• Police Blindside Woman with Nightstick, Pepper Ball Man at Basketball Celebration

    April 3, 2014

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: #99Percent

    What happens when the militarization of our police grows too strong? This happens:

    March Madness

    In the final minutes of a March Madness basketball game, University of Arizona students gathered on University Boulevard as they had after previous NCAA Tournament games prepared to celebrate a win, or commiserate a loss. A local bar owner noted that the students didn’t cause any trouble or property damage, and there was no violence until police began trying to clear the streets. “The kids,” said the owner, “I want to say they weren’t unruly, it was drunk college kids partying after a loss. I think more were hanging out in the street rather than trying to cause problems.”

    None the less, Tucson police showed up in Darth Vader-style riot gear, armed with nightstick and non-lethal bullets, pepper spray and gas masks. They quickly declared that the students were now an “unlawful assembly,” ordered them to disperse and when they did not immediately do so, attacked the crowd.

    The Attack

    One student said “It seemed like cops were asking for trouble. Wearing gas masks and lining University Boulevard before the game even ended seemed excessive.”

    What happened next is shocking. A video showed a cop blindsiding a young woman with his nightstick. Another video showed police firing non-lethal rounds into a male student and then roughly tackling him to the ground when he did not go down.

    Us and Them

    Police are empowered to use appropriate force, primarily when needed to protect themselves or others. The inappropriate use of escalating violence is more akin to what happens in war zone, not among partying college students. Tuscon on a spring evening shouldn’t look like Kiev, Istanbul or Caracas, but it did. One is left to wonder if the cops see these students as “their people,” the ones they are sworn to protect and serve. Watching the videos, more and more one feels cops have the same Us and Them attitudes soldiers adopt in war zones.

    The actions of an increasingly militarized police are reinforced by billions of dollars’ worth of military weapons and equipment available to local police departments through grant programs administered by federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warns:

    The police officers on our streets and in our neighborhoods are not soldiers fighting a war. Yet many have been armed with tactics and weapons designed for battle overseas. The result: people – disproportionately those in poor communities and communities of color – have become targets for violent SWAT raids, often because the police suspect they have small amounts of drugs in their homes.

    In his book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, author Radley Balko shows how politicians’ relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. He shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.

    The evidence accumulates. Have we have become the enemy? We have become the enemy.



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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      She’s lucky the police didn’t charge her for assaulting that poor policeman.

      04/3/14 1:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      2

      Lol, Rich but that is probably sadly true.

      Perhaps the police are preparing for the coming of the Chinese ….

      http://www.infowars.com/the-chinese-are-acquiring-large-chunks-of-land-in-communities-all-over-america/

      BTW, the video of the girl being cracked by the Sargeant has been pulled off a number of sites but it’s on a few you tube ones –

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZGF-3yNr-s

      The police seem to be allowed to act of control in AZ — there was another story on a disable girl from NY, whose service dog was shot by a policeman -

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L71Uj4yVX8E

      04/3/14 2:06 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      Honer Simpson: I wanted to be a policeman because I wanted to help people and to hurt people.

      04/3/14 3:18 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      4

      Having lived in China for some years and being no friend of the Chinese Communist Party (although some of my friends are members of it), I must disagree with your using the iconic photo of the “Tank Man” of the Tienanmen Square massacre of 1989, as an implied equivalent of American police…

      …BECAUSE…

      1. The Tienanmen Square massacre was NOT a police operation! It was totally military, totally PLA (Army). Furthermore, although it was an atrocious massacre, nonetheless there was considerable violence against the Army from the protesters. (Whether the protesters’ violence was justified is not the point; the point is that it was a very different kind of situation than your example of rowdy college kids partying too hardy.)

      But then the MAIN difference between American and Chinese police, is:

      2. Chinese police – by which I mean the regular beat cops, 99 percent of them – are NOT heavily armed, in fact they’re almost never armed at all! And the best thing is, MOST Chinese police DON’T CARE ABOUT LAW ENFORCEMENT of ANY kind! Most of them just want to collect their paychecks while they lazily drink jasmine tea out of jars and fill out papers saying, “Nothing happened today”…

      …and so Chinese cops are IDEAL COPS! Because they just don’t care! They’d rather not be bothered with anything!

      Typical encounter with Chinese cops: One day in Beijing I was trying to buy some English cigarettes from a streetside vendour. The vendour gave me the wrong brand, and since I spoke Chinese with a thick accent they had a hard time understanding me – so then as we raised our voices trying to get through the language (or accent) barrier (the vendour spoke in some provincial accent, not Beijing), a Chinese cop came over to us and asked us what was going on…

      …then when I explained, he said to the vendour in more perfect Chinese, “He wants THIS brand!”, then the vendour found it (Dunhills), gave it to me, and all was well. The Chinese cop smiled and saluted me before he walked away, his way of saying, “Glad to be of service to help you buy cigarettes!”

      If a non-White foreigner, not fluent in English, had been in the same situation in America, the police would have arrested him and probably beaten him up.

      04/3/14 4:11 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      Why wouldn’t a cop want to be elevated to warrior status via military accoutrements? We are encouraged to worship our “war fighters” not cops. It seems a natural and purposeful evolution of an empire on the skids.

      04/3/14 4:51 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      6

      “Why wouldn’t a cop want to be elevated to warrior status via military accoutrements?”

      See my above comment. 99 percent of Chinese police do NOT want that, because their lives are easier if they just sit around doing nothing and drinking tea.

      They have no incentive to do otherwise – and it’s GOOD that they don’t! If they were elevated to “warrior status”, then what would they gain from it?
      Nothing – not more money, and even less prestige since most of their compatriots would hate them! – nothing.

      And so, no, it is NOT “natural” for America’s militarised police to WANT to be like soldiers! It’s something else, something very UN-NATURAL! It means that those who want to do so, are very fucked up in their minds and souls, very UN-natural enemies of their own country.

      04/3/14 7:40 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...

      7

      As the Chinese proverb has it: “You don’t use good iron to make a nail and you don’t use a good man to make a soldier.” For most of Chinese history, “soldier” meant rapist and bandit working for a local warlord. Different cultural attitudes indeed. But if enough American cops keep acting like American soldiers, then pretty soon Americans might come to realize why so many foreigners look upon the American soldier with fear and loathing. The, perhaps, fewer Americans would want to see their tax dollars squandered “supporting the troops.”

      04/4/14 2:29 AM | Comment Link

    • Hammer said...

      8

      You give a man a hammer and everything looks like a nail.
      You give a police department riot gear and everybody looks like a hooligan.

      This is natural.

      This is also the reason why we must be worried when our police forces are being armed in order to ensure control of the masses.

      04/7/14 9:21 AM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      9

      Yes, mainstream Americans are the enemy. They vote for Dictatorship and Empire.

      I’ve taken less note of these matters you raise Mr. Van Buren in the past 10 months, yet I remain steadfast in supporting Nonviolent Action as the way and means to assert inherent and proper authority by the People.

      No Government is Inherent.
      Rule of Law is not Inherent.
      Empires crumble.
      People die needlessly.
      http://www.aeinstein.org/selfLiberation.html

      04/12/14 1:16 PM | Comment Link

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