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Cops Aren’t Under Siege.
Civilians and Liberties Are.

| December 9, 2016

cops police siege

America has cops’ back. (c FlaglerLive)

Last week the sheriff’s office posted a thank-you letter on its Facebook page that a citizen gave two deputies. It’s about 100 words long, and it’s a touching note of gratefulness “from a family that cares” for cops who put their lives on the line every day to keep the community safe. I agree wholeheartedly.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive.com flaglerlive But one phrase struck a false note: “In spite of all the restrictions put on law enforcement recently…” It’s the sort of inaccuracy often spread unquestioningly on social media, by supposedly reputable news sites, and of course by cops themselves: the last local election for sheriff often rang with absurd claims by candidates that they’d “restore” police authority and that they’d “have their cops’ backs,” as if cops now were running for their lives. A sheriff who justly means to trust his troops and investigate internal problems before making accusations is not the issue. That’s responsible leadership. But the cops-as-victims fantasy reflects a narrative of police under siege and somehow handcuffed by these vague “restrictions” that keep them from doing their job properly.

The reality is the opposite. For three decades, Congress, state legislatures, courts and public attitudes have overwhelmingly beefed up police powers, toughened crime laws and harshed up prison terms at the expense of defendants and the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court under Earl Warren in the 1950s and 60s was an exception. For the first time in the nation’s history the rights of the accused got a little more than lip service. Such things as Miranda warnings and limits on searches and interrogations attempted to give the Fourth and Fifth Amendments new life. It didn’t last. By the 1980s the courts were swinging the other way with armored abandon.


Under the guise of the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on immigrants and now the revived craving of Nixon-era “law-and-order,” policing has evolved into the shrewdest expression of authoritarian power in everyday life. When I think of big government, I don’t think of, abstract, far-away bureaucracies that, in any case, work better than advertised. I think of government as it interacts on a daily basis with us locally: code enforcement, public utilities, trash collectors, and of course courts and cops. Though we’ve been fortunate to have generally decent and respectful local law enforcement agencies, particularly the sheriff’s office and the Flagler Beach Police Department, that rule is not necessarily a guarantee. One jurisdiction’s luck may be another jurisdiction’s misfortune, and institutional problems are the universal language of accepted police overreach posing under accepted practices of “force matrix” and other euphemisms of brutality. Even a cursory look at the sort of policing that’s been normalized over the past decades shows its one-way command to submission. “Stop resisting” isn’t a suggestion. It’s a citizen’s only warning shot of what follows—a cop’s blank-check equivalent to tap an arsenal of powers, naked force that scrapes at the edge of human rights included.

It can start with the innocuous traffic stop, which itself can start with so little as a broken taillight or an unclicked seatbelt. Cops may order passengers, not just drivers, out of a car even without probable cause. They can sniff your car or bags without a warrant, then conduct a search if the dog sniffs something, without a warrant. They can simply ask you to consent to a search without a warrant or even surmise it under the bogus theory of “implied consent,” and since most people feel intimidated or don’t know their rights—and cops usually don’t volunteer the information—most submit. If they don’t, they invite suspicion.

Just this year the Supreme Court ruled it legal for police to use evidence found in an illegal traffic stop, and found it illegal for drivers to refuse a breath test, even without a warrant (though blood draws now require a warrant.) At your own home cops can keep you outside for two hours before they secure a search warrant. They can barge in after a pro-forma knock at the door—or simply search, without a warrant, if the homeowner is absent, and they play that “consent” card with someone else on the premises.

Camera surveillance, face-recognition technology, license-plate readers, not to mention the sweeping powers of the USA Patriot Act, still very much in force, have made a mockery of privacy in most places, your home computer and hand-held devices included. Police powers under civil asset forfeiture laws give cops authority to seize cash and assets on mere probable cause, not conviction—and never give them back. Databases have hugely increased police powers to keep tabs on citizens’ private business, with Florida playing a leading role. As for students’ rights at school, courts have steadily demolished those even as federal law has turned student privacy into a religion. It’s not been entirely one-sided: a warrant is required to install electronic tracking devices or search cell phones in most cases (though federal wiretapping is greatly more permissive), cops can’t use drones yet but can still fly over anyone’s property in helicopters. Such restrictions tend to be exceptions more than rules.  

In interrogation rooms, the law now allows investigators to lie, trick and deceive their suspect. They can do anything but threaten or exert violence. Once into the so-called justice system, the machinery of pleas kick in with decks stacked in favor of prosecutors and against poorer defendants left at the mercy of public defender offices that look almost as indigent. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a phrase about as believable as “all the restrictions put on law enforcement recently.”

Cops can’t necessarily be blamed for what goes on in the justice system, but as anyone who’s watched court proceedings regularly will tell you, it’s cops, prosecutors, most of the laws and a good deal of law-and-order judges on one side, and defendants on the other. There’s nothing fair, balanced or just about it. Rare is the judge who’ll let stand question of the authenticity of an arresting affidavit or a cop’s testimony, though as Peter Keane, the former San Francisco police commissioner, put it, “One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.” And the lying involves a lot more than narcotics cops.

Back outside and thanks to the military surplus craze since the nation has been engaging in perpetual wars on drugs, on terror and in the Middle East, law enforcement agencies of all sizes, including the Flagler’s sheriff’s office, have become paramilitary organizations with assault weaponry, SWAT teams and armored personnel carriers made for guerilla warfare and once thought necessary at most only in the rarest mass-hostage or urban riot situations, not in towns of 30,000 suburban plots with fire-ant crime rates.

The more powerful cops feel, the more immune from accountability they’ll act. Their own infrastructure gives them cover—not just with that famous code of silence in their own departments, but institutionally, nationally. While the FBI tracks crimes by civilians, it does not do so when cops are involved. It has a database of fatal police shootings, but it doesn’t require police agencies to keep it updated, and it doesn’t have data beyond fatal shootings. It matters. Comprehensive data alerts the public to trends, lends itself to analysis and helps inspire corrective measures. Without data, a false sense of normalcy prevails. That’s what we’ve had, that’s why the cell-phone footage of brutal acts appears so shockingly out of the ordinary, when if anything those encounters have been too shockingly ordinary.

Various analyses by media and university researchers have invariably found that cops are rarely charged and even more rarely punished when they kill unarmed civilians. If they are, they spend little time in prison. The same is true when cops violate civil rights. In a 20-year period, an investigation found, cops avoided federal charges in 96 percent of cases in which they were investigated.

Even the Obama administration, often and falsely claimed to have been anti-police, has in fact been overwhelmingly protective of cops’ use of force. “At the Supreme Court, where the limits of police power are established,” The New York Times reported last year, the Justice Department “has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way to arguments. Even as it has opened more than 20 civil rights investigations into local law enforcement practices, the Justice Department has staked out positions that make it harder for people to sue the police and that give officers more discretion about when to fire their guns.” And the Supreme Court has routinely sided with cops on use of force.

Florida is better at this (so far), but in all but 12 states, police disciplinary records are sealed in whole or in part. When the slightest initiative is introduced to right the balance in favor of civilians, it’s quickly diluted: civilian review boards are either ridiculed or non-existent, including here. No sooner were body cameras introduced than laws were added restricting public access to them, starting in Florida.

The surge in police powers has paralleled an explosion in private security forces, private prisons, and legalized vigilantism such as Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, all the while legitimizing the language of totalitarian states: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.”  That’s the language of submission, not liberty, of flipping means and ends: police aren’t here to protect us, but to command us. They define our liberties as opposed to the other way around, when the 4th amendment is intended to clearly demarcate the limits of police powers and our right to be let alone is unquestioned absent probable cause—not hunches, not sniffs, not a badge’s presumptions or “implied consent.”

There’s been an increase in officer killings this year, and that’s concerning: 63 law enforcement officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty so far this year, a 68 percent increase over last year. But even that number plays into the false narratives of cops under siege. Overall cops’ deaths in the line of duty this year are up 22 percent, and looking at cops’ killings in criminal situations, 2016, despite the spike, will still continue a historical trend of significantly decreased killings in the line of duty since the early 1970s, when more than twice as many cops were killed. And though public perceptions aided by media and cop hype may claim otherwise, a cop’s job still wouldn’t make it into the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America, with loggers, roofers, truck drivers and garbage collectors, among others, facing more fatal hazards than cops. This is not to take any job hazards lightly, those of cops included. But let’s not take facts so lightly as to substitute self-serving myths for them, either.

If we’re witnessing a wave of police brutality and public clashes between cops and civilians, it’s the result of years of loosening restrictions on police powers, fostering an arrogance of force and lack of accountability. It’s certainly not because restrictions have been imposed on police. The difference now is that some of that arrogance is occasionally captured on cell phones and seen by millions, instead of suffered by victims alone. Instead of laws rebalancing the field at least a little in favor of citizens and defendants, pockets of public outrage have attempted to do what TV cameras once did with Bull Connor’s attack dogs in Birmingham. As the Columbia University humanities professor Mark Lilla put it in The Times right near the time when that nice letter was being delivered to the Flagler sheriff’s deputies, “Black Lives Matter has delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience.” Occasionally snarling or bigoted reactions to that movement aside, it’s caused an overdue rethinking of police powers, including thoughtful and measured discussions locally. But that’s all it’s been: pockets of scattershot outrage with brief lives in the nation’s conscience, not the sort of movement that can improve behavior, department policies and, ultimately, change laws.

So it’s both too early to tell whether that translates into less blunt policing and too little to suggest that it will. Donald Trump’s election, powered at least in part by law-and-order euphemisms for more police powers, not less, does not bode well. And popular delusions such as “restrictions put on law enforcement” tell us that—like the toxic culture of “stop resisting”—the police state is more entrenched in our liberty-loving land than we care to admit. All you have to do is listen. The conversation about better policing is either dying or getting drowned out by Kevlar-muffled chest-thumping.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF and was syndicated on Commondreams.org.

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48 Responses for “Cops Aren’t Under Siege.
Civilians and Liberties Are.”

  1. The Ghost of America says:

    Good article, but you’re speaking in a vacuum. Staley won the election, which demonstrates that the majority of people here in flagler county are more interested in jackboot thuggery than equality before the law.

  2. W.Ryan says:

    OMG! This is an excellent article! Of course you know your incite will be attacked by the blind and the deaf. The dumb is ever present to spew the usual babble. Thank you Pierre!

  3. South Florida says:

    Great article

  4. Geezer says:

    Hey, at least the cops aren’t code enforcement officers.
    Great article!

  5. Flagler Citizen says:

    “When I think of big government, I don’t think of, abstract, far-away bureaucracies that, in any case, work better than advertised. I think of government as it interacts on a daily basis with us locally: code enforcement, public utilities, trash collectors, and of course courts and cops.”

    “Black Lives Matter has delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience.” Occasionally snarling or bigoted reactions to that movement aside, it’s caused an overdue rethinking of police powers, including thoughtful and measured discussions locally.”

    Yes. This stuff. Perhaps being able to view news at a national level has shifted our focus to a more vague, federal focus. We need that focus, but we often forget to look locally. We’re interested in the characters at the top but not the county Sheriff, the commissioners, local board meetings and agenda items.

    We share information on the presdent-elect’s past or what the appointees have said and done in the past, and we aren’t looking at our local community dynamics, our local challenges, ordinances, needs. Obviously, top-down government matters, but if we forget to pay attention locally, we can’t affect meaningful change upward.

  6. killedbypolice says:

    At least 1,082 people have been killed by U.S. police since January 1, 2016.
    At least 1,210 were killed in 2015.
    At least 1,111 were killed in 2014.
    At least 4,179 have been killed since May 1, 2013,
    the day this list was created: killedbypolice.net
    More than three times as many have been shot and survived, initially.
    Thousands more have died due to use of force and neglect in U.S. jails and prisons.
    An untold number have been tortured, brutalized, raped and molested.

  7. Truth says:

    Pierre, your article is so full of half truths and falsehoods that I at a loss for words. I would suggest you ride with the Police for at least 5 days/nights in the inner cities where crime on another level than Palm Coast exists. Then afterwards, read this article and see if you have the same beliefs. If you don’t have the same beliefs, update this article. If your beliefs don’t change, then right another article explaining your experience riding with the Police.

    If you choose not to do the ride-along, then your reporting lacks the credibility that is needed.

  8. William Moya says:

    O.K., Pierre, you commingle two ideas that are not, in this case, necessarily compatible and i’m confused as to what you are agreeing with.
    I agree that most law enforcement personnel in their daily work, perform a service that keep communities safe, however policing is not the work of individual actors who we tend to look in a very positive light and I would suggest to you, that the feeling emanates from a sense of fear, that only the powerful through coercion can keep us safe.
    As to the “touching note of gratefulness”, please, this is a fascist call to repress with force or quell all dissent, furthermore that the police department, who a I assume consider themselves professionals, is very worrisome, because it tints their purpose, raison d’etre, with a bias against all other groups that question their motives and methods.

  9. Layla says:

    You should know that it was the OBAMA administration who stopped the FBI from investigating cases of police brutality and charges of abuse by police. That used to be one of their missions. If you call them now, they will tell you that is no longer their role.

    I expect that it will become their mission again, when his Presidency is ended.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I say since so many feel the police are the bad guys, how about NO police at all. Try that for a year or two and see where the troubled neighborhoods would be and how many more blacks will continuing to kill blacks and the drugs, home invasions, robberies, drive by shootings, sure lets give that a try and maybe the US can move into the top 25 of the worst countries where crime is rampant. Just search for the worst countries with the highest murder rates. The US doesn’t even make into the top 25. http://list25.com/25-countries-with-the-highest-murder-rates-in-the-world/

    Oh sure people can complain all they want about police , politicians, congress but if you don’t like it, just move to one of those countries in the 25 list and see how your life changes.

    Sure we have some of control police officers in the US, but that doesn’t out number the out of control citizens that would rather challenge a police officer after the officers tells the citizen to get out of the car, turn around , stop, but NO we have stupid citizens that would rather become some headline. Just listen to the headline news on our local news stations, like yesterday womand died of stabing st a Home Depot or the lady that was shot in her car in the head while her baby was in the car. Oh yes, where is the articles on those type of crimes.

    And why not discuss the police officers that have died this year ( up to Nov 4) , I think that number is 116, that’s a 15% rise in line-of-duty deaths over the same time period in 2015 .

  11. ben dover says:

    Good article …..and the Flagler County Sheriffs office isn t free of lying , abusive officers,, one of your own staff was falsely arrested….some house cleaning is in order , shame Larry Jones didn`t win…. to get in there and do it!

  12. PCer says:

    Thank you. It is up duty as citizens and your duty as a free press to continually question the power of the government and its agencies.

    I wonder how many of the people who commented on the Facebook thread actually read the article?

  13. Geezer says:

    William Moya:

    Always on-point and thought-provoking.
    Another good commentary from Mr. Moya.

    “this is a fascist call to repress with force or quell all dissent,”
    Bravo.

  14. Dave says:

    Freedom of thought is not in the Constitution. Think about it, if you can. We do not have that freedom promised to us. Back when the Constitution was written this may have not been a concern. In 2016 I think the people should start thinking about what is possible.

  15. Edith Campins says:

    Let’s continue to blame President Obama for everything,even if it isn’t true:

    The FBI will investigate public corruption, but also violations of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983. This can be anything from use of excessive force to being denied access to legal counsel or a search that was conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Many of these complaints are made every year, but relatively few result in criminal charges being filed.

  16. Brad W says:

    I always find it interesting how many locals like to pop up and criticize Pierre for his opinions and analysis of situations where freedoms and civil liberties are concerned. Many either don’t know or forget, he lived the real deal and the reality of fleeing their home with this family for their freedom. Something these local critics, and we as American-born citizens today, are too spoiled to understand. Perhaps instead of jumping on the bandwagon to thump one’s chest over some slogan, one might take a moment to appreciate a unique insight of someone into the loss of civil liberties we are allowing to happen in our own Country and mainly because of our insistence on partisan and division rather than rational and intelligent discussion.

  17. Edith Campins says:

    And one last note…

    It seems the slackening of investigating police misconduct actually took place under Bush not Obama.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-police-reform-20151022-story.html

  18. Flaglerfool says:

    Great article. Real journalism isn’t dead

  19. Gkimp says:

    Too bad there is no one in Flagler County to police this liberal blog! Too bad a few mostly isolated problems in mostly very liberal very hugh crime areas around the country occur and the, liberal national news media and blogs like this one create a false narrative. Policing is not out of control in this country and especially not this county. Policing is an ugly business, officers deal with people that are at their absolute worse and millions of these contacts occur daily, a vast majority are handeled with no violence. If you have ever done the job you would know every encounter is driven by the potential offenders actions, the officer only reacts and hopes they react quick enough to go home. Next time Pierre misspells a word or uses improper punctuation, maybe he should be suspended or fired! When your making split second life or death decisions mistakes will happen. Luckily Pierre has a job where he can sit in his study and make mistakes everyday, because his work just is not that important in the first place.

  20. The Ghost of America says:

    “Since people have legitimate complaints about inequality before the law and there being no oversight in policing, try living without police for a year!” – a drooling moron

  21. JimB says:

    Wow! I can’t believe I’ve read an article by Pierre that I actually agree with!
    I too agree that law enforcement has gone “authority wild” so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate our LEOs but in many cases throughout the U.S., their abuse of authority is quite evident.
    I came from a county in Tennessee with a population of less than 8,000, yet the Sheriff’s Department has obtained thousands of dollars of high tech equipment such as laser guided range finders, grenade launchers, two helicopters, more 7.62mm rifles than there are deputies, more .45 cal semi- auto pistols than there are deputies, cargo trucks, semi trucks, atv’s, night vision goggles, generators and the list goes on and on. Why the hell does this small department need such equipment? Our government is making it easy for local departments to become paramilitary.
    Another influence on our LEOs is Hollywood. Look at the TV show COPS. Most of the time it is nothing but a bunch of stormtroopers yelling, brandishing weapons and committing acts of legal violence. What red-blooded young man wouldn’t want that kind of power especially with the protection of his “brothers in arms” backing him up? One can look at some of our officer’s haircuts and demeanors to see the influence that show has had. I’m old and I know times have changed drastically, but couldn’t our LEOs still encompass the common sense and the compassion shown by officers on ADAM 12 or DRAGNET?
    OK, I’m rambling and perhaps dreaming. Back to reality… it’s sad when I, as a law abiding citizen who has never been in trouble, cringe and become nervous if a cop stays behind me more than a half mile. I know I am perfectly legal, not speeding, not weaving, obeying all traffic signals, fully licensed, fully insured, not using my phone, not texting and yet I still feel threatened. I’m a white senior male (thus no profiling) driving responsively, not puttering around at 12 MPH, driving the legal speed limit and minding my own business, so why the anxiety? Is this a sign of the times? Is this a mistrust of our police? I really don’t know.
    With all said, I’ll conclude with: #1… I appreciated your article Pierre. I don’t always agree with you but in this case I do and it is very well written. #2… My county in Tennessee with TWO helicopters has no pilot. They depend on retired volunteer pilots if they should need the aircraft. and #3… If you want to check out your counties military acquisitions, here is a link to obtain that info: http://bridge.caspio.net/dp.asp?AppKey=36701000b255adcfe6ca4b13a8a4
    and #4… I appreciate our LEOs, use common sense, show compassion and above all STAY SAFE and Thank You for your service.

  22. Marlee says:

    Pierre….great reporting…thank you!

  23. A.S.F. says:

    If only we could stop promoting division among us! We need to stop giving in to our tendency to view important matters like this in purely all black/all white terms. All cops should not be tarred with the “racist” brush…and there is no justifying them being used as target practice for the sociopathic and unstable. At the same time, Law Enforcement needs to do a better job at ferreting out the bad apples, bigots and burn-outs in their own ranks. We all need to search our souls on this one.

  24. Rocky1789 says:

    Police officers risk their lives each and every day to enforce the laws. If citizens want anarchy they should board a flight to another country such as the middle east, South America,or South Africa and exprerience what real repression is. Get a clue. You have got more liberties and freedoms than many others in the world. This article and the accomanying comments are a disgrace to our law enforcement, constitution,county, country, and constitution.

  25. Sherry says:

    Wonderful article, Pierre. . . really!

    Those who haven’t yet done so, should read/reread the book “1984” by George Orwell. . . carefully and cover to cover. . . then read it again. . . because we are actually living it! If you need motivation to get through an entire book. . . read this article first: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ways-george-orwell-1984-true-article-1.2662813

    Obama didn’t start this and actually neither did Bush. . . it has been a long time coming. . . Orwell saw the beginnings in the 1940’s. While there probably is not a single minded conspiracy, certainly a perfect storm of processes, from several sources, have brought us to this place.

    How do you control a civilization? Through FEAR!

    How do you create FEAR? Subtly at first. . . prey on insecurities. . . then “divide” and conquer.

    STEP ONE: Have mass media get out the word that your safe, familiar world is ending. . . and that those “other” people are to blame for anything you do not like about your life. . . for a tiny example:

    1. ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Look familiar? If not, take a look at the lower right hand corner of your TV screen when tuned to FOX News. The world is exploding all around us. . . and “they” are coming for our guns/lives/children/religion! Feeling manipulated? You certainly should!

    2. My pay check is not getting bigger/I lost my job at the factory! Those “illegal” immigrant tomato pickers are to blame! NO. . . a combination of a lower quality of education/outsourcing to other countries to “maximize profits”, and advances in technology did that. You need to prepare yourself for the jobs of the future, and recognize that the “billionaires” are selling you out. . . to line their own pockets= American GREED!

    STEP TWO: Blame the “Government”, control it with money, and then divide it as well. A shattered government. . . pushed down to state and county level. . . is much easier to control. . . for a tiny example:

    1. Gerrymander/use the Electoral College/hacking from foreign powers. . . to manipulate elections.
    2. Control elections and politicians by allowing “billionaires” to legally bribe politicians by “contributing” millions to campaign funds through PAC groups. The Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision is paramount in allowing the “buying” of our political processes.

    STEP THREE: Create the technology to “SPY” on all citizens and then implement it in a way that they voluntarily bring it into their most intimate lives, under the guise of needing “protection”/being “connected or a celebrity in their own minds” . . . for a tiny example:

    1. Televisions that Watch you! “Big Brother”. . . http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/11/opinion/schneier-samsung-tv-listening/

    2. Cars that track you

    3. Social media. . . where you tell all. . . voluntarily. . . for example, your vacation story tells people you are not at home.

    STEP FOUR: ARM ALL citizens and keep them fearful. . . so that naturally the police will NEED to be legally more “in charge” and better ARMED for their own “protection”! For several examples: Read this fine article again.

  26. Mark says:

    @ Marlee

    What was “reported”? Sounded like a lot of accusations to me. Where are there any facts or events reported in this dribble?

  27. I/M/O says:

    I/M/O/ the police are the face of government. What most citizens see every day. If a locality has a failed, corrupt or brutal police force then you can bet that you have failed, corrupt, brutal legislature executive and judiciary government officials is the same locality.

    So why are we blaming our police. They don’t exist in a vacuum.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Several observations…. 1) Since Pierre is in the criticizing business I don’t think he minds criticism. 2) Just because someone disagrees with an article doesn’t mean they didn’t read the article. 3) In general the police are being unfairly treated by many media outlets 4) Yes, the police need to stop killing so many 5) America needs to truly address poverty and education.

  29. Sherry says:

    Instead of supporting Justice for All. . . Trump may soon have us under something akin to Marshall Law. . . only it won’t be called that. . . “a rose by any other name”. . . this from the Associated Press:

    POLICE EXPECT TRUMP TO LIFT LIMITS ON SURPLUS MILITARY GEAR

    HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) – If president-elect Donald Trump keeps his promise, surplus military grenade launchers, bayonets, tracked armored vehicles and high-powered firearms and ammunition will once again be available to state and local U.S. police departments. National police organizations say they’ll hold Trump to that promise.

    President Barack Obama issued an executive order restricting that access in 2015 amid an outcry over police use of armored vehicles and other war-fighting gear to confront protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Since then, federal officials have recalled more than 1,800 items, which have been destroyed through target practice or otherwise disposed of, officials say.

  30. footballen says:

    Thought provoking anyway.

  31. DAveT says:

    So many people on here that #1 never served their country in the military so the author could write his articles #2, or never actually were in law enforcement and have no real clue what happens during a patrol and seem to forget the lives that are saved by law enforcement each and every day that we just don’t hear about. These men and women risk their lives as you set in your home reading a blog, doing what you do. So before you blame police why not blame the people that are actually causing the crime as they out number our police officers throughout this country. Where are the article about that, oh that’s right they are just doing their jobs.

  32. The Ghost of America says:

    Hey guys, blame every innocent shot by police for not somehow being able to dodge bullets instead of the police, I mean if they were executed in cold blood by law enforcement that has literally no checks and balances they must have done something to deserve it. Our boys in blue are special snowflakes and just doing their jobs, I mean it’s a really dangerous job. *shoots cuffed, unarmed black man lying on stomach in back 10 times*

  33. Capt. Cruiser says:

    If immigrants from “other” countries have a problem with our Justice system, perhaps they should have stayed in their own country. Don’t bitch about our way of life in America if you didn’t help change your own country’s problems.

  34. Sherry says:

    STOP hating and blaming immigrants! REMEMBER. . . unless you are full blooded American Indian. . . you/your ancestors are immigrants!

    Even if your ancestors came through Ellis Island. . . they had extremely little in the way of screening: In fact “first and second” class passengers (those who were wealthy or middle class) were NOT screened at all! Third class passengers were not required to have any documentation at all. . . they were asked questions and received a cursory medical exam. . . only 2% were not admitted: http://www.american-historama.org/1881-1913-maturation-era/ellis-island-immigration-process.htm

  35. Downtown says:

    “Justice is always violent to the party offending, for every man is innocent in his own eyes”. – Daniel Defoe

  36. Anonymous says:

    A lot of cops today are not qualified. Getting a degree does not make one qualified. It is far too often that we read of cops dirty deeds landing them in the other side of the law. Many times I believe poor judgment is used when so many are shot dead by the hands of a law enforcement officer. How can we ever expect peace when those around us don’t demonstrate it themselves? Almost 1,000 civilians were shot by law enforcement officers this past year……why…..tasers were the big thing at one time, and they seem to never use them. It also seems that there is no accountability, even when a civilian is shot in the back! This incites anger. I am angry that law enforcement is losing respect because of the demonstration of bulling. Don’t get me wrong, there are times there are aggressive people they have to deal with and it may be warranted that they shot them, but not everyone can be or should be handled the same way. Count to 10 before you shoot. Take women off the force, they belong in the office. They are no match for a man.

  37. W.Ryan says:

    Capt.Cruiser – First off, US citizens are being encroached upon by our own government. Our government is extreme in it’s judicial and law enforcement policies and its infringement on our rights the very same way the British was early in our history. Just like the author, we all came from somewhere else. We have problems dealing with all phases of our government in the US that obviously you don’t care about. You need to look deep inside yourself and confront your own heart for the hatred you feel toward anyone with the facts and or and opinion based on facts. The information is out there staring you in the face and I pity you for not wanting to see it. Unfortunately it hurts us all because unfortunately you aren’t the only one with these issues. It showed this past November.

  38. Big Red says:

    @ Capt. Cruiser. So I guess your Native American? I don’t recall history telling us the Pilgrims or the Boston Tea Partiers doing anything to make their country better before they fled here.

  39. Sherry says:

    Then. . . consider the massive invasion of our privacy by Siri, Google and several others. . . yes, they are listening to and watch us without our permission. . . take a read and then do some research. . . you’ll certainly be shocked: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-newman/why-googles-spying-on-use_b_3530296.html

  40. Sherry says:

    Here is an article from Wired magazine that suggests we cover up our web cameras and plug the mics also:
    http://www.wired.com/2014/03/webcams-mics/

  41. DRedder says:

    Fix The Ghetto Not The Police

  42. The Ghost of America says:

    all police cruisers should have safe spaces so police have a place to hide and weep uncontrollably when triggered over having to face actual repercussions after murdering someone

  43. Sherry says:

    Unfortunately The Ghost of America. . . there will be even less repercussions for the police under the next administrations. . . no need for them to hide or feel guilty at all!

  44. Since 1987 says:

    I am just aghast at the the outcry regarding police and civil liberties. No offense Pierre, but your article is made of omissions which is just the same as reporting non-truths. Your Blog is an interesting read. I would challenge anyone to look at each individual case of lethal force use and take into account the facts of the case. Sure, there will be some unjustified. Secondly, educate yourself regarding the Response to Resistance that law enforcement follows. They do not use Tasers against someone using deadly force themselves, and they do not shoot guns out of hands or shoot legs and hands, they train to stop the action. Lastly, an outcry over the use of excess Military equipement? Really, Sherry you need to look at what is avaiable to law enforcement. An armored military personnel carrier was used to stop the Muslim Active Shooter and his wife last christmas in California. Now look at the big picture, there were over 69 million police contacts last year. There were 12,197,000 arrests last last year. There were only 410 uses of deadly force. Thats what, three thousands of a percent? The real problem lies in reporting such as on this blog. Inaccuracy. Lies. Ommissions. The real problem is with society and THEIR inability to descalate. The real problem is your Legislature and Courts. As stated before Police are the face of the governments, so naturally the uneducated lash out at the first and sometimes the only face they see.

  45. The Ghost of America says:

    That’s right Sherry, the real problem isn’t an officer rolling up on a child with a pellet gun in an open carry state, giving him 1.5 seconds to drop the gun, and then executing him. The real problem is society. Society judges police too harshly, you see. Laws and judges and regulations just get in the way with officers doing Their Job, because you can trust them to do their job – they’re police, and you can trust them. You never know when an 8 year old on crack cocaine might hulk out and just start shooting up the place, and you can’t let them get too uppity so better execute them to make society a better place.

  46. Malcom z says:

    This is fact the fbi put out a statement in 2006 saying that white surpremes groups had inflitrated law inforcement throughout the united states to the point where they relesed a statement and before you argue with me go look it up ….good job Pierre because this is what your talking about stems from ….police use there mutual discretion tottally wrong when patroling certain areas then others and thats fact

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