Tag Archives: police

How to Fund an American Police State | The Nation

6 Mar

All told, the federal government has appropriated about $635 billion, accounting for inflation, for homeland security–related activities and equipment since the 9/11 attacks. To conclude, though, that “the police” have become increasingly militarized casts too narrow a net. The truth is that virtually the entire apparatus of government has been mobilized and militarized right down to the university campus….

Government budgets at every level now include allocations aimed at fighting an ephemeral “War on Terror” in the United States. A vast surveillance and military buildup has taken place nationwide to conduct a pseudo-war against what can be imagined, not what we actually face. The costs of this effort, started by the Bush administration and promoted faithfully by the Obama administration, have been, and continue to be, virtually incalculable. In the process, public service and the public imagination have been weaponized.

Farewell to Peaceful Private Life

We’re not just talking money eagerly squandered. That may prove the least of it. More importantly, the fundamental values of American democracy—particularly the right to lead an autonomous private life—have been compromised with grim efficiency. The weaponry and tactics now routinely employed by police are visible evidence of this.

And then there’s the “fusion centers,” which have nothing to do with atomic power of with avant-garde cuisine. It’s about gather information together and letting all the government snoops read it: Continue reading

Robocops vs. the occupiers – Law enforcement – Salon.com

23 Nov

Many local police departments facing Occupy protests have also not seen dissent like this in their streets in recent decades, and don’t know any other approach, Vitale says.

“In places like Dallas and Denver, police are pulling out batons because they don’t know how to deal constructively with dissent,” he adds.

Vitale says that the use of rubber-coated bullets and tear gas often signals “handling dissent on the cheap.” Instead of bringing in enough officers to establish control, “a handful of guys are sent in with armor, rubber bullets and flashbang grenades.”

“It’s very clear that cities across the country have not learned from our mistakes,” said Norm Stamper, the former police chief of Seattle who resigned after the debacle of 1999 and has since publicly expressed regret for his handling of the situation, especially the use of tear gas.

via Robocops vs. the occupiers – Law enforcement – Salon.com.

The NYPD has discredited itself – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com

18 Nov

As Occupy Wall Street grew, the New York Police Department’s “crowd control” tactics became increasingly bizarre and aggressive: historic mass arrests, motor scooter attacks, destruction of books, ramming horses into demonstrators, putting New York Post reporters in choke holds – to name only a few. And following Tuesday’s brazen raid of Zuccotti Park, carried out in the dead of night, the NYPD indicated that de-escalation is not on the horizon. Quite the opposite, in fact. Police officials at the highest ranks, under the direction of Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, have taken to simply making up the rules as they go along.

In the same way that financial elites rig the political system, law enforcement elites like Bloomberg and Kelly have rigged the criminal justice system. Occupy Wall Street is hardly the only victim. The NYPD is on pace to make 700,000 extralegal “stop-and-frisks” this year alone, while its own officers skirt accountability for their misconduct.

via The NYPD has discredited itself – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com.

The NYPD, now sponsored by Wall Street – Salon.com

7 Oct

JPMorgan gave a massive gift of $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation in the form of money, patrol car laptops, “security monitoring software,” and other tech resources. But the donation was given starting late last year and was completed by spring 2011, so it was obviously not made in response to the Occupy Wall Street protests. …

The police foundation is the private fundraising arm of the NYPD. It allows donors to make tax-exempt gifts to the department and in turn the foundation funds a wide-range of specialized NYPD units, international counterterrorism work, and high-tech gadgetry.

“This gift is especially disturbing to us because it creates the appearance that there is an entrenched dynamic of the police protecting corporate interests rather than protecting the First Amendment rights of the people,” says Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild, which has had legal observers posted at the major Occupy Wall Street marches. “They’ve essentially turned the financial district into a militarized zone.”

via The NYPD, now sponsored by Wall Street – Salon.com.