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.
US District Judge Hon. Robert W. Sweet denied a bid by the City of New York to dismiss key assault and battery, excessive force, and failure to train claims in a landmark federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of NY and NYPD officers who used an LRAD “sound cannon” against Black Lives Matter protesters, journalists, and bystanders in December of 2014.
Over a hundred people waited four and a half hours at a meeting of the Berkeley City Council to testify against Berkeley’s police links to the federal government through federal Fusion Centers and the Urban Shield program. They expected the Council to vote.
Tell your Representative to oppose three bills that will increase police militarization, invade privacy, and expand the federal death penalty.
If passed, the ‘Protecting Data at the Border Act’ would require border agents to have a warrant or probable cause before searching a US person’s electronic device or data–the same standard the Constitution requires for government agents anywhere else in the country.
A federal grand jury subpoena issued to Water Protector Steve Martinez was withdrawn yesterday, without warning or explanation.