Travis Gettys / Raw Story & Joshua Krause / Activist Post – 2014-11-15 00:49:15
Police Expert: War on Terror Has Turned
Our Cops into Occupying Armies —
And We’re the Enemy
Travis Gettys / Raw Story
(November 14, 2014) — The war on terror has essentially turned police into occupying armies in some American communities, said a police and criminology expert.
Thomas Nolan, an associate professor of criminology at Merrimack College and former senior policy analyst with the Department of Homeland Security, said the focus of police work had shifted greatly since he was a Boston police officer in the 1980s and 1990s.
“I remember it being drilled into me as a police officer, as a sergeant and then as a lieutenant: partnership, problem-solving, and prevention — the three Ps,” Nolan said Wednesday during a panel sponsored by the American Constitution Society.
He said police were heavily trained to form alliances to help them to better serve and protect communities, and he said those relationships clearly don’t exist in Ferguson, Missouri.
While the war on drugs is frequently cited as a major factor in the breakdown of civil liberties and police-community relations, Nolan said a more recent shift was largely to blame.
“In the early 2000s, particularly after 9/11, we saw a paradigm shift from community policing and problem-oriented principles to the war on terror, and we became Homeland Security police,” said Nolan, who has worked in the federal agency’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
He said this shift toward “homeland security” had quickly destroyed the relationships police had worked nearly two decades to build.
“I think what has happened as a direct result of that, is that those relationships that we forged, and worked so hard to attain and to maintain in the late 1980s and early 1990s, began to erode because the police were seen, particularly in communities of color, as an army of occupation,” Nolan said.
“If you dress police officers up as soldiers and you put them in military vehicles and you give them military weapons, they adopt a warrior mentality,” he continued. “We fight wars against enemies, and the enemies are the people who live in our cities — particularly in communities of color.”
At the same time domestic police began to focus on homeland security, the Department of Defense began selling surplus military weapons and gear to American police departments without much public debate.
“We weren’t included in the discussion, we didn’t know anything about it, and I think Ferguson has brought that into the glare of the public spotlight,” Nolan said.
The 27-year police veteran said officers make him feel unsafe when he walks around his own diverse neighborhood in Boston.
“I see the police conducting themselves in a highly militaristic fashion on routine patrol activities — and I know that’s what they’re doing because I come from that world,” Nolan said. “What I experience and what people on the street experience is a palpable, tangible sense of fear, and that is that we are unsafe if police need semiautomatic rifles to protect us and to keep us safe.”
He said Americans have found themselves in danger from their own police officers because they did not object to previous abuses — and he said the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing proves the situation can only get worse.
“What we saw in that aftermath was the unilateral suspension of the United States Constitution, and particularly the Fourth Amendment,” Nolan said.
“We saw for the first time that I can recall in the United States of America house-to-house searches,” he continued, “and what I said to some colleagues of mine, who work in the news media, that when we fail to object to what’s going on now, and we did, we forfeited our right to do so in the future — and we have.”
Watch this video excerpt of Nolan’s remarks posted online by American Constitution Society:
You Won’t Believe How Many People
Are Killed by the Police Every Year
Joshua Krause / Activist Post
(November 12, 2014) — It seems like I can’t go a single day without hearing about someone being shot and killed by a police officer. It’s become so commonplace in America, that the news rarely makes national headlines unless police abuse is suspected; and sometimes not even then. Unless you follow organizations like Copblock, you’ll only hear about a fraction of the police shootings that actually occur.
While it appears the US has an incredibly violent police force, many would argue that our cops pale in comparison to police departments around the world. A Recent study from Brazil appears to confirm that belief.
A study by a public safety NGO says that Brazilian police killed more than 11,000 people between 2009 and 2013 for an average of six killings a day. The study was released Tuesday by the Sao Paulo-based Brazilian Forum on Public Safety.
It says police nationwide killed 11,197 people over the past five years, while law enforcement agents in the United States killed 11,090 people over the past 30 years. “The empirical evidence shows that Brazilian police make abusive use of lethal force to respond to crime and violence,” the report says.
If this is true, than America’s law enforcement agencies don’t seem as bad as they’re made out to be. Police in third world nations like Brazil routinely kill more citizens than our cops do. At least, that’s what the official numbers say.
While it remains to be seen how accurate this study is, one thing is for sure; our cops kill way more people every year than the official statistics show.
That’s because, as insane as it might sound, police departments aren’t required to report these statistics. As you might expect, the official numbers are pretty watered down. According to the FBI, police kill around 400 people per year, and that is only the number of “justified homicides”.
If you can believe it, the government doesn’t bother to report “unjustified” homicides, and they also don’t report ‘arrest related’ deaths. As in, people killed by tasers or having a heart attack during a SWAT raid, etc.
So if we want to know how many people the police kill every year, justified or not, we’ll never get a straight answer from the government (big surprise there). There are, however, several private organizations that track this data.
Given this vacuum, attention has recently turned to some excellent nongovernmental attempts to compile this data, including the Fatal Encounters database, the recently created Gun Violence Archive and a new database created by Deadspin.
But one recent effort stood out for its apparent comprehensiveness: The Killed By Police Facebook page, which aggregates links to news articles on police-related killings and keeps a running tally on the number of victims. The creator of the page does not seek to determine whether police killings are justifiable; each post “merely documents the occurrence of a death.” He told FiveThirtyEight that he was an instructor on nonviolent physical-intervention techniques and that he prefers to remain anonymous.
Killed by Police had listed more than 1,450 deaths caused by law-enforcement officers since its launch, on May 1, 2013, through Sunday. That works out to about three per day, or 1,100 a year.
Ouch. 1,100 per year. Still, I’m sure there are some optimists out there who would point out that it’s still half as many casualties as Brazil. However, if you compare our data to the rest of the developed world, our police kill many times more than most Western countries, even if you look at it on a per-capita basis.
It could be argued that these countries don’t arm their cops to the same degree, but even that doesn’t really account for our high mortality rates. As any gun enthusiast will tell you, having a gun doesn’t make you killer.
Simply put, our police have developed a ‘trigger happy’ culture. They’ve been trained to be killers, and they’ve been taught to treat all citizens with suspicion. They act like they’re a foreign army, occupying our cities and treating us like the enemy. Our police are rapidly turning into third world thugs that will someday make the cops in Brazil blush. Until we can rein in this violent culture, our situation is only going to get worse from here.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared . He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter . Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.
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