates and qualified immunity to be core causes of the tragedy that is the US police state today bolstered by creeping militarization and Federalization. What do you think?

Bill Scott: I agree. As described in Chapter Ten of The Permit, law enforcement officers and agents of all stripes constitute the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat facing Americans today. Over the last few decades, cops and federal agents have killed more citizens than our nation lost at Pearl Harbor, on D-Day 1944, and on 9/11/2001…combined. An American citizen is now eight times more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist. And a police officer is 130 times more likely to be involved in an act of misconduct than to be killed in the line of duty.

Police unions leverage the power of money to elect, then control, politicians. With polished, proven rhetoric, unions have tricked well-meaning, yet hopelessly naïve, politicos into passing “Qualified Immunity” laws that virtually guarantee a killer-cop will never be held accountable for murdering an innocent “civilian”—as cops now refer to lowly taxpaying citizens. Juries rarely find a cop guilty of murder or wrongdoing, because the average jurist still believes the falsehood that cops are honest and would never lie. As any experienced courtroom lawyer will confirm, though, cops do lie, even under oath.

Add to that the totally unjustified, runaway militarization of local and state police departments—aided and abetted by federal dollars and military equipment—and we now have precisely what the nation’s founders tried to prevent: A standing domestic army that exists for the sole purpose of controlling the very people who pay the jackbooted thugs’ salaries. In the 21st Century, America truly has become a police state.

Bill Buppert: Absent a police power, how would a state deny individual freedom and liberty?

Bill Scott: By gutting the Second Amendment and disarming American citizens, removing the only sure, last-ditch means to resist a tyrannical government. Disarmament, in itself, would inspire a power-hungry tyrant to create his own police force. No politician would allow unarmed, vulnerable masses to live as they pleased.

erik-b-scott-slain-by-lvmpd-employees-zerogov-copblockBill Buppert: Any updates in the case with Erik?

Bill Scott: I’m still pursuing legal measures, and continuing to wage asymmetric war against the Cartel of Corruption that controls Las Vegas. I don’t talk about strategies, operations and tactics, but several battles have been relatively successful. I’m aided by a small number of motivated, well-connected allies, who are quietly working behind the scenes. I’m not privy to their campaign strategies, but am assured that the Vegas Cartel and its killer-cop drones are literally living on borrowed days. I couldn’t halt these warriors’ strikes-for-justice, if I wanted to.

Bill Buppert: I hope The Permit has been well received. I would urge my readers to buy the book and, if possible, review it on Amazon. Has it caused the reaction you expected? Do you still receive threats from the LVM?

Bill Scott: Many thanks for the endorsement, Bill. National sales of the novel continue to build steadily, thanks to overwhelmingly positive reviews, particularly on Amazon. In Las Vegas, reactions from Cartel entities are basically what we expected: Ignore the book and pretend it doesn’t exist, or, when pressed, demean and dismiss it as irrelevant. Fortunately, criticism and patronizing dismissal by the police union director, Chris Collins, and his team of online intimidator trolls backfired and has significantly increased sales of “The Permit.” Anything union cops hate and trash-talk, smart people embrace.

Metro’s threats aren’t as overt and transparent as they were a few years ago. However, the Las Vegas Joint Fusion Center’s geek-goons still may be monitoring my phone calls and e-mail messages, according to inside sources.

Before Erik was murdered, LV Metro had two public affairs officers; it now employs nine, supposedly because the “Scott Family” caused the department so much grief. The Permit also has contributed significantly to Metro’s miserable, tanking public image. I’m assured that, as a result of Erik’s senseless murder and courageous activism by “Erik’s Warriors,” LV Metro has quietly changed its policies, procedures and training dramatically. Of course, Sheriff Gillespie and his scared-stiff “Tower” staff also were motivated by the threat of a Department of Justice consent decree being imposed on the department.

I’ve been accused of being anti-cop and hating police officers. Absolutely not true. I’m deeply indebted to many good-hearted, professional police officers, who helped me expose the sordid inner workings of Las Vegas Metro, in particular, and Sin City, in general. Law enforcement professionals across the nation have patiently explained how a good police force operates. They invariably express stunned disbelief, outrage and embarrassment, when they hear how LV Metro’s badged thugs executed my son, then covered up the killers’ crimes.

These pros (and I) are quite distressed by the militarization of U.S. cops, and a few have helped me develop a presentation I call “Restore Honor.” I firmly believe that, unless good cops stand up and collectively demand that their own departments return to a “protect-and-serve” mentality and culture, our nation will explode in rebellion. As The Permit warns, armed, infuriated citizens will literally hunt down any cop sporting a badge. The level of simmering, subsurface fury I sense throughout the country, primarily directed at arrogant, above-the-law cops, is unprecedented…and scary.

I adamantly emphasize that I do not advocate violence against police officers. But “good” cops have been too silent, too willing to look the other way, for too long. I predict that, in the name of self-protection, honorable, professional cops will soon launch an aggressive crusade to Rid the Ranks of Rogues—eliminating corrupt outlaws from their own departments. Such a campaign might take the form of destroying a corrupt officer’s credit rating; pressuring a bank to foreclose on a killer-cop’s home; filing criminal charges for malfeasance, or taking more-direct action. The operation will spread rapidly, and it won’t be pretty. But, when Neanderthal killer-cops are systematically expunged from local, state and federal law enforcement, citizens will be quick to rally behind those high-integrity officers, who Restore Honor to what once was an honorable profession.

Godspeed to them.

Bill Scott, Father of Erik Who Was Killed by LVMPD Employees, Interviewed by Bill Buppert of ZeroGov.com is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Call the Cops – Rob Hustle ft Liv

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Rob Hustle shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

Police Employees Involved: Corrupt Cops from Around the World

I’m a hip hop artist, and I wanted to share my latest track, Call the Cops.

Increasing militarization of police in our country is becoming a threat to life and liberty. Laws are supposed to help and protect people. But when those laws – and the people that enforce them – become the danger, then someone must raise their voice. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchers? Me, you and other artists who care.

I’m a fan of the site, and I hope that you will help spread the message.

Proceeds from this song will be donated to Baby Bou Bou, whose face was blown up by a police stun grenade.

Rob Hustle

Call the Cops – Rob Hustle ft Liv is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police and Military Are The Same, Neither Protects Freedom

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

This content was originally published at ChristopherCantwell.com.

Yesterday I posted an article to the Cop Block Facebook page that was very anti military. I later removed the post due to overwhelmingly negative feedback from users. It was after all, sort of off topic for Cop Block. Still, it would seem that even those among us who have figured out that police are nothing but the violent malicious enforcers of the politicians, seem to hold a soft spot for the military.

If I had a dime for every time some slave told me, “Soldiers protect your right to say that,” I’d be independently wealthy by now. It would far exceed my adsense revenues. These sort of comments come rolling in any time you say something about the military, as if Afghanistan and Iraq were actually some threat to what I post on the Internet. Far from it, the only threat to my freedom in the United States is the United States government, and the only thing keeping the United States government in power is it’s enforcers.

Think about it folks; if you read this blog on any sort of regular basis, if you read Cop Block, you know that government, all government, is tyranny. The best case scenario for any government is to be a tolerable annoyance, and I certainly find nothing tolerable about government violence in the United States. The Cop Block website and facebook page is a constant 24/7/365 stream of police abuse, kidnapping, theft, assault, and murder, and that’s primarily just for pointing out when they exceed the “limits of the law.”

The fact of the matter is, police do so much more horrific violence within those limits than outside of them, and almost none of it is captured on camera. Every traffic stop is a death threat, and there are more than 17 million of those each year in the US. Every arrest is a kidnapping, and there are more than 12 million of those each year in the US. Almost none of these involve any victim other than the person the officer is threatening, and of course everyone is threatened by taxation, which is how police are paid. So everybody is threatened by police, whether they ever come into contact with law enforcement or not. There is no such thing as a good cop.

Once you understand that, it should not be a far leap to understand that the military is no better.

Police tell us they are keeping us safe by stealing our money through taxes, by threatening us on the highway, by putting us in prison for possessing drugs, by showing up at a crime scene half an hour after the crime took place. This is such complete and utter nonsense I shouldn’t even have to address it. We know that government lies to us about our victimizers keeping us safe.

Police And Military Same Difference

Police And Military Same Difference

The same oppressors tell us the military is keeping us safe from foreign governments, and from terrorism. Anybody who has bothered to turn off their television for an hour a day can tell you this is just as ridiculous. There is no threat to the United States, but that which the United States creates. The constant interference in foreign affairs is what draws the ire of foreign governments and terrorist organizations to us.

They don’t “hate us for our freedom” and if that were the case they would go to any one of a dozen countries on Earth that has more freedom than the US. The top six nations on the Heritage Foundation’s economic freedom index are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Canada. None of these nations are major players in the military business, they tend to mind their own business, and have a lot more freedom than we do in the United States. The United States doesn’t even make the top 45 nations on Earth for press freedom, yet it spends more on it’s military than all the top 45 nations combined. We can see very plainly here that militarism has a very negative effect on freedom. Hell the only charts the US tops anymore are per capita incarceration, and military spending. If anybody was protecting your freedom, it would stand to reason from these stats alone, that they are doing an absolutely terrible job.

If all these other countries wanted to take our resources, then why wouldn’t they attack one of the other top ten most resource rich nations on Earth? Why don’t those countries find themselves in perpetual warfare? Why aren’t they 41% of the world’s military spending? Simple. They aren’t interested in provoking foreign conflicts like the United States.

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” ~ James Madison

Troops do not defend freedom, troops follow orders. To understand that, maybe we should address what freedom is.

Freedom is not something provided to you by a government. Freedom is a distinct lack of something, more specifically violence and coercion. Now, for certain you can lose your freedom by being held captive by some private party. You could be enslaved and kept in a dungeon somewhere by some deranged sociopath. However, when we talk about how free a people are, the common parlance is discussing government. In this context, freedom is a distinct lack of government interference in your life. It is taken away by laws, and taxes, and regulations, and really any government activity that is not explicitly there to repel some other threat.

In order to take away your freedom, it helps if most of your neighbors consent to the invasion on your life. When government wants to control more of your life, they make up insane stories about how there is some threat to us all, and how the only way to repel this threat is to search your vehicle, steal your money, and put you in a cage. Making up lies about foreign threats is part of the same exact business. When they tell us “Islamofascists” are going to take over America and institute Sharia Law, this is just plain ridiculous, it has absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever. It should be taken no more seriously than Reefer Madness and the war on drugs. But just like Reefer Madness and the War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism is touted by TV propagandists, and despite 13 years of repetitive nonsense propaganda being disproven by rational outlets, people still take it seriously.

When these soldiers sign up and go to these foreign countries, are they keeping you safe? Are they protecting your freedom? No! Absolutely not. There is no threat to you over there, they are just acting as world police. Just like the cops abuse, kidnap, rob, assault, and murder us here at home, soldiers go into foreign countries and inflict similar injuries on a foreign people, and with far fewer restrictions on their behavior. They kill and destroy and kidnap and pillage for the singular purpose of expanding the influence of the same government that is oppressing you at home.

They might have signed up with noble intentions, they might have thought they were doing a good thing at first, but so did your local cop. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and frankly, once you begin doing terrible things, you lose your claim to noble intentions. You can’t kick down the doors of complete strangers and drag them out of their homes and kidnap or murder them, just because someone else told you to, and still say you’re being a good person. That’s not how morality works, and geography is no excuse.

So if they’re not keeping you safe, if they’re not protecting your freedom, what possible reason could they be doing all these terrible things for? For the same reason as your local police – for money, and for power, and for respect. They will do absolutely anything they are told to keep their jobs. When asked directly, most marines said they would fire on American citizens if they were ordered to during a federally ordered gun confiscation. We’ve already seen National Guard disarming people after Hurricane Katrina, and saying they would shoot Americans. We’ve already seen martial law in Boston.

Little by little, the tactics and equipment of the police and military are becoming indistinguishable. Why does Concord, NH need an armored personnel carrier? Well, because Free Staters are terrorists, of course, and they have to fight a war on terrorism, just like the military does. There’s no crime in Concord, NH; this is a weapon of war. Where do they get these weapons of war? Well, from the Federal Government, of course. From the same manufacturers as are making them for the military. Who trains them on how to use these weapons? The military, of course.

Then, many of these police already have military training, because they became police after being in the military. When one is trained for combat instead of a trade, there’s little else they are suited to do besides harass, assault, rob, kidnap, and murder people. This makes the military a prime recruiting ground for police departments. Take this quote from military.com: “Former military personnel hold a special place in the heart of police department recruiters across the U.S. The qualities of a great police officer are virtually identical to those of a great soldier.” Military service even credits towards retirement in most law enforcement agencies surveyed, a very strong incentive for making that transition. There are no solid statistics readily available on what percentage of law enforcement has military experience, but based on various forum posts, the numbers can range anywhere between 10-70% of a department.

To summarize, let’s take a look.

Police: Rob, assault, kidnap, and murder you in the name of “law” here at home. They are paid through taxation (theft). They are increasingly becoming more militarized, taking their weapons, manpower, and training from military forces.

Soldiers: Rob, assault, kidnap, and murder foreigners in the name of “orders” abroad. They are paid through taxation (theft). They are feeding weapons and training to police to make them more militarized. They often become law enforcement officers after leaving the military.

Neither protects your freedom, otherwise you would have freedom. There would be no gun control, PRISM, checkpoints, war on drugs, high taxes, or burdensome business regulations if they did. They follow orders, and their orders are to take freedom, not protect it. If their orders are to disarm you, you get disarmed. If their orders are to kidnap you, you get kidnapped. If their orders are to kill you, you die. In that light, it seems rather ridiculous to put either of these professions up on a pedestal, especially if you already figured out that one of them is your enemy.

Police and Military Are The Same, Neither Protects Freedom is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Rise of the Paramilitary Police

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Andrew J. Henderson shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

There is no doubt that military culture has an undue influence on our daily lives. We see it in TV programs, billboard advertisements, and even the toys our children play with. One place where it is especially prominently displayed is at our local police departments.

Since the 1980s, police departments across America have been steadily building their arsenals with weapons and vehicles acquired from military surplus. Many of these acquisitions come from the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, better known as the 1033 Program. Equipment provided to police departments though this program includes grenade launchers, helicopters, assault rifles, vehicles, boats, body armor, and camouflage clothing. In 2011, the Department of Defense gave nearly $500 million worth of surplus to police agencies, more than doubling the $212 million given in 2010.

Police officers appear to believe that they are fighting a war, whether it is on crime, drugs, or terrorism. Officers are now being trained to develop a “warrior mindset” and the perception that their lives are at risk with every citizen encounter, despite the fact that policing is a safer occupation than truck driving, farming, or construction work. In fact, about half of all officer deaths are due to traffic accidents and most of those have not occurred while in pursuit of a suspect or on the way to a crime scene.

One way we can especially see the militarization of the American police force is in the implementation, growth, and frequent use of the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) paramilitary teams.

In 1967, the first official SWAT team was created in Los Angles. By 1975 that number had grown to around 500 teams across the United States . Today there are thousands of these units operating across the nation. Peter Kraska, a criminologist at Eastern Kentucky University, estimates that over 80% of cities and towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 people have SWAT teams and that over 90% of cities with populations over 50,000 have at least one paramilitary police unit.

Often wearing fatigues and body armor while donning military-style assault weapons, these teams conduct over 150 raids every day. In 1980, there were around 3,000 SWAT team raids in the United States. In 2001, that number had inflated to 45,000 and has since expanded to over 80,000 raids per year . SWAT teams have also become increasingly aggressive in recent years. Here are just a few examples.

The use of SWAT team operations for minor law violations has steadily risen. During a routine raid in March of 2008 over a low-level non-violent drug charge, a Columbia, Missouri SWAT team violently entered the home of Jonathan March late at night by breaking down the door. Five concussion grenades were detonated around the dwelling, one of which exploded near the feet of a visitor sitting on a couch. As the team searched the residence, two dogs were shot in their backs while the animals were retreating. Only a small amount of marijuana was recovered from this paramilitary operation.

During a January 2008 evening raid, a Lima, Ohio SWAT team bashed down the door of the rented home of 26-year-old mother Tarika Wilson in search of her companion on suspicion of minor drug charges. With guns drawn the team entered the house and within moments opened fire, killing Tarika, and wounding her one-year-old son who was shot in the left shoulder and hand and lost his index finger from a police bullet.

In May 2010, a Detroit, Michigan SWAT team conducted a late night raid on an apartment through which they had gained entry by kicking down an unlocked door. After deploying a flash-bang grenade, the lead officer in this raid entered the apartment and shot sleeping seven-year-old Aisha Jones in the head, killing her instantly. To make this tragedy even worse, the SWAT team conducted the raid on the wrong apartment.

In March of 2013, two SWAT teams shut down a residential neighborhood in Ft. Collins, Colorado, to search for a man suspected of stealing a bicycle and other merchandise from a local Wal-Mart. The suspect was never apprehended.

Recently, police departments are acquiring military vehicles such as the Mine Resistance Ambush Protected (MRAP) and the BearCat through the 1033 Program. MRAP’s are 14-ton armored fighting vehicles designed to survive an improvised explosive device (IED) and have been used frequently in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The BearCat is an acronym for a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck, and according to the law enforcement website of its manufacturer, Lenco, can be equipped with an M60 machine gun, a 204B machine gun, or a mark 19 grenade launcher.

BearCats are used for police and SWAT operations including counter-terrorism efforts. At a cost of around $400,000, these vehicles are designed to be bulletproof, blast proof, and include features such as a C.S. gas (tear gas) deployment nozzle. Over 5,000 of these vehicles have been produced, and are in use by military and law enforcement in over 40 countries worldwide.

Since the summer of 2013, 165 MRAP vehicles had been acquired by police and sheriff departments throughout the U.S., many by rural police with few officers and little crime. Recently the City of Washington, Iowa, with 11 police officers and a population of 7,000, acquired an MRAP from this program. 731 more MRAP’s have been requested for domestic use, and 780 law enforcement agencies are on waiting lists to receive one.

Influenced by this militarization, our police department employees have gone from “peace officers” to “law enforcement officers” and from “protect and serve” to “enforce and incarcerate,” and this has contributed to the U.S. having the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the world.

Andrew J. Henderson

This article was originally written for Women Against Military Madness as a volunteer with Communities United Against Police Brutality.

Photo credit: Nigel Parry

Rise of the Paramilitary Police is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights