Sunday, December 4, 2011

Observations from the Edge 12.4

I just wanted to pass along a pair of things I think are worth reading. The first is an article from today's New York Times and but the second a report from the Cato Institute so it's a bit longer.

"Riot police officers tear-gassing protesters at the Occupy movement in Oakland. The surprising nighttime invasion of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, carried out with D-Day-like secrecy by officers deploying klieg lights and a military-style sound machine. And campus police officers in helmets and face shields dousing demonstrators at the University of California, Davis with pepper spray Is this the militarization of the American police?"

From "When the Police Go Military" an analysis by Al Baker of the New York Times and published in the December 4th edition of the paper.

"Americans have long maintained that a man's home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home."

From the summary of "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America" by Radley Balko for the Cato Institute and also quoted in the Times column. This report is rather long but a pdf file can be downloaded free of charge. 

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