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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:27 AM
Original message
On our police state
Almost two years ago, Columbia Missouri police used the SWAT team to batter down a family's door in the middle of the night, shoot their dogs in front of the family, and generally terrorize them all for a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and a pipe. The event caused a brief national buzz, and many people thought that the Columbia police had gone too far, especially since the dog that was killed, a pitbull, was in a cage, and the other dog was a small breed.
Here is the CPD video of the event.
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwSwvUaRqc>

Jonathon Whitworth asks a very pertinent question during his assault by the CPD, "Fine, search, I don't care. Fuck, why's it got to be like this?"

Why does it have to be like this? Police battering down doors, terrorizing families, endangering innocents and bystanders, all for a little weed? A misdemeanor charge at best, one whose penalty is less than smoking a cigarette in a local bar. The cops say that Whitworth was a major dealer, though that hasn't been proven, and all he was found guilty of was a misdemeanor paraphernalia charge, a three hundred fine was levied. No evidence of being a major dealer was put forth.

Is this what we've come to, a police state where our public servants have become the public bane, terrorizing the population and repressing all of our civil rights? We have seen this growing throughout the years and decades, and still see it now, in attacks such as this one, and the attacks on OWS, and innocents shot one the word of a snitch, and on, and on, forever and ever amen.

Yes, I've heard all the standard lines, a few bad apples, overzealous, what have you, but the fact is this sort of behavior has been institutionalized now, legitimized by court rulings and law. The police are no longer required to politely knock on a door, to treat you with the respect due a citizen who is innocent until proven guilty. No, now they are allowed to unleash violence and terror on the thinnest of excuses, killing, maiming and terrorizing people because they are perceived as a threat, even though no threat exists.

There is no legal recourse for these sort of outrages. The Whitworth's had their case summarily rejected by the court today, and of course, the police were given official sanction to continue their rule of indiscriminate terror. Of course the Whitworth's can appeal, but they are working folks, like you and I, and don't have the money to pursue such a case, while we get to pay for the police's legal bills out of our own pocket. Even if they did, the litigious history of such cases does not favor them.
<http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/nov/21/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-over-swat-raid/>

So the question's surrounding this is whether we the people in charge of these public servants who are employed in a democratic society, if not then why not, and how do we change this situation. Until those questions are not only answered, but acted upon, we will simply slide further and further into a police state.
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Dawson Leery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. It is difficult to give empathy to anyone who has been given immunity from their actions
as LEO's have been given.
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ohheckyeah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:44 AM
Response to Original message
2. Good question...
how do we change the situation? One way would be for juries to start refusing to convict for arrests made by cops acting like thugs.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. This case didn't even reach the jury stage,
A judge dismissed the case.
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ohheckyeah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. You're right, of course, I was
speaking in general terms. Things have gotten so far out of hand with prosecutors caring only about winning and cops who are completely out of control...and let's not forget judges sending kids to detention centers because the judge has a financial interest in the center.

Frankly, I don't have a lot of hope for this country.
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Zax2me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:49 AM
Response to Original message
5. Oh good lord.
There are millions around the world who would like to teach people here what a police state actually is.
But the ones who think we are living in one here are most likely incapable of learning truth.
Too wrapped up in their narcissistic world to see beyond some moron cop using pepper spray.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Actually, the OWS pepper spray incidents are only the latest incidents, and a bit tangental.
I was thinking more of the innocents who've been shot and terrorized by the thousands in the WOD.

We're the US, supposedly the freest country on the face of the planet, yet we're not even secure in our own homes.

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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I am curious what you are wrapped up in not to see what is happening.
These cases like that described in the OP are examples of terrorism. They are not interested in a few ounces of pot, but showing us they can and will use excessive force whenever they wish with impunity. Yes it is worse in other parts of the world, but that doesnt diminish the seriousness of these actions.
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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. There are plenty of people here that can teach you what a police state is.
Edited on Wed Nov-23-11 10:50 AM by JoeyT
You can start your education with asking someone of NA, AA, or latino descent, especially one that dresses differently from societal norms, what their experiences with police have been like.

Or you can just admit that a society where a cop can kick down the door of the wrong house, murder the occupants, and get a medal is probably not a shining example of freedom.

Edited to add: Or from another angle: a society where cops can stop you when you aren't doing anything wrong or illegal, take any money you happen to have, not charge you with a crime, and you're shit out of luck.
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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. And who does the training for the Police States around the world?
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. Bingo. The good ole US of A and its "associate" Blackwater/Xe
nt
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. +1000000000
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. good lord are you that ignorant
you come here and yet ignore all the evidence... that's pretty incredible actually.
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Hutzpa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
18. America is not other parts of the world
The United States of America is suppose to set an example that the rest of
the world follow.

Would it be ok to send the police over to your house and kick down the door and
shoot your dog or whatever animal they find there?
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
21. Yep. There are quite a few, *right here, right now*, that would love to teach people
what a police state really is.

And it ain't liberals or OWS.

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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #5
22. Actually, many people are NOT in denial that we are in a rapidly entrenched police state.
For example: Posse Comitatus has been circumvented:
"Although the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the government from using the military for domestic law enforcement, the tough stance of the drug war led to the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Act of 1981. The act directed the military to give local, state and federal law enforcement access to military equipment, research and training for use in the drug war, basically authorizing cooperation between civilian police and the military.

The 1980s saw a series of additional congressional and presidential maneuvers that blurred the line between soldier and police officer, leading to a memorandum of understanding in 1994 between the US Department of Justice and Department of Defense. The agreement authorized the transfer of federal military technology to local police forces, essentially flooding civilian law enforcement with surplus military gear previously reserved for use during wartime."

http://www.alternet.org/story/153147/pepper-spraying_protesters_is_just_the_beginning%3A_here_are_more_hypermilitarized_weapons_your_local_police_force_could_employ

And actually, we have the 14 points of Fascism alive and well here:
14 POINTS OF FASCISM


1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism

From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights

The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause

The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the peoples attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choicerelentless propaganda and disinformationwere usually effective. Often the regimes would incite spontaneous acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and terrorists. Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism

Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5. Rampant sexism

Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

6. A controlled mass media

Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes excesses.

7. Obsession with national security

Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting national security, and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together

Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elites behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the godless. A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9. Power of corporations protected

Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of have-not citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated

Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts

Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment

Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Normal and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or traitors was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption

Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

14. Fraudulent elections

Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

NOTE: The above 14 Points was written in 2004 by Dr. Laurence Britt, a political scientist. Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of: Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile).
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MedleyMisty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:50 AM
Response to Original message
6. One way to work towards changing it
Stop being so freaking afraid and overreacting to tiny little things. I can't help but think of all the stories we hear about "zero tolerance" school policies and how they lead to outrageous reactions to innocuous things, and how the culture that produces that sort of thing also produces cops going full SWAT over tiny things.

So - as a culture we need to grow some balls and/or ovaries, and stop being so afraid of everything and everyone.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 01:20 AM
Response to Original message
9. k&r n/t
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:37 AM
Response to Original message
10. kick n/t
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darth marth Donating Member (170 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
14. We need to change minds
they need to realize they are one of us.

like this video
Occupy Wall Street Giving Cops a Teach-In
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=385x636749
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
15. Learning the Difference Between a Police State
and a state where some police overstep their bounds is important.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. That is the line that we're now crossing.
I look at the police powers granted under the Bush administration and retained by the Obama administration and shudder. For the president to have the power to declare anybody an enemy combatant, eligible for death without a trial, that is wandering deep into police state territory. That sort of poison seeps down to the local level and things become even worse. All of this being layered onto a decades long history of police increasingly overstepping their bounds, I don't think I'm overstating the case. Hence this post, a warning that things are going to get much worse unless we figure out some way out of this mess.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
16. Looks like some here need to have a billy club whack them before they get it
"thick as a brick"
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