FERGUSON (Worthy News)– As photos of heavily armed police officers in full combat gear squared off against protesters in the small suburban town of Ferguson, Missouri, America got a sobering wake up call of the militarization of its local police forces. Since 2006, U.S. police departments have acquired 93,763 machine guns, 432 mine-resistant trucks, over 500 aircraft and hundreds of thousands of ammunition magazines, all provided by the U.S. military with the help of Congress.
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Obama decries excessive force against Missouri police shooting protesters – Washington Times
President Obama stepped into a racially charged police shooting in Missouri on Thursday, calling on local police to show restraint with demonstrators as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. criticized the authorities' military-style tactics and Gov. Jay Nixon ordered state police to take over security in the roiling town of Ferguson.
Obama faces growing criticism of program giving cops grenade launchers – Washington Examiner
President Obama hasn’t waded into the escalating debate over the rapid militarization of local police departments.
Politically, however, he can’t stay silent for long, as both his progressive base and civil libertarians are furious about what they see as the creation of virtual combat zones on U.S. soil.
With Highway Patrol, hugs and kisses replace tear gas in Ferguson – Washington Post
Suddenly, everything has changed. The heavy riot armor, the SWAT trucks with sniper posts, the hostile glares: tonight in Ferguson they were gone.
A stunning change in tone radiated through the suburban streets where protests had turned violent each of the last four evenings following the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
But Thursday night, when more than a thousand protesters descended on the remains of QuickTrip – which was burned during riots on Sunday – they had a new leader.
The Pentagon gave nearly half a billion dollars of military gear to local law enforcement last year – Washington Post
The events in Ferguson, Missouri this week are an uncomfortable reminder of the militarization of America's small town law enforcement agencies. The photos coming out of the town–of heavily armed officers in full combat gear squaring off against unarmed protesters–look like images we're used to seeing from places like Gaza, Turkey, or Egypt, not from a midwestern suburb of 21,000 people.
One of the ways police departments have armed themselves in recent years is through the Defense Department's excess property program, known as the 1033 Program. It "permits the Secretary of Defense to transfer, without charge, excess U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) personal property (supplies and equipment) to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs)," according to the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center.
Michael Brown shooting: US police armed with 93,763 new machine guns – UK Independent
According to a recent report by the New York Times, since 2006 US police departments have collectively acquired 93,763 machine guns; 432 mine-resistant trucks; more than 500 aircraft; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night vision gear; and hundreds of thousands of ammunition magazines, all supplied via a Department of Defense program.
How Congress Helped Create Ferguson's Militarized Police – National Journal
In 1990, Congress passed a National Defense Authorization Act with a clause allowing the "transfer of excess personal property" from the Defense Department to local law enforcement—otherwise known as Section 1208. The clause was included in response to the surge of violent crime and the War on Drugs in the late 1980s. (It's worth noting that at the time, both chambers of Congress were controlled by Democrats.)
On a national level, the current Congress may be expected to reverse the actions of 1990. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul wrote a column in Time chastising the use of excessive force in Ferguson. "There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response," he wrote. "The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action."
Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police – Time
Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention, Sen. Rand Paul writes for TIME, amid violence in Ferguson, Mo. over the police shooting death of Michael Brown.
Demonstrators March To Times Square To Protest Michael Brown’s Death In Missouri – CBS
Hundreds of protesters marched to Times Square Thursday evening, and some confronted police, in a demonstration on behalf Michael Brown, the teenager who was shot and killed by police in suburban St. Louis.
Raw Video: New Black Panther Party, Protesters Take Over Ferguson Police Chief's News Conference – Blaze
Protesters and members of the New Black Panther Party took over what was supposed to be Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson’s press conference Thursday regarding the ongoing unrest in the St. Louis suburb.
A crowd gathered inside the Ferguson fire department as New Black Panther Party leader Hashim Nzinga addressed the crowd, mostly focusing his anger on President Barack Obama.
When suburban warfare hits our streets – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A police officer in riot gear, assault rifle strapped across his chest, baton in hand, staring at the camera. Police dogs, crouched in frenzied anticipation. Tear gas rising into the night sky. Armored trucks backlit by street lamps.
Images coming from Ferguson, Mo., reveal unfiltered, uncomfortable truths – Washington Post
A photograph is never sufficiently proportional to truth. The truth — the full story, the context of things — is too large and complicated to be encompassed by any single image. So from Ferguson, Mo., where daily protests have erupted after Saturday's police shooting of an unarmed African American teenager, we get only photographic data points.
Death stokes fire of US racial tensions – Financial Times
Long-simmering tensions are boiling over in suburban St Louis, drawing international attention to the racial disparities that still plague the US in the Obama era.
Document: Homeland Security Predicts Rise of 'Anti-Government' Violence – Breitbart
A leaked document from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis predicts increased "anti-government violence over the next year." The document says the inspiration for violence is Cliven Bundy's Bunkerville standoff with the Bureau of Land Management from earlier in the year.