Vox - New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton unveiled a new militarized police unit that will be trained and armed with heavy protective gear, long rifles, and machine guns to restrain terrorists and social justice protesters.
Bratton explained the purpose of the unit, which will consist of 350 officers, to CBS New York:
It is designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.
Bratton's explanation says a lot about how the NYPD views protests over racial disparities in police use of force, which largely began in response to the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City. While the protests have been mostly peaceful, police continue treating demonstrators as a genuine threat even lumping them up, as Bratton did, with terrorists who carried out attacks in Paris and Mumbai.
But treating lawful protesters like enemy combatants is exactly what helped thrust Ferguson into the national spotlight. Many of these protests grew more tense, particularly at the earlier stages, as a result of police overreacting with military-grade gear. Much of the nation watched in horror last August as officers deployed tear gas, sound cannons, and armored vehicles against crowds that were peacefully marching and chanting on the streets of Missouri.
@ShaunKing Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2014 shot & killed more people than the United Kingdom, South Korea, Sweden, and Denmark combined
New American Media - Richmonds [CA] police department is undergoing something of a renaissance these days, thanks in part to decades of reform that have moved the department from its longstanding enforcement-driven model to one that focuses more on building trust with the public.
That transformation was thrust into the spotlight in December when an image of Chris Magnus, Richmonds white, openly gay police chief, went viral, stirring a national response. In the image, Magnus is seen holding a #BlackLivesMatter sign while in full uniform at a demonstration against police brutality. The demonstration followed the acquittal of a white police officer in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Magnus nine-year tenure is marked with like gestures: an extended hand to residents, viewed as enlightened by some and controversial by others.
But the biggest challenge, Magnus says, has been changing the perception black community members [have toward police], those who had experienced a legacy of mistrust.
When I got here we were dealing with an extraordinarily high murder rate, off the charts, Magnus says. Officers were just crisis managers, moving from one hot call to the next....
One of Magnus first steps was to decentralize the chain of command. Captains and other middle management positions were given more responsibility. For example, if a robbery occurs in the middle of the night, that sectors captain will hear about it first, then coordinate officers and call community members in the areaoften driving to the scene, too. Prior to Magnus, the sector captain might not have found out about the crime until the next afternoon.
Magnus says even if just one officer can break through and form a bond with a neighborhood, its a victory for the department.
Cops are pragmatic, Magnus notes. They want to be viewed as partners in the community, not adversaries. An ever-present fixture at city meetings, neighborhood events and volunteer opportunitiesjeans dirty, shovel in handthe chief has led the movement by example.
That work appears to be paying off. In the past few years, following a crime, or suspicious activity, tips and witnesses come forward more so than ever, Magnus explains. Theres also been a significant drop in overall crime.
According to Richmond crime data, total crime has fallen from 8,168 in 2004 to 5,961 in 2013. While total arrests (adult and juvenile) have gone down from 3,532 in 2005 to 2,705 in 2014.
Richmond also saw a record-low of 11 homicides last year.
Daily Mail, UK - Members of the North Miami Beach Police have been caught using photos of actual black teenagers for target practice.
This was discovered during an incident last month when Sgt. Valerie Deant, a clarinet player in the Florida Army National Guard's 13th Army Band, showed up at the Medley Firearms Training Center after members of the department had been practicing, and recognized one of their targets - a mugshot of her brother from when he was just 18-years-old.
The other targets were also black men, and some just teenagers. But now the department is defending the practice.
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis says there is nothing wrong with this practice at all however, and even defends its use.
'Our policies were not violated,' Dennis said.
'There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.'
Dennis said it is common practice to use actual mugshots, and members of the same ethnic group help with facial recognition exercises.
Daily Beast - The police slowdown in New York, where cops have virtually stopped making certain types of low-level arrests, might be coming to an end soon. For a lot of police officers, itll be an unhappy moment, because they never liked making the penny ante collars in the first place....
Id break it down like this, an officer in East Harlem told The Daily Beast. 20 percent of the department is very active, theyd arrest their mothers if they could, and they want to get back to work. Another 20 percent doesnt want any activity period; theyd be happy to hide and nap all day.
The officer added, And then theres the great middle that thinks things are fine now as far as their concerned and all they want is good arrests.
The not good arrests, by implication, were all the low level infractions policed as part of the so-called Broken Windows approach to law enforcement, defended by both Bratton and Mayor de Blasio. It holds that one of the ways to bust high-level crooks is to crack down on seemingly minor crimes.
Between December 29 2014January 4 2015, arrests across New York city dropped by 56 percent and summonses were down 92 percent compared to the same time last year.
Its not novel to point out that the police slowdown, which pitted the police and their unions against city hall, granted one of the central demands of the #blacklivesmatter protestorsan end to Broken Windows policing.
Less noted though, is how many police officers are themselves ambivalent about actively enforcing low level offenses, and how that bodes for the post-slowdown future of policing in New York.
Retired NYPD lieutenant Steve Osborne made the point in an op-ed for the New York Times that was sharply critical of both de Blasio and the protestors.
I have to suspend my disbelief, the officer in East Harlem said, to see how sentencing a guy with an open container is going to really bring crime down.
More police productivity has meant far less crime, but at a certain point New York began to feel like, yes, a police state, and the police dont like it any more than you, Osborne wrote.
The time has probably come for the Police Department to ease up on the low-level broken-windows stuff while re-evaluating the impact it may or may not have on real, serious crime, he added. No one will welcome this more than the average cop on the beat, who has been pressed to find crime where so much less of it exists.
In a Facebook post headed "Kids will be Kids?", St Louis County police told parents to warn their children that if they prompted an emergency call by playing with toy guns in public, "police will respond as though it is a real gun".
Police departments spend nearly $3 billion per year to settle brutality & wrongful death claims.
interference in domestic affairs
Where police abuse people the most
FOOLS' GOAL: ZERO TOLERANCE: How infinite intolerance of some things -- but not others -- is damaging our land