By The Skeptical Libertarian
It’s not just libertarians who believe that police have become militarized. It’s police themselves. Last week, Indianapolis Police Chief Rick Hite told his city council that he sees himself as a “soldier in an army” and his police force as “paramilitary organization” that is preparing for “battle.”
With the issue of police militarization still hot after the heavily-militarized response by the Ferguson, Missouri police, Hite’s comments come across as remarkably insensitive to the political climate. When asked by a city councilmember whether the police department needed a $29 million tax increase to fund its expansion, the police chief was terrifyingly blunt:
“I’m going to say something very candid to you my good friend, Councilman Robinson. As a 36-year veteran of law enforcement, never in my career have I seen public safety been politicized the way it has been in this country. Why I say that is because we have historically been a paramilitary organization…. I don’t know what we would do if we had to go to battle, and we had to make a determination, based on past practices, whether or not we wanted to go into battle. … I am a soldier in an army. We serve you in that way.” (2:39:00)
Let’s catalog these comments away for the next time there’s a large scale public disturbance in Indianapolis and see how the police force responds. The Rise of the Warrior Cop, to use the title of Radley Balko’s book, has not gone unnoticed within law enforcement. Rather, it has been encouraged and indeed used to justify an ever-expanding amount of resources being devoted to fighting various “wars” on citizens, whether in the name of eliminating “guns,” drugs, or terrorism.
Hite’s comments were also out-of-touch given the local news events as well. Two Indianapolis police officers were arrested just this month for beating a man unconscious outside a bar. Hite was reported to have said at a news conference that “days like this make us wonder how we’ve lost our way.” Given the stated ethos of his department, I, for one, am no longer wondering.
William Norman Grigg at the Pro-Liberate blog wrote about the incident this week, breaking down the relationship between the police department and the rampant abuse of civil asset forfeiture in Indianapolis. Hite’s predecessor wasforced to resign after his department destroyed a blood sample of a drunk officer who killed a motorcyclist and injured to others. Hite formerly reigned over the notoriously deadly City of Baltimore, which earned him a job in Indianapolis.
Many of my readers still cannot accept the truth about the militarization of our local police, but sooner or later they will encounter the killer mentality and suffer the consequences.
LIVE FREE THINK CRITICALLY
PROTECTORS OR KILLERS YOU DECIDE
These men are not protectors of the law; they are fanatics consumed with the desire to murder with legal impunity and remain unharmed. They would prove useless on the battle field due to lack of courage and commitment to freedom. You could not force a real warrior to do what they do.
Why Is the USDA Buying Submachine Guns?
By Charles McFarlane on September 19, 2014
“Submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot bur[s]t trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsib[l]e or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity.”
In May, the USDA’s Office of Inspector General filed a requestfor these weapons. But why exactly do they need them?
According to a USDA press rep, the guns are necessary for self-protection.
“OIG Special Agents regularly conduct undercover operations and surveillance. The types of investigations conducted by OIG Special Agents include criminal activities such as fraud in farm programs; significant thefts of Government property or funds; bribery and extortion; smuggling; and assaults and threats of violence against USDA employees engaged in their official duties,” wrote a USDA spokesperson.
Those seem like legitimate enforcement activities, but still: submachine guns? Not everyone believes the USDA being armed to the teeth is justifiable. On Aug. 2, the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund launched a petition to support a bill that would curb the ability of agencies like the USDA to arm themselves. They see it as overkill and scare tactics, especially for smaller producers.
‘What we have seen happen, with the FDA especially, is they have come onto small farms, raw milk producers, and raided the heck out of them with armed agents present.’
“What we have seen happen, with the FDA especially, is they have come onto small farms, raw milk producers, and raided the heck out of them with armed agents present,” says Liz Reitzig, co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition. “Do we really want to have our federal regulatory agencies bring submachine guns onto these family farms with children?”
The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund petition focuses on two now infamous blows to the raw milk community – the 2010 and 2011 raids on Rawsome Food Club in Venice, California. These raids were carried out by armed federal agents, from the FDA and other agencies.
The OIG’s Investigation Development bulletins show there have been three incidents in the last year that involved firearms and two in which USDA agents were verbally threatened. Still, most of their enforcement operations surround white-collar fraud of government programs, often involving SNAP programs. “If there is fraud in the SNAP program, look at how it is implemented and make changes in the entire program,” says Reitzig. “Don’t bring machine guns onto farms.”
The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund are not the only ones interested in taking guns out of the hands of USDA agents. Utah Congressman Chris Stewart is the sponsor of the bill on the FTCLDF petition. “At its heart it comes down to this: To myself, and for a lot of Americans, there is great concern over regulator agencies with heavy handed capabilities,” Rep. Stewart told Modern Farmer.
His bill, H.R. 4934, hopes “to prohibit certain federal agencies from using or purchasing certain firearms, and for other purposes.” When asked about the USDA’s plan for submachine guns, he said, “I can’t envision a scenario where what they are doing would require that.”
Another concern is simply accountability. The request for submachine guns from the USDA doesn’t say how many guns — asking them seems like a non-starter. “They have been very unhelpful in trying to find out any information about this,” said Rep. Stewart. “We couldn’t get answers — it doesn’t seem right to me.”
However, he also cautioned: “We have never argued that federal regulators don’t need to protect themselves.” But if USDA investigations were perceived to be potentially violent he suggested, “They should do what the rest of us do, call the local sheriff.”
House of Cards Florida We Have to Consider Abolishing the Government”
By The Skeptical Libertarian
Frank would be proud.
The story of Hampton, Florida, could be the plot for a classic rise to power story–like House of Cards, for rednecks–or, under some interpretations, just the origin story of all government–a bunch of people with guns decide to hold up travelers on the highway.
But as hilarious and impossible as it sounds, this one is true. “I have said it before: It’s something out of a Southern Gothic novel. You can’t make this stuff up,” said State Senator Rob Bradley, whose district includes the city.*
One-square mile “city,” home to marshes, trailer parks, a short stretch of highway, and 477 souls.
In the mid-1990s, the city annexed a tiny slice of federal highway 301; the “government” of three full-time employees hires 17 “volunteer” police to issue approximately 18,000+ tickets in the last three years, collecting over half a million dollars in traffic fines; police chief assumes title of “minister” and begins holding church services at the ramshackle City Hall; the Hall family seizes “power” (Jane Hall, city clerk; Adam Hall, maintenance operators; Charles Hall, councilman).
Despite the huge cash flow, the city runs a deficit; residents begin complaining about personal use of city funds; government threatens to cut water to troublemakers; a state audit reveals 46% of the city’s water is unaccounted for, funds are missing, and there are essentially no records; city employees say the records were “lost in the swamp”; the county sheriff cuts the Hampton police force off from access to computer databases, radio communications, and use of the jail.
All full-time city employees are ousted; newly elected Mayor Barry Moore (seriously) is arrested for possession of Oxycodone with intent to distribute; the City Council is almost never is able hold elections because no one will run.
State Senator Rob Bradley again: “This situation went on for so long and the mismanagement was so deep, we have to seriously consider abolishing the government.”
I feel like that statement is truer and more generally applicable than he intended. But for this particular band of highway robbers, at least, the end may be nigh.
Credit for this story, details, and quotes belongs to Lizette Alvarez and The New York Times. Credit for the next hit Netflix series belongs to me and the residents and officials of the city of Hampton, FL.
Estimate based on the total revenue collected from fines. It seems that nobody knows exactly how many tickets were issued in 2010, because of mysteriously missing records.
Stories like this are coming from all over America as small time tyrants take control of their community government.