The American military is prohibited from deploying within the United States, but local law enforcement organizations are becoming increasingly militarized, as surplus gear from the Pentagon flows to main street.
Even without military gear, the horrifying regularity of police violence against black and brown people continues unabated in marginalized communities.
Over-policing and excessive use of force against protesters has resulted in deaths from the Haymarket Affair in 1886 to the student massacres at Orangeburg, Jackson State and Kent State to the bombing of MOVE and the siege at Ruby Ridge.
The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the use of surveillance drones in US airspace, and local police departments are beginning to purchase drones, armored personnel carriers, and other military equipment. These tools can be used to carry out surveillance, invade privacy, and suppress nonviolent protests, threatening constitutional rights of Americans in jurisdictions from coast to coast.
Tear gas is among the least of the problems facing those who care about the murder and destruction of war. But it is a major element in the militarization of local policing. In fact, it is widely deemed illegal in war, but legal in non-war.
Montgomery county residents and local groups question police practices in Silver Spring shooting death of Robert White
A letter from six groups and over 600 residents raises concerns in the wake of the shooting death of Robert White, a black man who was killed about one mile from his childhood home in Silver Spring on June 11. He was killed while on foot near his neighborhood, which he walked routinely, according to neighbors.
This is the first time a court has addressed the legality of police use of a Long Range Acoustic Device (“LRAD”) sound cannon for crowd control purposes.
From the Bay Area, California to Durham, North Carolina grassroots activists are scoring victories against police militarization.
In Light of Recent Massacre of Palestinian Protesters, It’s Time for US Police to End Exchanges of Worst Practices With Human Rights Abusers
Although Defending Rights & Dissent is a domestic civil liberties, we recognize the threat allowing police departments to train with known human rights abusers. US police are frequently criticized for acting like an occupying army. Training with an actual occupying army will only further this mindset amongst law enforcement.