Written by American expat living in Germany, wherein the police in 2011 fired 85 bullets, half of them were warning shots.
Dedication: this diary is dedicated to Eric Garner, whose murder/execution is documented in this diary's embedded Youtube video, where he was an unarmed African-American male placed in a chokehold and strangled to death by a New York City policeman on July 17th 2014! May Eric rest in peace.
Using the ballot box to lawfully disarm the American militarized police state
(Shouldn't someone ask the Ferguson P.D. why can't they wear police uniforms)?
"When you see the kind of force that's being used in Ferguson it really does make it appear that the police department there is an occupying army in a hostile territory and that is absolutely not what we want to see in the United States."
(End of quote) Senator Bernie Sanders on the Ed Schultz show (MSNBC) - Aug. 18th 2014
"The U.S. militarization of police displayed in Ferguson has been going on across America for decades" by Meteor BladesDoesn't the recent evidence coming out of Ferguson, Missouri show us that we are not dealing with a protest, but rather a rebellion against the American racist militarized police state. Elizabeth Warren is recently quoted as saying this is not a war zone but rather America, when decrying the American police state, along with Bernie Sanders and many others tell us the answer is not to buy more tanks for the police but rather to create jobs for Americans with that money. But America's war profiteers make a lot of money selling military equipment all over the world so now that they can't make money in Iraq militarizing their streets they want to make even more money by continuing to militarizing American streets by militarizing the police even faster through the 1033 Program which provides military equipment to police essentially at federal expense. Many members of the police have served as members of the national guard or reserve in Iraq, so to them a militarization of the police seems natural given their socialization from the Iraq war! (This socialization extends to the wearing of Iraq style urban combat uniforms, as opposed to the ordinary police SWAT blue tactical uniforms, which would send a completely different message to the public). This has given America's war profiteers the opportunity to embrace fully the Iraq war socialization of many members of the police force as if it's a marriage made in heaven and a marketing dream with endless tax advantages.
"When cops treat people the way an occupying army would, the consequences for citizens, for constitutional protections, for the police themselves are exactly the opposite of what is needed in a civilized society. "Serve and protect" is transformed into a sick joke."
War Comes Home
The Excessive Militarization of American Policing 2014 ACLU Foundation
"Militarization of policing encourages officers to adopt a “warrior” mentality
and think of the people they are supposed to serve as enemies".
(page 24 In 2013, "The Department of Defense started giving away MRAPs through the 1033 Program. According to the Department of Defense, MRAPs are designed to protect occupants against armor-piercing roadside bombs. 47 In 2007, the United States spent $50 billion to produce 27,000 MRAPs and deploy them to Iraq and Afghanistan. 48 No longer needed overseas, MRAPs have made their way into local communities. Because the ACLU launched this investigation in early 2013 and requested records only from 2011-2012, we did not ask the jurisdictions studied to send documentation of MRAP requests, so it is not possible to know from this investigation how many towns have acquired such vehicles through the 1033 Program. Media accounts put the number at around 500. 49 Dallas, Texas, has one. 50 So does Salinas, California, 51 as well as the Utah Highway Patrol. 52 And, perhaps most bizarrely, the Ohio State University Police has one—in order to provide “presence” on football game days". 53
As such this action diary asks an important question isn't it time to put a referendum on the ballot to disarm the police, who don't need to be armed. I've been to England and I saw firsthand outstanding community policing, where many peace officers in the police dept were unarmed, that is to say they did not carry firearms. Now to be sure there are specialized units which may be called into action at a moment's notice, ready to respond 24/7 that are armed specialized units, who do carry firearms in the UK. As such shouldn't we ask is it really necessary for every single cop in America to be armed and to be armed all the time with often fully militarized firearms? Now to be clear I'm not talking about Sheriff Andy Griffith, who never wore a firearm. I am talking about real life police constables in large metropolitan areas to include London, who do not regularly carry firearms, because they believe to do so would provoke violence and put citizens in unnecessary danger.
British police come out of the comparison well. Last year only two people were shot dead by police in England and Wales, while the country's largest force, the Metropolitan Police, fired just six shots in the 2009-10 figures.Shortly after I arrived in Germany in 2011, there was a standing joke being circulated through the media which bluntly put says, that the American police kill more people in America than the crooks kill in Germany, and that this came on the back of a study that was published just 2 years ago in 2012 that showed that the German police in the previous year of 2011 shot just 85 bullets at people and half of them were warning shots.
German police used 85 bullets in 2011, according to a report.Some political activists have made the point that the militarized American police response in light of the number of in line of duty deaths is overly aggressive and cannot be justified in its use of force policies and what should happen is a more peace officer like European style community based policing model that is far less aggressive which should be adopted in the United States. This diary will not speak to that issue but will instead let you as the reader come to your own conclusions on that point as to whether or not the militarized American police response is truly justified or not.
LA police fired 90 in one incident....LAST UPDATED AT 11:41 ON Mon 14 May 2012
But perhaps shootings aren’t the worst risk in the US. Amnesty International estimates that more than 500 people have been killed by police using supposedly 'non-lethal' Tasers since 2001.
American Line of Duty Police Deaths for 2014: 67It should be noted that while the federal government and private groups in America keep track of the number of police who are killed in the line of duty by being shot at, there is no part of the federal government or any private groups who track the number of citizens in America who are shot and killed by the police. So that number for the above reasons is historically and permanently unavailable, whereupon this diary invites you to draw to your own conclusions from that.
Automobile accident: 15
Gunfire (Accidental): 1
Heart attack: 8
Motorcycle accident: 2
Struck by vehicle: 3
Vehicle pursuit: 2
Vehicular assault: 7
From New York Times journalist Matt Apuzzo in PBS Newshour Interview (at 28mins, 20secs) on Aug 14, 2014---------------------------------
"The idea that America's streets are so dangerous that the police are outgun isn't just born out of the data.We're looking at violent crime in the United States now
is at a generational low and police shootings have been steadily declining, shootings against police. I should note that while the federal government and private groups keep data when people shoot police, no such data is collected when the police shoot people..." (End of quote)
Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/...
WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised. This video below shows graphic matter wherein an unarmed African American male, Eric Garner is choked to death by a white police officer in broad daylight, on camera, with complete impunity wherein no criminal charges have been filed against the police. As this type of thing has happened thousands of times in America, can we understand the reaction of the African American community in Ferguson and across America.
As a male of European ethnicity it is honestly difficult for me to believe that these racially profiled motivated killings by police, who are entitled to use deadly force even against unarmed Americans wherein the clear subtext is that the lives of police are more important than the lives of unarmed American citizens (as an axiomatic issue). Also why aren't students all across America today following the lead of the students at Howard University, peacefully posing for pictures like the one below.
Before the tragedy in Ferguson unfolded where a young unarmed African American male by the name of Micheal Brown was killed, and I would argue actually racially profiled and murdered by white policemen, I wrote about a young 13 year old boy by the name of Andy Lopez who was also racially profiled and was killed wherein he was initially shot in the back (by a white policeman who was an Iraq war veteran) on his way home while carrying a plastic toy BB gun next to a field that was a regular playground for neighborhood kids.
Prior to that I wrote about a mentally disturbed African American man who had a knife in his hand and was killed by New York City Police running racial profiling operations in the most iconic of American places, right in Times Square in the heart of New York City.
I recently had an important conversation with a European friend who was as rightly disturbed by the American militarized police state as I was. He related to me a personal experience that deserves your attention, wherein over here he reported a knife wielding mentally disturbed man to the police, they responded. The man came at them with a knife and these police officers exercised such restraint, that they actually got into their cars and closed the doors. The man then proceeded to damage their police vehicle smashing the headlights and causing other damage. The officers stayed seated until such time as a canine police patrol unit appeared on the scene. At which point a dog subdued the man and he was taken into custody without any serious injury. My friend recalls seeing the man waving at him behind a fenced mental health facility, waving at all cars as they went by. He was alive and well and hopefully on his way to recovery with the help of competent health care professionals at a hospital facility. Given our experience as Americans I would have to say it would be very unlikely that this man would have been allowed to survive in most jurisdictions in the United States, because American police are trained differently!
* Here's a link to the German article, wherein the machete wielding intoxicated mentally disturbed German man was shot once in the leg and survived (June 11th 2014) .
Isn't it time we imported European police officers from the German police service and the police services of other European countries to train American police to stop summary firing squad time executions of mentally disturbed people by police in the United States. Certainly its an international badge of shame how poorly in the use of force American police are trained compared to their European counterparts who displayed a much higher level of competence in this regard.
By contrast, near Ferguson in St. Louis the police shot a mentally deranged young African American male from accounts in possession of a butter knife, police fired 8 times, killing him. This is real evidence of how poorly trained the American police are compared to European police forces as in the example of Germany.
(Clearly these statistics for the Ferguson Police must be seen as badge of shame).
We in America actually have more people in federal, state and local lockups, than we have service members in the active duty military. This is an enormous loss of human potential, which has become an international badge of shame in the militarized American police state. The only protection that we as citizens have against the militarized police state is the ballot box. We must vote the militarized American police state out of existence in order to protect public safety and our democracy. We must act bravely and swiftly to stop this criminalized police state from robbing still more of our needed taxpayer funds, so that greedy war profiteers, who have grown fat and rich on human misery, the world over now believe they have found a new market segmentation, this time on American streets. They are now doing to the American people what America through military intervention and through the intimidation of gunboat diplomacy has done all over the world, where we have well over 200 military bases worldwide. There is always plenty of money for the worldwide American police state, but there is never enough money for universal medical care, dental care, prescription medications. There is never enough money for American food security, environmental protection and rebuilding crumbling critical infrastructures. Our last line of defense is the ballot box, because it is only through the ballot box that we can save our communities from the American militarized police state.
Regarding the rebellion taking place in Ferguson. The Reverend Jesse Jackson has been quoted by the BBC as detailed below with what one may only refer to as sobering words indeed. Please give Reverend Jackson's remarks and full article a close read.
'Overkill'Please let's remember as the American working class continues to be pushed to the wall by the 1% and their Wall Street surrogates, the pockets of the third world will continue to grow as will the militarized police force to ensure the oppression by the rich of America's poor and working class. Therefore the militarization of America's police forces are a frightening trend which must be addressed by the voters at the ballot box. If our politicians don't show the political will that's necessary then our voters must organize referendum ballot measures in order to protect public safety and to ensure the continued democracy of the United States.
Earlier, following a rally organised by civil rights activist the Reverend Jesse Jackson, he described Mr Brown's death as part of "a pattern around the country of a black man being shot by white police, [falsely] arrested, stop and frisk, excessive jailing."
"This is a kind of lynching in 2014," Mr Jackson added.
Please note the intent of this action diary is not to provide any comprehensive treatment of the subject matter, but rather merely to provide an ice breaker type discussion starter in a public space by American voters!
PS: UPDATE: 20th August 2014
Eric Holder Attorney General of the United States announced today that he will be visiting Ferguson shortly, so there is good reason for hope, and we must always work to support each other and keep hope alive. So there is some hope of
a prosecution under Federal law. This is important because any hope of a successful prosecution under Missouri laws all but zero! In fact in states like Missouri the laws are specifically written to make a successful prosecution in cases like Michael Brown all but impossible, especially when the killer is a policeman. While the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who killed Michael Brown. Basically once that's done the person who killed him only has to provide evidence that he was acting in self-defense, instead of being required to mount a vigorous, full on affirmative defense. The evidentiary standard for a claim of self-defense under Missouri law is so low, it would be almost impossible for a policeman through his own testimony, stating he was in fear and acted in self-defense wouldn't be sufficient. This evidence may be established through the killers own testimony. In which case Missouri law so heavily in its weight favors the killer, that any reasonable chance of a conviction becomes so unlikely, especially in the case of a policeman being the killer, that it's extremely unlikely that the prosecutor would ever pursue such a case, because securing a conviction, especially if the victim is African-American and the killer is a policeman, under Missouri state law the situation becomes essentially almost hopeless. Therefore the visit of Eric Holder, as the Attorney General of the United States offers some real hope of a federal prosecution being effectuated in the matter of Michael Brown's civil rights being violated.
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