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Forum Post: US Policing: Institutionalizing Brutality?

Posted 2 years ago on July 30, 2012, 8:12 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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US Policing: Institutionalizing Brutality?

Monday, 30 July 2012 10:32 By Shihab Rattansi, Al Jazeera English | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10597-us-policing-institutionalizing-brutality

In the wake of the killing of an unarmed man in California, we ask if US policing is becoming increasingly militarised.

Extreme police tactics are not a new phenomenon in the US. But in the age of social media, police violence, such as the shooting of unarmed people and the use of pepper spray and taser guns, are being documented for the world to see.

Occupy protesters throughout the country felt the full force of police tactics - many were subject to violent arrest.

Perhaps the most controversial example was at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) where peaceful protesters were pepper sprayed last November.

It is more than 20 years since a recording of police violence sparked riots in Los Angeles. The beating of Rodney King was caught on video and the footage shocked the world.

But two decades later how much has changed?

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As Colorado Shooting Holds Holds the Nation's Attention, Police Shootings Are a Daily Routine

Monday, 30 July 2012 09:52 By Stephen Salisbury, TomDispatch | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10594-police-shootings-echo-nationwide-aurora-gets-the-attention-but-guns-are-going-off-everywhere

Welcome to the abattoir -- a nation where a man can walk into a store and buy an assault rifle, a shotgun, a couple of Glocks; where in the comfort of his darkened living room, windows blocked from the sunlight, he can rig a series of bombs unperturbed and buy thousands of rounds of ammo on the Internet; where a movie theater can turn into a killing floor at the midnight hour.

We know about all of this. We know because the weekend of July 20th became all-Aurora-all-the-time, a round-the-clock engorgement of TV news reports, replete with massacre theme music, an endless loop of victims, their loved ones, eyewitness accounts, cell-phone video, police briefings, informal memorials, and "healing," all washed down with a presidential visit and hour upon hour of anchor and "expert" speculation. We know this because within a few days a Google search for "Aurora movie shootings" produced over 200 million hits referencing the massacre that left 70-plus casualties, including 12 fatalities.

We know a lot less about Anaheim and the killing of Manuel Angel Diaz, shot in the back and in the head by that city's police just a few short hours after the awful Aurora murders.

But to the people living near La Palma Avenue and North Anna Drive, the shooting of Manuel Diaz was all too familiar: it was the sixth, seventh, or eighth police shooting in Anaheim, California, since the beginning of 2012. (No one seems quite sure of the exact count, though the Orange County District Attorney's office claims six shootings, five fatalities.)

Diaz, 25, and as far as police are concerned, a "documented gang member," was unarmed. He was apparently running when he was shot in the back and left to lie on the ground bleeding to death as police moved witnesses away from the scene. "He's alive, man, call a cop!" a man shouted at the police. "Why would you guys shoot him in the head?" a woman demanded.

"Get back," officers repeatedly said, pushing mothers and youngsters away from the scene, which they surrounded with yellow crime-scene tape.

Neighborhood residents gathered on lawns along the street, upset at what had happened near their homes, upset at what has been occurring repeatedly in Anaheim. Then, police, seeking to disperse the crowd, began firing what appeared to be rubber bullets and bean bag rounds directly at those women and children, among others. Screaming chaos ensued. A police dog was unleashed and lunged for a toddler in a stroller. A mother and father, seeking to protect their child, were themselves attacked by the dog.

We know this because a local CBS affiliate, KCAL, broadcast footage of the attack. We know it because cell phone video, which police at the scene sought to buy, according to KCAL, showed it in all its stark and sudden brutality. We know it also because neighbors immediately began to organize. On Sunday they demonstrated at police headquarters, demanding answers. "No justice, no peace," they chanted.

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Terrifying Peace: Living Within a Permanent War Economy

Monday, 30 July 2012 00:00 By Kingsley Dennis, Truthout | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10384-terrifying-peace-living-within-a-permanent-war-economy

The opening years of the 21st century have been characterized by new levels of security and safety fears that have plunged the world into a post-millennium state of in-security. These insecurities have been heightened by the deliberate breakdown of old and familiar dualities, such as friend vs. foe, so that the "enemy" has now been shifted from someplace outside of society to dwell as the potential enemy within society. What this means is that all civilians can effectively be categorized as "potential terrorists." Over recent years, the US government especially has been using "function-creep" to bring into law policies which ever increasingly encroach upon the basic freedoms of civilians. What is occurring is a seeping militarization of the social sphere. This socio-militarization now claims a legal right - and "duty" - to arrest and detain any civilian on the pretense of suspicion only. This has been most recently highlighted by President Obama's signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) whose Section 1021 sanctions the military detention of American citizens without charge. One wonders here how many nails it takes to put the coffin lid on the American Constitution. The NDAA states that suspects can be held without trial "until the end of hostilities." However, when such "hostilities" are now part of a permanent war economy, such definitive "end of" seems to be an obscured issue. Further, it allows the militarized state to bring in troops (such as the National Guard) and local police forces, combined with extensive authorized surveillance, to "secure" the social sphere. With no defined enemy and no defined timeline, the notion of peacetime becomes meshed with socio-militarization to produce a state of terrifying peace.

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