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This was a protest near the White House, on June 1st.
"It has been an entirely peaceful protest..."
It was met by forces with helmets, riot shields, rifles...
and tear gas.
The authorities here were a mix of police and military:
There were Secret Service, Park Police, the National Guard, Prison Special Operations,
and local police from a nearby county.
But can you tell which ones are the police?
If it's hard to tell — it's these guys by the way —
it's because America's police have been looking more and more like troops.
"Get in the house!"
(screams)
So why do American police officers look like soldiers?
And where did they get all these weapons?
"Don't shoot!
This was a peaceful protest!"
In the 1980s, police in America looked more like this.
The US's crime rate had been doing this.
And President Reagan called for the military to work more directly with the police
for the War on Drugs.
"Drugs are menacing our society."
"We must move to strengthen law enforcement activities."
Congress agreed, and over the next few years passed a series of bills:
To give police access to military bases and equipment,
for the National Guard to assist police with drug operations,
for the military and police to train together,
and eventually, to have the military loan police departments their excess,
leftover equipment, for free.
This would become known as the 1033 program.
Police departments got assault rifles like M16s, armored trucks, and even grenade launchers.
And before long, it started to have an effect on how police… police.
We can see that in the number of times SWAT teams were used.
Departments that had deployed them about once a month in the 80s
were using them more than 80 times a year by 1995.
Almost all of these deployments were for drug-related search warrants,
usually forced-entry searches called “no knock warrants.”
The police were becoming militarized, and people noticed.
This 1997 article said it made police look like “an occupying army.”
In February of 1997, two men robbed a bank in North Hollywood, Los Angeles.
They had automatic rifles and body armor.
The police didn't.
By the time it ended, a dozen police officers were injured.
In the aftermath of the shootout, California police demanded they be equipped
with assault rifles, like the AR-15.
But so did police in places from Florida to Connecticut.
And that same year, the 1033 program was expanded, dropping a requirement that police departments
use the equipment for drug-related enforcement.
Now any law enforcement, even university police, could access leftover military weapons,
for any reason.
A retired police chief in Connecticut told the New York Times, “I was offered tanks,
bazookas, anything I wanted.”
Because complete records on these loans weren't kept until 2015,
we don't know exactly how much equipment was given out in those early years.
But we do have data on how much of it police departments still have,
from each year it was given out.
And you can see a steady growth in the program for most of the 90s and 2000s.
And then something happens around here.
“The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.”
In 2011, the US military formally withdrew its troops from Iraq.
That meant the military had a lot of equipment, and one less war to use it on.
So it became available to the police.
This is a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle, or MRAP.
It's among the most controversial equipment given out under the 1033 program.
And we know from the data that police departments still have several hundred of them
that they got in 2013 and 2014.
But none from 2015.
That's because in August of 2014, the 1033 Program became national news.
"We just said 'hands up, don't shoot,' and they just started shooting!"
A police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, had shot and killed an unarmed black teenager
named Michael Brown.
Afterwards, the community's protests were met by heavily militarized police,
who pointed sniper rifles at them as they marched.
"Tear gas and armored tanks became a familiar sight in Ferguson, Missouri."
"The police departments around the country have been getting a lot of this type of equipment..."
President Obama responded with an executive order curbing the 1033 Program.
"We've seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there's an occupying force,
as opposed to a force that's part of the community that's protecting them and serving them."
Two years later, President Trump's administration reversed that.
"We will not put superficial concerns above public safety."
But by that point, the 1033 Program had become a lot less important anyway.
This chart shows that by 2016, most MRAPs loaned out by the military
went to smaller police departments.
That means when larger cities today have MRAPs and other military gear,
it's often because they've bought it themselves.
And that's because police having military gear and weapons
no longer depends on any one government program.
It's now a part of how police see themselves.
The thing that I think is really important is, with that equipment comes a certain mentality.
This is Arthur Rizer.
He's a former military police officer, former civilian police officer,
and now studies police militarization.
A big part of his research is about that mentality.
And he shared a poll he did of police officers with us.
I asked officers,
do you have any problem with police officers routinely on patrol,
carrying military-grade equipment, or dressing in military type of uniforms?
And the vast majority of those officers told me, "no, I have no problem with that."
And then the second question I asked is,
do you think it changes the way that officers feel about themselves and their role in policing?
And the vast majority officers, again, said "yes."
And what they said was, it makes them more aggressive, more assertive,
and it can make them more violent.
And then finally, I asked them,
how do you think the public perceives you?
And the vast majority said,
"it scares them."
They know that it scares the public.
They know that it makes them more aggressive or more assertive.
And that can be dangerous.
But they don't seem to care.
There are definitely times when it's been more clearly beneficial
for the police to have this equipment.
For example, during the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016,
Orlando police used an armored military vehicle to stop the shooter.
But those moments tend to be the exception.
Today, this equipment is still mostly used by SWAT teams for executing drug-related search warrants.
And more than half of those are still no-knock warrants,
the kind that Louisville police were executing when they killed Breonna Taylor.
And in the case of the Ferguson protests,
the Department of Justice found that the heavily militarized presence
“served to escalate rather than de-escalate the overall situation.”
The military, and the police, are supposed to serve different purposes.
A military protects an “us” from a “them.”
A police officer is supposed to be part of the “us.”
But when police think of themselves as soldiers, that can change.
What is a police officer going to do with an assault rifle when he's facing a protest?
When you give someone a hammer, why are you surprised that everything looks like a nail to them?
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Why America's police look like soldiers

74 タグ追加 保存
lonybee 2020 年 8 月 12 日 に公開
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