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 >>
Michael, I'm sorry to hear you are disabled, and I mean that with all my heart. However, Sharpton, Obama and Holder have put their two cents into the matter. No crap involved! Personally, I think this whole thing is a set up, but only time will tell. Semper Fi! Ooooraaa
WHAT THEY NEED IS A MEXICAN CARTEL TO RUN THAT CITY ((((((((( OH THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE THE GOV. )))))) .
No, you mean the POTUS! He's the one that has been working with the Cartels since he got in ofc. Fast and Furiious was just a tip of the iceberg. Designating the Organ Mtns. in Tx., making for a freeway for the Juarez Cartel to haul their drugs, illegals, etc. without any law enf. in the area, tthe current illegal invasion in Tx. flooding our country with thousands of kids, many with cartel connections/tentacles/family, etc. Obama is the U.S.' enemy #1. The sheeple just aren't awake enough to comprehend......And when they do wake up, it will be way tooo late!!!
The US government has been a major drug trafficer since at least Viet Nam. A green beret in Nam wrote about delivering drugs in his book called a Soldier in the Rain.
I appologise. I got thename of the book wrong. I 'll get the right title if anyone is interested
Of course it makes sense to anybody who studied how communists got into power. Constitution prohibits to use military inside country (even this article of Constitution is being changed by Obama administration) and to keep power he needs his brown shirts, as Hitler,Stalin, Mao and any dictator needs it. That USA already is police state is indisputable. Personally I believe, that USA already lost. People have it too good to get involved in defending country and its Constitution. And people like you and me are in the minority which will be dealt with in the future. List of undesirables is already made. I did escaped from communist heaven, I know what I am talking about. Seems to me that I escaped stormy rain right under leaking roof.
These protesters are harboring grudges for decades. They will use any excuse to use violence against' the man. They are not like the Tea Party or conservative groups. They are true believers in socialism. They have no objective standard to judge what is right or wrong. It's all relative my friend.They don't think, they feel. If it feels right, do it. The biggest problem i see is this militarization of the police will be used against our first amendment rights. They will point back to this occasion or other 'created crisis and say, we just can't take any chances. It's getting worse every day. I sometimes want to go into my house, close the door and give up, but i can't. It's not in my nature. God help us all to stand strong and fight like crazy for our second amendment rights. It's our only chance of survival.
What about all the unlawful looting and vandalism (quite a weak word for burning and pillaging local businesses).
Peaceful protests? I understand that guns were being fired (don't get me wrong, I'm a proud gun owner and staunch defender of the 2nd amendment) bottles were being thrown and Molotov cocktails tossed around!
If anyone was "peacefully protesting" you'd think they'd realize they were in the wrong place! What exactly were they protesting - a teenage thug the size of a grizzly bear stealing cigars and strong-arming the store owner, brazenly strutting down the MIDDLE of the street, reaching into the cop's vehicle to snatch his gun, charging at this same cop, again much like an enraged grizzly bear?! That's acceptable now?! WOW.
How, exactly do the police tell who is peaceful in a crowd like this?
I agree. Now we know that the officer has Orbital Blowout<fractured bone or bones around the eye. Gateway Pondit shows his Ex-Ray.
If this is a peaceful protest.....please explain to me how a violent protest would look like!!! :)