As I write this article, Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will relieve all St. Louis County law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri.
Representative William Lacy Clay said, “The governor just called me, and he’s on his way to St. Louis to announce he’s taking away the St. Louis County Police out of the situation.”
Given the events of the past five days – especially the dubious circumstances surrounding Michael Brown’s death and the police’s actions on the night of August 13 – relieving law enforcement was a foregone conclusion.
But the governor’s actions merely address the symptoms, not the disease itself.
Indeed, they do nothing to assuage the fears raised by the events in Ferguson, Missouri… fears of a militant police state that protects its own at all costs, covers up potential crimes, and suppresses Constitutional rights with outsized force.
As our own Floyd Brown put it, “America is a police state, and the police are a class above us all.”
The public reaction to the events in Ferguson has been swift and decisive. Veterans, in particular, have been outspoken critics of the way police have handled the mostly peaceful protests.
For example, Phillip Carter tweeted, “FWIW, I led foot patrols in downtown Baquba, #Iraq in 2005-06 w/ less firepower than #Ferguson PD.”
Jason Fritz tweeted, “As someone who studies policing in conflict, what’s going on in Ferguson isn’t just immoral and probably unconstitutional, it’s ineffective.”
And Dan Bramos tweeted, “I don’t know how it was in IRQ and AFG, but in Bosnia, we had less firepower while on patrol than the cops in #Ferguson.”
Cops have brazenly pointed guns at citizens and reporters alike, fired rubber bullets, and shot tear gas canisters into crowds, and even arrested reporters who were simply trying to cover the events on the ground.
Wesley Lowery, of The Washington Post, and Ryan J. Reilly, of The Huffington Post, were arrested – along with local elected official Antonio French – on August 13 for doing nothing more than reporting.
For those of you not counting at home, that means Ferguson has been witness to potentially criminal police action (that was covered up for a week by the police department), violent dispersal of peaceful protests, and the suppression of First Amendment rights in the form of arrested journalists.
To me, that sounds more like Nazi Germany than the United States.
It’s a disturbing comparison. We like to think that we live in a free country where most police officers abide by their duty to serve and protect – and where our constitutional rights are truly upheld.
But the reality is that the Pentagon has been arming local police forces to the tune of half a billion dollars per year, according to The Washington Post… and as we saw in Ferguson, these local battalions aren’t afraid to flex their newfound muscle.
Specifically, the Defense Department’s excess property program “permits the Secretary of Defense to transfer, without charge, excess U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) personal property (supplies and equipment) to state and local law enforcement agencies.”
In total, the program has transferred $4.3 billion in equipment since its inception.
It’s disturbing that this arms transfer has gone (relatively) unnoticed until the Ferguson police decided to roll out like a full-blown infantry unit. But now that the nation sees what our friendly neighborhood police force really looks like, we need to ask ourselves: What’s the purpose?
There’s no reason for local law enforcement to have the same kind of firepower as the U.S. Army or Marines.
In the end, this trend won’t save lives or keep the peace. On the contrary, it’ll ensure that the police are capable of suppressing our most important rights, particularly in moments when we need them to protect and serve the most.
In Pursuit of the Truth,
Christopher Eutaw's love of all things politics – paired with his passion and burning desire to uncover the truth – make him the perfect fit to run Wall Street Daily’s politics division. His unmatched drive and political expertise ensures that all content on the website is honest, insightful and provocative. Learn More >>
This is a very HOT topic, for sure. I am not up on the suppression of the crowds, but, have seen several video's which indicate the deceased boy did attack the police officer, and did return to do it again. I see where the Feds want to do a tox test as well, to make sure the locals do not taint the results....all well and good, under the circumstances, if they do not lie again like with the IRS, Benghazi, VA, et al. Would you believe the Attorney General on any subject?
One must gleam the obvious from the pics above. The local police are armed to the teeth, with people suppression means. Why are they soooo... equipped? I know. I am just asking the question rhetorically. A government that is able to give you everything, is also capable of taking everything away from you... TJ.
This is bho's civilian army. PERIOD!! I went in the chat room and tried to project some common sense into the discussion,but failed. This situation IMO isn't as bad as the Bundy ranch was. They haven't organized well at all. They need to do as OAS did having appointed persons to weed out the trouble makers. We knew that sharpton would show up as well as the new black panthers. They should be sent packing ASAP. sharpton is a self serving publicity seeking trouble making pimp!! I guess jessis jackson is to busy with his jailed son to bother,so that's good. holder couldn't wait to inject his criminal injustice into the situation which will only complicate matters. Remember what holder did in the Trayvon Martin case?
I don't understand why they are protesting at night. They need to take a few lessons from Tea Party events and handle the situation in an orderly way. To many bad things can happen after dark.
I saw small children at the protest last night which disturbed greatly me knowing of the violence of the previous days.
What I find interesting is the fact that "he" had already planned to come back this weekend a week or two before the special event happened. When on TV, he said basically nothing. hmmmm Could "this" be said to have been another "planned event?"
Its King O's civilian Army, no doubt NWO style... The looters are from out of town probably bussed into Ferguson.
MO Governor orders National Guard to Ferguson http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/18/private-autopsy-on-michael-bro...
I have spent time in that area, they need to build a fence around it.
For those of us that are in to Law and Order and support our Police, this equipment is needed in the big cities and as long as the dept./agcy. honors their oaths, then we should be behind them and against the lawless anarchists. Having citizen review boards in each city to evaluate any misuse of police tactics/equipment, etc. is mandatory in all cases.
My cousin was a sharp shooter for the police and worked at the Court House as a Bayliff. He was also a Sheriff and was previously in the Air Force. He's retired now, but.................he and his previous colleagues and retired colleagues can't stand "that certain person." Not all police are bad!! So, no matter what equipment they use or how they dress, if their work is for righteous causes, then that is what is needed. But, if they use their tactics for ill-will. Then, of course, that is not to be accepted. But, Obeyme has a lot of sons that may need "their" services!
Be forewarned, Barrack Hussein Obama just might have plans, on the Federal level, against unarmed American citizens!
We know he has a plan against armed citizens,the gun grabbing Nazi.