New York Times Suddenly Notices Police Militarization

To which we can only chuckle and reply, “Ya think?” We’ve been yakking about the militarization of policing here for a while. Sending SWATties out to serve what used to be run-of-the-mill search warrants, up-gunning cruisers with army-issue M4s, adding tactical operators to agencies like the Department of Education. Nothing new to anyone who’s been paying attention. Only now some of those 5.11-wearing, Kevlar-protected, modern sporting rifle-carrying officers are using their tactics against some avowed Prius drivers who sport authentic COEXIST bumper stickers. Which means it’s now worthy of note to the New York Times

RIOT police officers tear-gassing protesters at the Occupy movement in Oakland. The surprising nighttime invasion of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, carried out with D-Day-like secrecy by officers deploying klieg lights and a military-style sound machine. And campus police officers in helmets and face shields dousing demonstrators at the University of California, Davis with pepper spray.

But…but…the OWSers are on our side! Something must be done! It would be funny if the paper of record weren’t coming to this story a decade or two late. I guess the NYT writers and editors have had their noses pressed a little too closely to their MSNBC screens to notice before now.

Yet lately images from Occupy protests streamed on the Internet — often in real time — show just how readily police officers can adopt military-style tactics and equipment, and come off more like soldiers as they face down citizens. Some say this adds up to the emergence of a new, more militaristic breed of civilian police officer. Others disagree.

They do a decent job presenting both sides (for once); libertarians documenting the increase in SWAT deployments and cops saying they’re undergunned and have to match the strength of their potential opposition.

But the news here isn’t the militarization, it’s the Times itself. As soon as a decades-old trend starts to affect those with whom the Times’ editors are simpatico, it’s time to shine a light on the issue. It wasn’t a big problem when the cops were knocking down doors and shooting pets in front of children. Never mind that a wacko libertarian think tank had documented all of this years ago.

When the coppers roll out their armored personnel carriers to clear out the kids demonstrating against Wall Street, capitalism and student loans, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle o’ fish. These are the good people. The ones we agree with. This kind of police brutality has to be exposed, discussed, dealt with. Therefore, now it’s time the NYT’s dwindling readership is made aware of the situation.

Which goes a long way toward explaining why their circulation continues to go south. If you confined yourself to reading the Gray Lady, you’d be under the impression that we were being governed by a corrupt, unpopular administration that’s running guns to foreign countries without the approval of Congress. Oh. Wait.

comments

  1. avatar Bub says:

    Remember “Die Hard”

  2. avatar ScottA says:

    I always find it funny when the hippies who don’t obey simple directives to get out of places they don’t belong get maced or tased (tazed?) but don’t say a word when cops bust down to the door to someones house for some small charge that could have been handled discretely. I don’t think police should go around tasing and macing people (I’ll still laugh when they do it to hippies. I really don’t like hippies) but I’d prefer to get maced than have my house broken into in the middle of the night because their was an address mix up for the warrant on that anonymous tip about a drug dealer.

    1. avatar matt says:

      Can you cite a single instance of that ever happening?

      1. avatar Sutton says:

        Matt,
        In case your question wasn’t a joke: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6476

        1. avatar Sutton says:

          At first, I thought we were disagreeing, now I can’t be sure. It’s almost enough to make me think that internet comments threads are a poor medium for clear conversation!

        2. avatar matt says:

          Thats a different matt, although we are in agreement. Read my post below.

      2. avatar matt says:

        It wasnt a joke, I was referring to “when the hippies who don’t obey simple directives to get out of places they don’t belong get maced or tased (tazed?) but don’t say a word when cops bust down to the door to someones house for some small charge that could have been handled discretely.” Not the fact that the police have become a paramilitary group. Nearly all anti-police protests or actions are organized by the left. But by all means, keep on voting in these assholes who permit this.

        1. avatar Sutton says:

          Ah. Yeah, I’m pretty sure “hippies” have been concerned about abuses of police power for at least a little while now, too.

        2. avatar ScottA says:

          Yet they only notice them when they happen to other hippies. The last one to pop up in the mainstream media was the UCLA kid who got tazed. If they followed Radley Balko at all they would realize this isn’t new.

          Yet lately images from Occupy protests streamed on the Internet — often in real time — show just how readily police officers can adopt military-style tactics and equipment, and come off more like soldiers as they face down citizens. Some say this adds up to the emergence of a new, more militaristic breed of civilian police officer. Others disagree.

        3. avatar matt says:

          What about the protests of what happened to Scott Olsen? Is a US Marine a hippy? But by all means, keep on voting these assholes in, and providing them with an air of legitimacy. Same with the left/right paradigm.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Oakland#Scott_Olsen_head_injury
          If that is too recent, look at the Haymarket affair.

        4. avatar ScottA says:

          You’re supporting my argument that the msm only notices the events when it’s a leftist cause. My point isn’t that the police isn’t too militarized. My point is it isn’t brought up enough. I’m against the war on drugs and police militarization but a couple bratty entitled college students getting pepper sprayed is far less important to me than people being shot in their own homes. I’m against both but the media attention should definitely be focusing on the latter.

        5. avatar matt says:

          Your point wasnt about the MSM, it was about hippies/the left. Go back and read your first post. Even if it was, the two other posters linked articles from the MSM contradicting your point.

        6. avatar ScottA says:

          The left is the MSM.

        7. avatar matt says:

          As I said Sutton and Matthew posted articles directly contradicting you. In addition, realize that the MSM is made up of both wings. Ever heard of Rupert Murdoch?

        8. avatar ScottA says:

          The whole point of this article (above) is what I’m saying. It shows up in the NY Times when it’s a Leftist movement. Go ask 10 people if they’ve seen/heard of the guys at OWS getting maced then ask if they’ve heard of the Iraq veteran who was gunned down in his house. Do you really believe as many people know about the veteran as the Mace kids? Then ask if they know about the “Don’t tase me bro” guy. And Cato isn’t MSM. I could post hundreds of articles from reason outlining these things but most people don’t get their news from reason. I point out that this stuff happens all the time and people don’t believe me. Sadly Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are considered valid main stream news sources by lots of people (mostly students).

        9. avatar matt says:

          Have you ever heard of Rupert Murdoch? Go google him. If you wonder why people think Stewart/Colbert are considered valid news sourced, watch Outfoxed – Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism.

          The NYTimes is left wing, the NYPost and Wall Street Journal are right wing.

          Out of my friends/family, they’ve either heard of both incidents, or neither because they dont care about politics outside of voting in presidential elections.

        10. avatar matt says:

          If you think the NYT doesnt care about SWAT outside of OWS:
          http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/us/30lima.html

      3. avatar GS650G says:

        Cato had about 80 pages of them, but who’s got time to learn the truth, right matt?

        1. avatar matt says:

          Go back and bother to read my other comments.

    2. avatar karlb says:

      When was the last time there was an actual hippie seen in the wild?

    3. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

      Weither you like hippies or not, its still a slippery slope. Instead of filling your heart with mirth, it should make you sweat bullets. Regardless of their political affiliation, they’re AMERICAN CITIZENS. There is absoloutley no reason you couldn’t be next.

      1. avatar Totenglocke says:

        “There is absoloutley no reason you couldn’t be next.”

        Quite true. However, if he sleeps with a gun next to his bed, he might at least take a few of the bastards down with him when they come to black-bag him in the middle of the night.

  3. avatar O.N. says:

    Liberals are funny. The New Left became the establishment after the 1960s. Too bad most of them (on the street) are barely cognizant of the fact. I think it’s a case of falling for your own propaganda. Even the so called “right” espouses liberal principles from yesteryear.

  4. avatar mikeb302000 says:

    I just thought of something. It’s your fault, not that pepper-spraying idiot, he’s just a brutal asshole, but the militarization of the police. It works like this. You guys resist proper gun control laws, the result is criminals run wild with all the guns their money can buy, the result of that is the militarization of the police.

    Simple.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      You din’t actually believe that do you? Seriously. Just wink 😉 or something. I swear I won’t tell anyone.

      1. avatar Mikeb302000 says:

        Actually I do. This is a clear case of shared responsibility.

    2. avatar matt says:

      The extreme militarization of the police has been a recent development over the past few decades. Guns have been around this country since its inception.

    3. avatar Mike OFWG says:

      The “War On Drugs” is probably the biggest contributor to the militarization of the police, the super abundance of funds dished out for homeland security after 911 didn’t help either. It was Janet Reno (certainly a Lib) who is the best example of the authorities killing the civilians. Chew on that.

      1. avatar sdog says:

        +1 so very true.

      2. avatar Totenglocke says:

        The War on Drugs is one of the biggest farces of all time. They’re well aware that they’re creating most of the crime purely from having drugs be illegal – just like they did in the 20’s with prohibition. Maybe if we weren’t trying to turn everyone into a criminal, the police wouldn’t feel the need to play Rambo and be a one man army?

        1. avatar Gabba says:

          the police’s need to play rambo is the primary objective, what they use it for is just pretext.

    4. avatar Tom says:

      Proper Gun Controls worked so well in Mexico.

    5. avatar Totenglocke says:

      Wait, the bullshit “justice” system that you support where violent criminals are given a slap on the wrist and let go is somehow the fault of gun owners (who’d be more than happy to see said violent criminals removed from society permanently)? Wow. Your delusions truly are impressive.

    6. avatar GS650G says:

      Maybe we need to feed the Po po MikeB302000’s address for a little no-knock visit one night around 4 AM.

      Real simple.

    7. avatar Kindsey says:

      You’re a real deep tihkner. Thanks for sharing.

  5. avatar ScottA says:

    Criminals run wild with all the illegal guns their money can buy from selling illegal drugs to hippies but they’ll clearly listen to reasonable gun control. It’s working wonders down in mexico where they can’t buy guns.

  6. avatar Don says:

    This is my take on it:

    http://imgur.com/D3DzJ

    -D

    1. avatar HSR47 says:

      You do realize that the use of force depicted in that image is NOT what it was made out to be, right? They neglect to show you that in the 2-5 minutes before they were finally maced, they were chanting things such as “from Oakland to Greece, fuck the police” and “If you let them go, we will let you leave” — the latter referring to allowing the police to leave if they released those who they arrested for failing to pack up their campsite after being given over 24 hours to GTFO. It’s all here:

  7. avatar freeport56 says:

    When Darrel Gates took over as Chief of L.A.P.D.(1978,-1992) their militarization began. Delta Force was brought in to train SWAT in all the latest techniques. Funny thing is, the gang problem has gotten much worse. For those that remember watch the riots in L.A., remember how the L.A.P.D. ran and hid from the rioters. When push comes to shove their are 800,000 Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers. 9,000 L.A.P.D. for 200,000 gang members. Will these military wanna-be’s be there in a SHTF scenario, most won’t be!

  8. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    Anyone who has ever heard me go on about the rule for law and respect for the badge may find it odd that I am VERY disturbed by this multi-decade trend. I expect cops to act like cops, not soldiers. I do not like them kitted out like soldiers, dressing like soldiers or moving like soldiers.

    Bursting in with guns at the ready strikes me as far too butch, and while one does not want to see the Bad Guys flush evidence down the toilet, if your only evidence is what they can get down a toilet, is that really the best use of police resources.

    1. avatar Mike says:

      Moreover, is that evidence ever going to be worth the increased risk to innocents *and* the police to immediately escalate the situation like that?

      I completely agree with you. I respect police because they are public servants. They need to stay that way, not become an occupying force.

    2. avatar DaveL says:

      And let’s not forget, police resources = our tax dollars.

    3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      My nightmare scenario is having a no-knock warrant executed on my house. Not expecting the police. having a bunch of guys screaming and pointing guns, will I be able to realize it’s a mistake and not a home-invasion.

      A young man in a rough neighborhood in California was lit up by cops who were simply at the wrong address. He armed himself, and the cops shot him dead.

  9. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

    The police can militarize all they want. I’m doing it, too, and so should everyone else. They have level IIIA vests. I have a plate carrier with level IIIIA rifle plates. They have AR-15s. I have 16” barreled FN-FAL. They have APCs. I have a fiddy cal.

    1. avatar HSR47 says:

      What about the assault clips? Please tell me you didn’t forget the assault clips!

      😛

      1. avatar sdog says:

        or cmmg tactical bacon.

        1. avatar HSR47 says:

          Can’t; It doesn’t chew its cud.

      2. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

        Lots and lots of assault clips. Also, rifles with that thingie that goes up. XD

    2. avatar matt says:

      Level IIIIA plates? Huh? First off for roman numerals it would be IV. And there isnt a level 4a, there is 2a and 3a, both of which are soft armor, but not 4a. Level 3 are plates which protect against 308, level 4 is 30-06 AP. And many plates require soft armor underneath, such a SAPI/ESAPI. If your buying cheap/used plates your should give you dentist a few bucks to xray them for you to make sure all the tiles are still intact.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballistic_vest#Performance_standards

      1. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

        I scored an extra set when I was in the service and I’ve treated them well. And you’re right, I don’t know crap about roman numerals >.<

        They're supposed to grant protection all the way up to 30-06. They're standard issue E-SAPI plates.

  10. avatar HSR47 says:

    I don’t really agree with the demonization of the California PD employing mace against a mob of smelly hippies, who had been informed MULTIPLE times individually by the same officer: “You understand that if you stay here, you WILL be subject to the use of force.” The hippies declined to move; He then went down the line AGAIN; The hippies again declined to move. INSTEAD, they chose to chant things such as “From Davis to Greece, fuck the police.”

    In short, the UC Davis MOB were treated far more gently, and given far more warnings, than they deserved. It’s all here:

  11. avatar NR says:

    To be fair, when this was going on during the Bush years, most of us didn’t pay much attention.

    1. avatar Gabba says:

      except of course everyone who claims they were one of the few who were, which is everyone right?

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      On what basis do you make this statement?

      1. avatar NR says:

        Only on the basis of my own subjective and imperfect recollections. I know I didn’t– and face it, conservatives generally tend to side with the police. I can remember people complaining about Janet Reno, Waco and the Elian Gonzales fiasco during the Clinton years (and I was pretty young, then), but during the Bush years it seemed to dry up… my (extremely liberal) college professors complained about the patriot acts and American imperialism and all that, but I don’t remember conservatives saying much.

        I hope, after 2012, that it doesn’t happen again.

  12. avatar lstrngr says:

    The war on drugs will never be won. Even if the DEA, the FBI, and other law enforcement officials were totaly pure and not redistributing the ceased drugs and taking money under the table from the drug lords, they would still want their paychecks and pension. So you see, the war on drugs is just another Viet nam. The money and power is just to good to pass up!

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    They do a decent job presenting both sides

    The Times presents both sides of it’s mouth, and that’s about it. It’s not concerned with police militarization; it’s concerned with police milarization being used against Occupy.

    If the cops were to break down your door and shoot your dog (they always do that, y’know), the Times would be applauding the heroism of “New York’s Finest,” your poodle Fluffy would be a “vicious attack dog,” and your Ruger 10/22 with a Tasco scope would be a sniper rifle.

      1. avatar scotta says:

        The times doesn’t see militarization there. That’s white people bring evil. That’s business as usual at the times.

      2. avatar matt says:

        Did you read the article? Just because they didnt specificly didnt use the word “militarization”, doesnt mean they were critical of SWAT killing a unarmed mother and wounding her 14 month old son. If you want an article which specifically uses “militarization” here is one, if you want more use the google query below.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/01/nyregion/01security.html
        http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=police+militarization+site:nytimes.com&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

  14. avatar 101abn says:

    Who started this??

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