Who Has Been Warning About Police Militarization?

Dave Johnson

On The PBS Newshour Thursday, Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times was asked who has been covering the issue of the militarization of police. He said this has only been discussed by libertarians, like at Reason Magazine and the Cato Institute.

“… has largely come from libertarian quarters for several years. They’ve kind of been the lone voice on this. Folks like the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine have been writing a lot about this. … some of the more traditional liberal voices against this, they have have kind of been on the sidelines on this issue.”

This is a bizarre statement. To their credit Cato and Reason have been sounding the alarm about the militarization of our police departments and the potential consequences. But there have also been plenty of “liberal” and other sources trying to raise awareness of this issue as well.

Free advice: Major outlet people who work in the news “business” should know that there is this thing called the “Internets,” and on these internets there is something called “the Google.” Check it out. A brief period of time on this Google thing came up with the following references. But these are just the tip of the iceberg of coverage of this issue going back at least to the heavy, militarized 2011 crackdown on Occupy Wall Street.

Digby

Heather “Digby” Parton was awarded the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. She received the 2005 Koufax award for blog writing and accepted the 2007 Paul Wellstone Award (on behalf of the progressive blogosphere) from the Campaign for America’s Future.

Digby has been warning about this for years. Here are just two examples.

November 2011, in Al Jazeera: Militarising the police from Oakland to NYC

July 2013, From the “if you build it, they will use it files”: Warrior Cops

Truthout

Truthout has published article after article about this. A few examples:

May, 2013, David Zlutnick: Obama Expands Militarization of Police

September, 2013, Mark Karlin: In the War on Drugs, Crime and Terror, We Are All Now Potential SWAT Team Targets

March, 2014: The Militarization of Our Police Forces

March, 2014, Colin Jenkins: Coming Home to Roost: American Militarism, War Culture and Police Brutality

Others

Here are some more “liberal” voices that have not “been on the sidelines:”

November, 2011, Arthur Rizer & Joseph Hartman, The Atlantic: How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police

December 2011, Rania Khalek, AlterNet: Why Do the Police Have Tanks? The Strange and Dangerous Militarization of the US Police Force

February 2014, John Whitehead at Huffington Post: Paranoia, Surveillance and Military Tactics: Have We Become Enemies of the Government? (And lots more.)

June 2014, Simon McCormack at Huffington Post: Military Equipment Rolls Into America’s Cities

July 4, 2014, Alex Kane, Salon: 11 chilling facts about America’s militarized police force

Not So “Liberal” or Libertarian

December 2011, Andrew Becker & G. W. Schulz, The Daily Beast: Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons

October, 2013, Michael Shank and Elizabeth Beavers at Reuters: The militarization of U.S. police forces

March. 2014, Economist: Paramilitary police: Cops or soldiers?

February, 2014, Jennifer Levitz, WSJ: Towns Say ‘No Tanks’ to Militarized Police

Books

July 2013, Radley Balko: Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces. (And lots more at Huffington Post.)

These really are just the tip of the iceberg of a mountain of articles, reports, posts and other warnings that America’s police are becoming heavily militarized and are increasingly behaving as if the American people are the enemy.

If Matt Apuzzo hasn’t been reading anyone but libertarians writing about this, it means Matt Apuzzo hasn’t been reading anything but libertarian sources. And this is a concern.

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