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.
Remember the good ol’ days when just Big Brother kept tabs on what you did and where you went?
Free expression, free assembly, and free association aren’t just fundamental rights. They are the tools that human rights defenders rely on to fight back against the abuses.
Defending Rights & Dissent joins people around the world in expressing our outrage, disgust, and horror that US border agents attacked refugees, including children, with tear gas. The images of children, already refugees from violence and poverty, fleeing from tear gas is gut wrenching.
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.