Saturday, April 25, 2015

Police getting rough ride around the nation

With their perceived major role in the drug war and dealing with terrorists after Sept. 11, police have had a smooth ride most of the time.
They have even been showered with the kind of gear U.S. soldiers would get in Afghanistan. They also got in-car computers and video cameras _ a double-edge sword.
It was only a matter of time before their balloon burst. It has long been known that if governments and their corporate sidekicks develop weapons, they will be used.
A term new to most of us, "rough ride," may have turned the tables. It means a suspect is thrown in the back of a police van and driven around fast, often falling on the floor and suffering injuries. In Baltimore it was a nearly severed spine.
Along with new weapons come new strategies. A new phrase is appearing: the dignity of theory.
“Zero tolerance policing,”  first known as “broken window policing,” first became a formal policy in New Jersey in 1973.
This “theory,” that heavy-handed crackdowns on even minor property damage and theft, would slow the growth of crime, gave city cops the leverage they needed. Such policies would produce a “tipping point,” at which crime would begin to be nothing more than a nuisance.
No room was left for figuring in how the economy might play a role.
Of course the violent tactics of drug cartels, and growing terrorist threats meant it would be best to prepare. The vast majority of drug arrests in the U.S. are for marijuana, which will be legal in a few years, but the drug war created jobs for cops and bureaucrats and made money for cartels.
Whatever cracks there might be in this cosy cop-military industrial complex relationship, would be covered up at the court house level. Former Colorado state Atty. Gen. Ken Salazar made it clear he would take no action against the officers whose lack of action facilitated Columbine. Yes, he told families, he needs these people.
On Monday, the latest in a s With eries of massacres that could have been prevented comes to trial in Centennial, Colo. It is not far from the site of the Columbine High School massacre, another example of where police failed to act to prevent killings. One of the jurors in the Aurora theater trial was a Columbine student and knew the two killers.
Forgetting the question of justice, are we even getting what we pay for? Do we know how much are paying.

How can it be determined? There are so many costs for this militarization of police. Billions for sure. The costs of lawsuits against city police forces and sheriff’s departments across the country must be added.

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