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.
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.
Defending Rights and Dissent joined with Black Lives Matter DC, the Stop Police Terror project and over 50 other organizations to demand that the DC City Council hold a public hearing outside of work hours, to hear public testimony regarding racism and violence in the Metropolitan Police Department
Groups seek oversight of NYPD Strategic Response Group’s role in abusive and repressive protest policing and conflation of “anti-terror” and protest
Following the rough policing of an immigration-related protest on Thursday and prior protests in NYC where protesters were subjected to abusive treatment and tactics, a number of civil rights, legal and other organizations called for the City Council to hold an oversight hearing into the policing of protests.
Defending Rights & Dissent is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Erica Garner. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, and loved ones. She was 27 years old
Stop Urban Shield activists in Berkeley have been busy. They took aim at Urban Shield (a highly militarized police war games and weapons expo) in two different venues this week. On Wednesday night, the Berkeley Police Review Commission (PRC) voted 4 to 2 to cease the city’s participation in Urban Shield, and activists who had been brutalized by Berkeley Police while demonstrating against the program filed suit against the city.