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Pepper Spray Is Just the Beginning: Here Are More Hypermilitarized Weapons Your Local PD Could Use [View All]

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:45 AM
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Pepper Spray Is Just the Beginning: Here Are More Hypermilitarized Weapons Your Local PD Could Use
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AlterNet / By Rania Khalek

Pepper-Spraying Protesters Is Just the Beginning: Here Are More Hypermilitarized Weapons Your Local Police Force Could Employ
By arming local police departments with military grade equipment, domestic policing has come to resemble a combat operation with citizens as the enemy.

November 22, 2011 |


On Friday, November 18, a group of UC Davis students staged a sit-in to protect their Occupy encampment from destruction by a horde of riot police. Seated on the ground, the students defensively ducked as Lt. John Pike approached them. They were right to do so: Pike aimed a riot-extinguisher at them, showering the crowd of unarmed students with pepper spray as calmly as if he were watering his garden. A group of officers then proceeded to break up the crowd with batons and arrest them. The video of the incident has since gone viral.

The counterinsurgency-like tactics used to subdue unarmed, peaceful demonstrators at Occupy encampments around the country have left people shocked and appalled at the grotesque treatment of protesters as if they were violent enemy combatants. This dynamic was captured best by a photo published in the News Observer showing machine-gun toting police officers dressed in combat attire, pointing their weapons at unarmed Occupy Chapel Hill demonstrators.

The barrier between military and civilian law enforcement was drawn long ago for good reason. Traditionally, the role of the civilian police force is to maintain the peace and safety of the community while upholding the Constitution. In stark contrast, the military soldier is an agent of war, trained to kill the enemy. But that barrier has been broken down by decades of the relentless war on drugs, and more recently the war on terror. Today civilian law enforcement agencies have access to military-grade equipment designed for heavy combat, essentially blurring the line between soldier and police officer.

When local police departments are armed with military grade equipment, the soldier's mentality is not far behind. Domestic policing has come to resemble a string of combat operations in a scene that repeats itself every time an Occupy encampment is raided, which raises the question: exactly what type of policing equipment is in the arsenal of law enforcement agencies in America? ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/story/153147/pepper-spraying_pr... /



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