USA Today, WSJ Realize What We’ve Been Saying For Years: America’s Cops Are Out Of Control

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For some time, millions of Federal dollars and decommissioned military equipment have been falling into the hands of local police departments through grant deals which serve two purposes: Giving local cops cool toys like tanks and riot gear to test out on small-time criminals and putting local law enforcement agencies in the back pocket of Federal agencies.

Search for Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Cambridge, MA. Credit: UPI

Personal Liberty Digest™ has kept readers informed about the ever-growing militarization of America’s police forces for years. And, gradually, other media outlets have begun to wake up and recognize that Federal money and equipment are turning local police into militarized forces that focus far too little on community and far too much on force.

A Wall Street Journal essay published over the weekend, titled “Rise of the Warrior Cop,” chronicles a number of examples of local police forces acting like military units, using undue force and terrorizing residents who are involved — and sometimes mistakenly believed to be involved — in nonviolent criminal activities.

Some highlights from the piece:

  • “The country’s first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.”
  • “The number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown accordingly. In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005 (the last year for which Dr. Kraska collected data), there were approximately 50,000 raids.”
  • “Among the new, tough-minded law-enforcement measures included in [the War on Drugs] was the no-knock raid—a policy that allowed drug cops to break into homes without the traditional knock and announcement. After fierce debate, Congress passed a bill authorizing no-knock raids for federal narcotics agents in 1970.”

A similar story appeared in USA Today in late June, illustrating how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has begun using entrapment as a favorite means to make arrests.

Here’s a video summary of that story:

 
As mainstream media outlets begin to report more frequently on the militarization of American police forces, Americans have an opportunity to speak out and attempt to put a stop to the trend by talking to local law enforcement officials and legislators about the dangers of too much military equipment in the hands of local police.

Brush up on your knowledge about the militarization of America’s cops with the following Personal Liberty stories:

Report: Local Police Becoming Increasingly Militarized

Police, like those in Fargo, N.D., have bought bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment and Kevlar helmets similar those used by soldiers in foreign wars. The onslaught of purchases for military-style equipment is being carried out with Homeland Security funds allotted since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Why You Should Never Call Police

Following what seemed like a rash of stories like this that saw people calling police for help and ending up being detained, arrested, abused and/or killed at the hands of the “men (and women) in blue,” we started to name this new feature segment “Why You Should Never Call Police.” But while we still hold the sentiment that calling the police for help can be hazardous to one’s health (and, therefore, should not be done), that name seemed too restrictive.

Why It Doesn’t Pay To Cooperate With Police

You should never consent to a police search of your vehicle and never volunteer information when being questioned. Of course, not consenting doesn’t mean you won’t be subjected to an unConstitutional and illegal search. But two recent cases drive home the point of why it doesn’t pay to cooperate with police.

The Violent Militarization Of Local Police

Law-abiding citizens are no longer safe from police. Once the motto for police officers was “To protect and serve,” but now it seems to be “To harass, assault and attack.” Across the country, police officers are increasingly militarized and increasingly militant.

Let Me See Your Papers

Residents of the Arkansas town of Paragould — population barely 25,000 — will soon begin noticing a constant presence of militarized police patrolling the streets and asking to see pedestrians’ papers.

Ruby Ridge Tactics Now Modus Operandi?

This week, two decades ago, Americans were watching reports of the horrific escalation of the events that occurred in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, where agents of the Federal government terrorized and killed members of Randy Weaver’s family after he failed to appear in court on a charge of selling shotguns that were slightly too short to an undercover Federal agent.

Florida Man Shot Dead By Cops For Answering Door Armed

A Florida man was shot dead by deputies of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department at 1:30 a.m. Sunday when they failed to identify themselves as police officers and banged on the door of his apartment. The officers were pursuing an alleged attempted murderer when they knocked on the apartment door.

Feds Raid Wrong Massachusetts Apartment

A Fitchburg, Mass., woman and her 3-year-old daughter fell victim last week to the product of increasingly militarized and invasive tactics used by police officers throughout the United States. At 6:04 a.m. last Thursday, just before her alarm clock was set to go off, Judy Sanchez was awakened by pounding at the door of her apartment.

The Real 2012 Doomsday: U.S. Falls To Tyranny

The past year has been a bad one for democracy, and the Republic that once was the United States seems to live in name only. Because of the extreme abuses of power the Federal government has exercised just in the past year, the people of the Nation have been broken and discouraged and must now only be controlled.

Boston Friday Is Future America

During the hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the teenaged Boston Marathon bombing suspect, local and Federal law enforcers shut down the city of Boston. No mass transit. No taxis. No moving about of any kind. “Stay inside, don’t go to work, don’t go to the store,” said the “authorities.”

In the comments below, tell us if you’ve noticed a militarization of your local police force — and, if so, what impact it has had in your community.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • txbadonetoo

    I’m assuming no ‘comments’ to this article could be implied as fear by some to speak out about what we know is happening more and more in America.
    I do believe that most Police are good dedicated people – but in my mind there is zero doubt that too many are beginning to lose their fear of acting out improperly. I’m sure all of us have seen news stories, videos or read about recent examples of Police over-reaching their rights and more often than not they were not properly disciplined in my opinion.
    If someone was banging on my front door at 1:30 AM and didn’t identify themselves as a Police officer – you can bet I’d approach that door armed. I wouldn’t open it and I’d probably be on the phone with 911 but it scares me that just holding a gun while trying to understand what is going on can and is being taken as cause by some Police to ‘take out’ innocent people in their own homes.
    If I know a police officer is involved in any situation I’ll obey and even bite my tongue if I have a strong opinion – but that doesn’t mean that any of us should not expect our full Constitutional rights to be upheld by ALL members of the Police Forces in the USA.

    • dan

      They’d best be showing picture ID and a warrant or I’m assuming it’s a criminal home invasion by masked men…
      I’m sure i’ll be vindicated post-humously

      • rob kelly

        They don’t show you anything until they break your door down and your on the ground!

    • TexasOlTimer

      My dad was a policeman back in the 1940s prior to WWII. I grew up knowing what it’s like to be a police officer and never knowing what you’ll walk into when a call comes in. I understand that.

      What I do not understand is why we have to be respectful to a disrespectful cop or we are ‘obstructing justice?’ Note the high school student that was wearing a NRA t-shirt (which was ok by school rules) but refused to turn it inside out. When the school called the police (why on earth was THAT done?), he tried to tell the police he was just exercising his 1st Amendment rights and was arrested for ‘obstructing justice’ or was it ‘obstructing a police officer in the performance of his duties?’

      We have a right to free speech in this country unless it is criticizing the government in the presence of Secret Service men or saying anything the police don’t agree with while in their presence.

    • Robert Zraick

      We have a right to our rights, but I do not think we should expect them any more. The line has been crossed. People are waking up, but it is far too late. Sorry folks. I was screaming for years for people to open their eyes and just see the reality of what has been happening.
      They did not listen and now it is too late. No good way out any more.

    • Wellarmed

      The content of this article is a very serious topic for me. My family has personal experience with rogue cops masquerading as “law enforcement officers”.

      Here in New Mexico SWAT members have been shot and killed by home owners, and consequently been vindicated. I do not remember the particulars of the case, but I believe that the SWAT member either broke into the wrong home or they did not identify themselves as officers executing an arrest warrant. Either the way they are dead and the homeowner not.

      You have a right to defend your home against all threats (cops/thieves) who attempt to violate that sanctuary. The SCOTUS ruling that removed the requirement to notification is repugnant to the Constitution and should be rectified by any means necessary.

  • Johnny O’Brien

    If you should resist verbally in any way they (the police) will threaten or even arrest you for OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE. What a load of crap.

    • TexasOlTimer

      Like the cop that had stopped a car for going the wrong way at 1 a.m. and a woman walked by on the sidewalk who had nothing to do with the traffic stop. The cop called her over, demanded her ID and when she couldn’t produce it fast enough, threw her to the ground and cuffed her – breaking two of her teeth and causing a concussion.

  • Warrior

    The “legal factory” has promulgated quite an impressive self perpetuating and lucrative bidness. More laws, lawyers, judges, police, jails, courts, fines, criminals. Property Rights? Not for you Mr & Mrs “Not Connected”.

  • jdn

    It’s supposed to be the law of our land that the military shall not occupy the American citizens . End game , turn the police into a military unit . This country was born of revolution and it seems will die without one .

  • dan

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  • red neck

    We have become a “gray state”….

  • wavesofgrain

    In New York, aren’t they pushing to pass a law it is a crime to merely “annoy” a cop?

    • IBCAMN

      check out the video on you tube were a “kid gave the finger to a cop” and was almost beaten to death for it!!
      they want to go national with that one and the phone is a weapon one too!they already have the one if you don’t change lanes at a pull over on roadside,you get a hefty fine!

      • Roger Lawhorn

        Link to youtube video or it didn’t happen.
        :-P

    • Notaidiot

      When enough tax paying folks move out of Screw York then what would they have ………….that’s right not a damned thing they can’t pay payroll and pensions if there are zero tax paying citizens . Phuq em ……..!

  • Robert Zraick

    The police cars in Los Angeles used to have the phrase “To protect and serve.” on the sides of the doors. But they no longer do. That must tell you something.

  • 1LTLos

    I have witnessed the militarization of the police for several decades and fully reserve the right to be armed with equal or similar level of weaponry that the police arms themselves with. Their frame of mind, attitudes and actions reflect that they are most interested in power and control – far from protect and serve.
    I witnessed many rogue cops out of uniform conducting door to door firearms seizures while deployed in New Orleans post Katrina in 2005. If anyone would respect the Second Amendment I thought it would be cops – but there they were, stripping people of their firearms and cuffing or plastic-tying their hands behind their backs. I dont need them

  • Justsomeguy151

    Pigs’ motto today is “Shoot first, ask questions later.” Well, We the People need to take the same tack. Pigs are out of control and feel they are better than anyone who’s not a pig. Pigs need a lead flavored reality check.

  • Dr Moon

    The Police Departments are nothing but legal, highly financed Gangs, allowed to do whatever they want when they want. Sometimes it’s easier dealing with a perp than it is with a Cop.

    • wavesofgrain

      The Unionized Police are a Militant Progressive Mafia Arm of the Democrats.

  • IBCAMN

    nowadays to the cops it’s”your guilty until you prove your not”period!
    all cops are corrupt!they are legally armed thugs w/badge out to collect revenue for the county,that’s it!if we all stopped paying their illegal summons didn’t pay the court cost,etc..that county would go broke!but if we do that,we go to jail!so you are forced to pay!!if you and everybody else knows the summons is BS,they will lie(cops)in court to make you guilty!
    i’m a biker,i live the life and cops hate me!i have hundreds of stories i could tell,the one that sticks in my craw is the one were the cops burned my house down when they couldn’t find what they were looking for!!BS charges!and it’s funny,when it was all said n done-16 cops,dea,fbi agents were either retired,relocated or let go!and it all came down to a lie the deputy made,in his mind,he blamed me because of his son’s death in a drive by(to which i was at the house party where it happened)so when he saw me,he had to get me for something,you figure it out!but the cops said(in court)all evidance was lost in a accidental house fire!and there was nothing,ever,i don’t do or sell drugs(pcp) or guns,but the thing that’s really wierd,it was my ol lady that was cheating on me with a cop that started the whole thing!
    yep,and this cop believed everything she spoon fed him(to get out of going to jail for cocaine posesion)i lost almost everything,including my life!when i got out and returned home,all there was,was a big hole in the ground,my garage was only there with my bike and a few boxes of cloths!LEO/PD’s are corrupt,they think they are gods!
    the story is long and can’t tell it all here,but it was all the cops doing their dirty work they do every day!

  • mark are

    At one time police officers were trained to be PEACE officers. They were
    even called PEACE officers. That is the difference between then and
    now. Today they are law ENFORCEMENT officers. Just the name reeks of
    power and piety. And the type of people who were PEACE officers were a
    lot different then the type of mentality it takes to be a law
    ENFORCEMENT officer. That is the major difference. One job actually
    attracted NORMAL people while the other attracts PSYCHOPATHIC
    personalities. Just look at how they take care of everything. At one
    time they carried six shot revolvers and would knock on the door and ask
    to talk to you and then politely arrest you if they had a warrant.
    Today, they use military hardware, and come as execution squads without
    knocking, shooting first and asking questions later ENFORCING laws that
    are for non violent actions with EXTREME prejudice. Its SICK.

  • equestrian_colt

    There wouldn’t be an issue if the drugs were legalized and under
    government control but the pay off for the government isn’t as big. So
    of course they will keep all this drama God B.S going. No the whole
    reason people are becoming more violent is because these pigs and the
    Nazi government is out of control.

  • equestrian_colt

    You pigs need to be on the side of the people hell even the government
    when everything goes to hell will categorize you as civilians and you
    pigs will be treated like the rest of the civilians rounded up shot and
    put in camps. You may think you all have a God title cause you have a
    government job title but you’ll soon find out your no different then any
    other normal citizen.

  • equestrian_colt

    You pigs can where all the gear you want you can still be killed and will be if you stand on the side of a Nazi traitor who has and is destroying this country, you F tards swore to protect from Nazis like this. Odumbass is committing a coup d’etat which is treason. Using the domocrapic party. Its time for you pigs to quit waging war against the people and to wage war against the true enemy Odumbass and his anus sucking Nazi followers.

  • cant stand whats going on

    I WOULD TRUST A SERIAL KILLER BEFORE I WOULD TRUST OUR SO CALLED PO PO I MEAN LOCAL GANG WITH A LIC. TO DO WHAT EVER THEY DAM WELL PLEASE, OH I SAID THAT. SORRY PIGS BUT YOU ARE WAY OUT OF CONTROLL AND ITS OUR FALT BY BECOMEING SHEEPEL WE ARE SCREWED

  • http://www.ConservaTibbs.com/ Scott Tibbs

    Just as an FYI, Radley Balko (the author of the WSJ piece) has been writing extensively on the militarization of police for many years now.

    You can see his archives on Reason.com, the Huffington Post, the Cato Institute and his personal blog, TheAgitator.com