Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is the militarization of the police leading to escalation of violence including Vegas shooting?

This is the second part of a review of Radley Balko's book and an attempt to Debunk or confirm “The Rise of the Warrior Cop” which did more to confirm the sources that he cited. Additional information from other sources indicates that the militarization of the police isn't addressing many of the root causes of crime in many city's. On several occasions in his book Radley Balko briefly implied this by saying that root causes no longer matter, at least not to the politicians that make decisions. On top of that in some cases the militarization of the police, combined with ignoring the root causes, might actually be leading to smaller reductions in crimes or in some cases an end to the reduction in crime that could see rises in crime.

Many people have been given the impression by the hype from the media that crime has already been rising, but in most cases that hasn't been true, so far. This may include the recent shooting in Las Vegas which might have been partially incited by an excessive raid, if Jerad Miller's post below is presented accurately. It appears that while many people that haven't been confronted directly with excessive police force those that have, including Jerad Miller have been paying much more attention to the large numbers of these cases, and they may also be responding to exaggerations in some cases.

Apparently while these SWAT raids have been rising rapidly over the past couple of decades violent crime has, for the most part, been dropping; and if anything the evidence that I have seen including some that has been cited by Radley Balko in the following excerpts indicates that it is almost certainly not because of the SWAT raids or an increase in police presence, although in some cases politicians attempted to make it seem as if it was for that reason.

That sentiment won the day. The Justice Department withheld the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data showing improved crime statistics for DC (in 1970) until after Nixon signed the DC crime bill into law. The administration then released the numbers and took credit for them. But the Nixonites also continued to keep the results from the methadone program close to the vest. ..... Complete article

A 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office found that while the violent crime rate dropped 32 percent between 1993 and 2000, at most, the COPS program accounted for 2.5 percent of that decrease, and at a cost of $8 billion. A 2007 analysis in the peer-reviewed academic journal Criminology concluded that “COPS spending had little to no effect on crime.” .... Complete article

Proponents of police militarization will argue that these figures show that militarization is working—it’s making cops safer. It’s a convenient way to frame the debate. If police fatalities go up, it’s an indication that criminals are getting more dangerous and cops need more firepower. If police fatalities go down, it means militarization is working. But it’s far from clear that bigger guns and more aggressive tactics are responsible for the drop. For example, assaults on police officers have also been dropping, a statistic that isn’t explained by cops in SWAT gear performing more drug raids. The most likely explanation is that killings of police officers have declined for the same reasons the overall crime rate has dropped over roughly the same period. (Criminologists are still fighting over what those reasons are.) Complete article

An article from Mother Jones, America's Real Criminal Element: Lead, which may not come to all the right conclusions either, does point out numerous statistics about crime including the claim that "violent crime actually peaked in New York City in 1990, four years before the Giuliani-Bratton era," and long before they escalated this foolish policy of stop and frisk, which they claimed reduced crime. This article also points out the statistics indicating that violent crime have gone down elsewhere as well; and reminds people of previous claims that there was a coming epidemic of "juvenile super-predators" coming as a result of a growing number of young males. this epidemic never materialized. When they repeatedly support their political agenda with misrepresented rese4arch, whether it is the withholding of statistics in the 1970's or attributing stop and frisk policies for a reduction in crime that began before the stop and frisk policies, it is bound to have a negative impact on crime although in this case it might involve reductions in crime that could have been bigger than they were instead of increases in crimes, at least not yet. The 2012 FBI crime reports indicates that it didn't drop that year, instead there was a slight increase.

His conclusions is supported by an article from Techdirt, Number Of Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty Drops To 50-Year Low While Number Of Citizens Killed By Cops Remains Unchanged. As for the claim that "Criminologists are still fighting over what those reasons are" for the drop in crime; I have no doubt that this is true; however some of this fighting is almost certainly due to incompetence or political influence and other biases which can easily be recognized by people that know a little about some of the contributing causes. In addition to misrepresenting studies for political purposes, one major indicator of this might be some of the criminologists, psychologists, attorney's and other so-called professionals that are presented to the public in high profile manners on entertainment programs like Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell and Drew Pinsky.

These are among the worst so-called experts that I can imagine including those that actually do get some coverage from the commercial media, and the best experts don't.

Do any rational and sincere people actually believe that the experts on these shows have any credibility at all? Can there be much if any doubt that they're far more concerned about using this for entertainment purposes, and presumably selling advertising, than they are reporting the news accurately, and educating the public about methods that could significantly reduce crime?

The problem isn't that some of the sincere academic researchers don't know what the root causes of crime are and how to reduce it despite disagreement within the academic community. The problem is almost certainly that the so-called experts that serve the political interests of the elites, or that increased profits for those that control the media have far more opportunity to get their views across.

Has anyone heard criticism from the American Psychological Association or any other academic group? A relatively quick search of the internet, including a search of the APA web site didn't turn up any. Why wouldn't they be speaking out about this if it is so obvious to many people without the so-called expertise that many of the academics featured on these shows?

This almost certainly raises some doubts about part of the reason why criminologists can't agree on the causes of the drops in violent crime; however as I attempted to explain in Corruption or Bias in the American Psychological Association this doesn't mean that there aren't good psychologists that understand why it is dropping, or at least part of the reason. Many of these academic sources have done their best to present their work to the public even if they don't get help from the traditional media and perhaps in at least some cases the reason they aren't so outspoken against Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell is because it might only turn it into a shouting match and without access the the traditional media they would almost certainly lose even if their work is much better.

As I indicated in Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows one of the leading causes for the drop in violent crime is almost certainly because of drops in abuse of children over the past several decades as the result of improved education of parents about methods of raising their children that escalated when Benjamin Spock was educating the public decades ago. Other research indicates that media violence and gambling almost certainly lead to increased crime; but these haven't been decreasing so they probably aren't a leading contributing cause. When considering the escalating riots during the holiday season, theft of shallow items like Christmas decoration and murders over $200 Air Jordans it is a real possibility that deceptive advertising and hype might also be contributing cause to crime. But all these along with the rise in SWAT raids have been increasing while crime has been dropping.

More importantly one of the reasons to believe that, if anything, the increase4 in reliance on SWAT raids hasn't helped reduce the number of cops killed is that over two dozen of them have been killed or injured on these raids according to The Cato Institutes map of Botched Paramilitary Police Raids. This almost certainly indicates that the reduction of police deaths would have been even greater if not for the use of these SWAT raids.

A Wonkette Blog, Vegas Cop Killer Jerad Miller Was An Alex Jones Fan. You Know What That Means (FALSE FLAG), links to the following excerpt, posted over two years ago, which might indicate the possibility that the recent shootings at Cici's and Walmart in Las Vegas might have been partially incited by an overly aggressive raid years ago that may have given Jerad what he considered reason to hate the police, although there is good reason to be skeptical of at least some of it. Typos were preserved as he allegedly wrote them.

The Police (to kill or not to kill?)

May 28, 2012 in Guns, Offbeat, Politics, Preparedness, Resistance

by jerad (Miller??)

I stand at a point in my life where I am on probation for selling marijuana. I take urine screens frequently and I am forced to take drug classes I do not need. Before I got arrested I had 2 jobs and was selling weed to my friends and family on the side. Now I cannot find a job. My probation officer states that if I protest that my probation will be violated. They have tried to tell my fiance, who has no criminal record, that she may not own a firearm if I live in the house. Now, i face a dire problem. At any time the police could show up to my house and enter it for any reason at all, because, since I’m on probation aparently I dont have my 4th amendment right and neither does my fiance. I live in Indiana and recently a law was passed named the right to resist law. As i can make out from it, if a police officer kicks in my door and is not there legally, then I may shoot him. But what is legal? A warrant signed by a judge? What if that judge however enforces unconstitutional laws? Locks people in cages for putting a substance into their bodies. I was arrested for a crime, that is a felony, yet i hurt no one. Never laid a hand on a person or their property. Was selling something on the black market that is in high demand. Yet there is no victim in the crime i committed, so how can that be a felony charge? A charge that takes my 1st, 2nd, and 4th right away? How can this be? Do I really live in a free country? So here I sit today pondering………….

Before I go any further however, i would like to tell you a story about a friend of mine. He got charged with a misdomenor for having a marijuana pipe on him. He was released from jail and he was given the wrong court date. He then had an arrest warrant out for him. I was at his house late one night playing a video game with him. A knock on the door came. He opened the door and cops shoved him to the ground and came rushing in guns drawn. several of the police officers were wearing ski masks. 2 police officers then shoved guns in my face fingers on the triggers as the rest swept the house. They pulled his father who was asleep from his bed and dragged him into the living room. I was ordered to lay face down on the floor as they searched me. Finally after running my name they uncuffed me and his father and took my friend to jail. Before we knew what was going on it was over and I felt as if I had taken a trip back in time to nazi germany.

Now, that was my last encounter with police officers. I’m afraid they may try to do some stuff like that to my fiance and I. For the most part, I’m a law abiding citizen. I believe in Gods law. You know the ones. Dont steal, dont murder, etc. I fear that if they came, even with a warrant, that I feel they are being unlawfull and infringing upon my rights. I feel that I have been violated and tread upon. That the so called justice system has done me harm. I do not wish to kill police. I understand that most of them believe they are doing the right thing. Yet, I will not go to jail, because I have not committed a crime! I would rather die than be labeled as a criminal. Let them call me a terrorist. Let them label me as a fanatic, some nut job. I know the truth, and so does God. I’m sure our founding fathers were labeled as such. Call me a radical, i will wear that badge with pride. Because America is a radical idea! Brought up upon radical thinking. That each man has constitutional rights that are God given and cannot be taken away no matter what. I refuse to stand by and let them dictate my life. My family loves me, my neighbors love me. I do good for the community, more than any cop can claim. How can a police officer have a consience arresting people who have done nothing to harm a fellow american? How can they sleep at night? I wouldnt be able to. So as i reflect, I’m being pushed further and further into a corner. I am like a wild coyote. You corner me, I will fight to the death. I love America, i love the idea of it. I am broken hearted tho to see people so pacified by materealism and obsession with hollywood stars. It is our duty as American citizens to stand against tyranny. To stand against corruption at all levels. How did this happen? That patriots like me could be resting under the boot of tyrants, and as i plead for help from my fellow americans they just walk on by. All the while thinking, at least its not happening to me. Yet, the sad thing is, it is happening to them. So, do I kill cops and make a stand when they come to get me? I would prefer to die than sit in their jail, when I have done nothing to hurt anyone. Complete article

First of all, even if this is a true story no reasonable person would come to the conclusion that his response, shooting two cops that had nothing to do with the raid, is a reasonable response or effort to reverse the excessive police raids. This would be especially true for people that have looked into the subject from more reliable sources than Alex Jones, including Radley Balko, who has reported on some indications that some long overdue reform might be coming and police officers or ex-police officers like David Couper might be providing alternative methods to policing that could be escalated if more people knew about them.

There are several indications that this post is probably from the Same Jerad including the fact that both he and Amanda used their own names and he said he was in Indiana and apparently Las Vegas shooting suspects had Indiana connection. Also other news stories have reported on his links to Alex Jones. Also Wonkette hardly seems any more credible than Alex Jones, who at least acknowledges the serious problem of excessive SWAT raids, even if he does get carried away and come up with conspiracy theories that most rational people won't waste their time on.

Even if you don't believe Jerad's story about a raid at his friends house it does fit a pattern of behavior that has been repeated over and over again and reported by several sources including less reliable ones like Jones and more reliable sources like the Washington Post and Radley Balko who is now apparently a Washington Post reporter. The Cato Institute map reports about over a hundred raids on innocent people including dozens where they were killed and many more where the offense was nonviolent and the means would seem extreme to any rational person.

You don't have to agree with someone like Jerad Miller to acknowledge that a lot of people would be very angry about this and if they couldn't get reparations or reform that would make them even angrier.

As I indicated before there are many people in this country that have little or no idea that these excessive raids are happening at all, or if they here about some of them, they think it has nothing to do with them and the people that are being raided deserve it. I suspect that many of these people have good reason to believe this, since the media does such a lousy job reporting on many things.

People that are aware of this and feel that they have little or no legal options are much more likely to be sympathetic to arguments like Jerad Miller's or Cop Block: When should you shoot a cop? by Larken Rose. This is especially true if they have had some first hand experience with some of the more aggressive police departments in the country. It doesn't take much watching of the news to realize that some of the more extreme police activities and high crime areas happen in the same cities. Many of the most violent reports about police brutality come from areas where they have to deal with high crime and they respond with even more violence, so it only escalates. There have been plenty of these stories in cities like Chicago, Los Angelas, New York and other high crime areas.

Jonathan Kozol almost certainly provided a very good description of the background that precedes some of these violent crimes in "Savage Inequalities" and "The Shame of the Nation," although he focuses primarily on the inequalities in the education system, not how it escalates to more violent crime in adults. He reports on the inequalities of the education system in many of the areas where the highest percentage of blacks live and in most if not all cases they also have among the highest crime rates.

Kozol doesn't report much about the crimes of adults but he does report about how little opportunities children have and how they're taught in authoritarian manners that would be unacceptable in white communities. These children are often trained in public schools how to prepare for low level jobs like fast food or sewing, without much if any consideration of the possibility that they might be able to get better jobs, either in better paying trades, like construction, or mechanics or college educated jobs.

Jonathan Kozol also reviews how much less funding these schools have and in some cases how they also have to put up with much greater threats to their environment and how they're often raised in areas that might be violent.

Thanks to the authoritarian manner that many of these children are educated with they're accustomed to being treated as if they might be guilty of something before they get to be teens or young adults and are now subject to arbitrary stop and frisk policies that would be as unacceptable as the education methods in wealthier communities, however people like Michael Bloomberg and Ray Kelly simply ignore this civil rights violation or the possibility that part of the reason some minorities might wind up involved in criminal activity might be because they were treated like criminals before they were criminals and they had few if any other decent opportunities.

It is hard to doubt that children brought up in these surroundings could possibly have much opportunities that many of us brought up in other areas with better educational and job opportunities have. It should also be easier to understand how many of these children wind up involved in crime when the only opportunities in these areas might be illegal or involve gangs. When many children advocates ask for more money for programs they're often faced with the claim that "you can't just throw money at the problem and expect it to be fixed."

This argument has some truth to it but it is also true that you can't just withhold money and expect all these problems to be fixed. The people that make this argument rarely, if ever, consider the possibility that they should at least try to spend money on programs that actually work and allow scrutiny to prevent it from being wasted. This argument, as Jonathan Kozol points out repeatedly, is much less credible when you consider why they don't apply it to those in wealthier communities that get much more money for their education. Furthermore the flaws in this argument are even more obvious when you consider the amount of money they're willing to spend on prisons, court costs, and authoritarian police tactics that only lead to escalating violence. On top of that when many raids go wrong they have to spend additional money defending their tactics and in some cases the government gets stuck with the tab for losing multimillion dollar law suits for disasters that never would have happened if not for excessive reliance on militarized police raids for all the wrong reasons.

The most common justification for these SWAT raids isn't violent people, as the police often imply or say, but drugs. I suspect that they're much more common in lower income areas although there are some high profile exceptions, which almost certainly are more likely to get much more media attention. One of the most recent and outrageous of these raids is one where a toddler was seriously injured by a flash bang grenade that was thrown into his crib by the police, just before three o'clock in the morning and the sheriff defended this action by claiming it was the drug dealer that was a terrorist, as indicated in the following excerpt:

Drug task force that killed an innocent pastor in 2009 also involved in burned toddler story

..... “The person I blame in this whole thing is the person selling the drugs,” Terrell said. “Wanis Thonetheva, that’s the person I blame in all this. They are no better than a domestic terrorist, because they don’t care about families – they didn’t care about the family, the children living in that household – to be selling dope out of it, to be selling methamphetamine out of it. All they care about is making money. ..... Complete article

Cornelia police Chief Rick Darby was a little more tactful when he said:

Toddler critically burned during SWAT raid

..... “You're trying to minimize anything that could go wrong and in this case the greatest thing went wrong, Is it going to make us be more careful in the next one? Yes ma'am, it is. It's gonna make us double question.” ..... Complete article

This claim might sound more credible if it was the first time this had happened but as the first article about this raid points out some of the same people involved in this one were also involved in at least one other disastrous raid; and if you review the long history of botched raids escalating over the last few decades then you might find that many of them have made similar claims when something goes wrong and they ahve also made similar lame excuses like calling the drug dealers terrorists.

If additional consideration was given to the history the US government has in drug running or complicity with drug runners through the allies of the CIA it becomes even more clear that the so-called drug war is a farce, and it always has been. One of the highest profile reports about how the CIA has either been involved in drug running and even allowed it to get into East Los Angelas and other places was Gary Webb's articles "Dark Alliance" which originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and a more detailed follow up book by the same name, "Dark Alliance." This report was initially embraced by Gary Webb's superiors but after he was under pressure from powerful sources including the CIA his editor abandoned him and the traditional press debunked work, or at least they claimed that it ahd no credibility. However they didn't review it in the same manner that I did with "The Rise of the Warrior Cop” by confirming or refuting the sources. Instead they ridiculed it and implied that it was embraced only by the African American community without checking many of the sources cited by Gary Webb. At one point they simply asked the CIA if it was true and they said no.

So they reported their denial without any fact checking at all.

If they had checked some of the facts they would have found that one of his sources was a government report about an investigation by John Kerry, which hardly got any media coverage at the time. This was during the Iran-contra hearings which got all the headlines at the time but the report is still available, The Kerry Report formally called "Selections from the Senate Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy" chaired by Senator John F. Kerry this is also available in PDF format.

This isn't the first reports about complicity with drug running or the last; Alfred McCoy reported on this dating back to the Vietnam war and he followed up on it with some updates that took place as recently as the war in Afghanistan and numerous other investigators have also fact checked it and reported their sources in a much more effective manner than those who allegedly debunked them in the traditional media, although they didn't do this in a credible manner that involved checking facts.

The implication, if you consider the inadequate opportunities for poor people, the complicity with drug smuggling and the overly aggressive enforcement of selective drug crimes, is that this is a complex form of entrapment for those with the least amount of political power.

Some of these reports are in the following books or pages:

Alfred McCoy The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade This appears to be the first addition published in the seventies; it was followed up by a second and third edition with additional material that occurs in the eighties nineties and shortly after the turn of the century.

Celerino Castillo III "Powderburns" book

Celerino Castillo III "Powderburns" Home page

Similar methods should be made to debunk Jerad Miller's, Info War's or other claims including those of Media Matters in Alex Jones Alleges That Las Vegas Cop Ambush Was "Absolutely Staged" By Harry Reid And Other Conspirators. More often than not I have found that Media Matters ahs been fairly reliable; but in this case I suspect they could have done a better job reviewing this assuming they took the time to check some of their sources and Jerad's sources, often Info Wars. There has been a significant amount of speculation about the possibility that Alex Jones might have been responsible for inciting Jerad and Amanda Miller; and there might be some truth to that, since he does exaggerate things and come to some strange conspiracy theories, as his critics routinely point out.

However a close look at his reporting and fact checking it with other sources might confirm a significant portion of it making the exaggerations seem far more credible, especially to people that are already emotionally unstable. One of the claims that Jerad Miller allegedly makes or reposts from someone else is that "you're 8x more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist." This claim has apparently been wide spread on the internet and I'm not positive of the original source for this claim, perhaps it's Fear of Terror Makes People Stupid, which seems to be based on 2003 but if you go back fifteen years and include the 9/11 attacks then this would mean that there have to be well over 24,000 killings from police; and this is virtually out of the question. If on the other hand you only go back ten years and limit it to the United States it is almost certainly a far more reasonable claim, or at least it might seem to be.

According to the Atlantic Magazine, The Irrationality of Giving Up This Much Liberty to Fight Terror from a statistical point of view the fear of terrorism is greatly exaggerated since only a miniscule fraction of people are killed by terrorists, even including 9/11 compared to many other causes, including diabetes, drunk driving deaths and guns. This doesn't specify police but a List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States indicates that there are hundreds of people killed by police every year. A close look at the details of most of these quickly implies that they're under circumstances that most citizens wouldn't expect to be involved in and many people might think they're justifiable homicide, at least at a quick glance,, although it would be hard to tell whether a closer look would confirm that. Cato's list of Botched Paramilitary Police Raids cited by Jim Harper, who also claims You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist, does a better job citing the ones that have killed innocent people and this number is far smaller but it is more than enough for concern and it is more than enough to make a lot of people including Jerad Miller angry about it.

It doesn't take much searching to find some of the articles that have been cited indirectly by Jerad Miller or Infowars, through the Media Matters article and they include plenty that should be considered real concerns about excessive behavior of the police, even for people that don't support Alex Jones or Jerad Miller's position on gun control or their conspiracy theories. These reports backed up by alternative sources either cited by Infowars or that can easily be found on the internet include a woman that was terrorized in her own home by marshals, several incidents where police randomly treated everyone as potential suspects, and an incident where police shot two innocent women while pursuing another cop who was also a cop killer.

That's right, not to long ago Christopher Dorner, a former cop killed another cop and they had a manhunt for him. The following are a few of the stories cited by Jerad that I quickly found:

Info Wars: AP Photo: Checkpoint Cops Point Guns at Americans’ Heads

LA police shoot women in hunt for cop-killer Christopher Dorner "Officers assigned to protect another police official whom Dorner had threatened shot two women on Thursday morning. One of the women – who had been delivering newspapers in Torrance, south of Los Angeles – was shot in the hand, the other in the back. ...."

Florida Nurse Terrorized by US Marshals in Warrantless Raid

Lyons: Police raid felt like home invasion 'Goldsberry wasn't arrested or shot despite pointing a gun at a cop, so Wiggins said, “She sure shouldn't be going to the press.”'

Info Wars: Senate Doorkeeper Gives Out “Thank You Capitol Police” Buttons After Cops Execute Mother

CNN: Woman killed during D.C. chase was shot five times from behind, autopsy shows

Simply blaming all of this on right wing extremists without acknowledging the problems with the police won't do much to solve this problem, although it might temporarily appease many members of the public that often don't look to closely at these stories. Blaming all these events on white wing extremists associated with InfoWars is also flawed when you consider that many of the people they report as victims of police violence are minorities. you would think that left wingers would welcome this, but perhaps not when things get to partisan. Even if they do catch some of the potentially violent people before they strike out like Jerad Miller did they won't be able to catch them all. Ironically it is hard to imagine why they wouldn't have known about Jerad Miller before he went on his shooting spree since he broadcasted it so widely on the internet and this is supposedly what their NSA spying program is intended to prevent.

One of the legitimate concerns that InfoWars expresses is about an Indiana Sheriff who says: We Need Military Equipment Because "The United States of America has become a war zone;" if this is true it is partially because the police are escalating violence instead of preventing it in many cases. However it is mostly because politicians and the media continue to ignore the most important root causes of what causes violence to escalate including child abuse that escalates to more violence later in life and inadequate resources to educate children and solve social problems before thy escalate.

Violence among police isn't nearly as uncommon as people think even at home, Police domestic violence is nearly twice average rate. Part of the reason for this is presumably that they're often raised in the same authoritarian manner that causes escalating violence in other people as well; this is often part of the reason some of them want to be police officers, so they can be in a position of power. As David Couper pointed out Hazing and Bullying in the Police Academy only contributes to the escalation of violence and lack of accountability in police departments.

In many cases the worst police officers probably wind up in the most violent cities since the wealthier cities are less likely to hire them and the violent ones have a harder times finding less violent police officers. These cities are often less able to hold their police accountable since they're often the poorest where the citizens have the least amount of political power.

The more effective way to solve these problems should clearly be to provide the resources to prevent them from escalating not to increase the escalation and it doesn't help much when 21 sub-machine guns stolen from LAPD SWAT and even a Juvenile is accused of stealing guns from SWAT vehicle charged or even worse a Man goes on a Rampage in Stolen Tank before eventually being killed himself.

This should be as much of a concern of those concerned with gun control as it is with those on the right wing that are more concerned with protecting the second amendment even when it means allowing mentally ill or irrational people to have guns; since the excessive use of force by police is giving them a legitimate complaint even if some of their other complaints might not be so credible. This could, and in some parts of the country may already be, leading to an arms race between rogue elements and SWAT teams, some of which aren't behaving much better than the rogue elements.

Gun manufacturers won't complain about this.

The immediate problem may be to restore accountability for police departments that are most heavily involved in excessive force but in some cases, due to pressure from the public this may have already begun; although it may be mostly tokenism for now. Some police at lower levels are being charged although in most cases, even when there are convictions they aren't faced with nearly as high penalties as other people. The bigger problem is that politicians who make decisions and police commissioners who run police departments still don't seem to face much if any accountability at all. In rare cases under extreme pressure they might leave office, at least temporarily; but, as far as I know they never face criminal charges, and they generally wind up with other powerful positions at a lower profile.

Anyone paying close enough attention to news, at least from alternative news outlets might not be surprised but a study by Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University has raised major doubts about whether this is a democracy or an Oligarchy. This has been reviewed by numerous sources in the alternative media including The Black Agenda Report but the traditional media has almost completely ignored it; which is part of the reason why the government doesn't respond to the public.

If a growing percentage of the public starts relying more on alternative media outlets demanding more from their politicians and even electing alternative candidates that the traditional media refuses to cover then perhaps this will begin to change.

The following are some of the web pages that compile lists of excessive police force or misbehavior; feel free to fact check those that you might think ar biased:

List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States

Innocents Down

Police State USA

Cop Block

Police Scandals: Deadly Force

The Free Thought Project: Americans Killed by Cops Now Outnumber Americans Killed in Iraq War

On top of that there are a plenty more that may or may not be listed on one of the previous pages including the following the following, some of which are covered by both those that consider themselves right wing or left:

Debunking the Myths of the 2013 Law Enforcement Assassination 'Trend' 04/04/2013

Think Progress: Police Officer Screams At Asian American Suspect: ‘I’ll Put You In A UPS Box And Send You Back’

Info wars: Chicago Cops Being Sued After Being Caught On Tape Physically And Verbally Abusing A Massage Parlor Employee

Las Vegas gunman’s Infowars posts included speculation about killing cops

Is Alex Jones Responsible for the Vegas Shooting?

Activist Post: Cops Kill 8 Times More Americans Than Terrorists Do

'The dawn of a new day... may all our sacrifices be worth it' Chilling online messages of white supremacist couple who gunned down three in Las Vegas and liked to dress up as the Joker and Slender Man

Man Dies in Tenn. Police Raid on Wrong House 11/04/2000 “We did the best surveillance we could do, and a mistake was made,” Lebanon Police Chief Billy Weeks said. “It’s a very severe mistake, a costly mistake. It makes us look at our own policies and procedures to make sure this never occurs again.” He said, however, the two policemen were not at fault. 2006-01-07

Police: Shooting Of Elderly Woman, 92-year old Kathryn Johnston, "Tragic, Unfortunate" 06/0/2014

Two Cops Who Killed Kathryn Johnston Plead Guilty — to Manslaughter 04/26/2007

California Cops Kill Man Claiming Self-Defense; Citizen Video Indicates Otherwise (Updated with Longer Video)

Virginia Cop Killed in Drug Raid; Suspect Says He Was Defending His Home

Attorney: Man was acting in self-defense when he killed sheriff's deputy 12/24/2013

Raid the Wrong House, Kill the Wrong Person

Ind. Police Raid Wrong House, Steal 18-Year-Old Girl's Computer Thanks to Unsecured WiFi Connection

DeKalb County Police Enter Georgia Home, Threaten To 'Cane' Family (GRAPHIC VIDEO) 08/08/2013

NRA backed law allows civilians to kill police officers 12/28/2012

Cop Shoots Partner While Aiming at Dog That Bared Its Teeth

Hawthorne police kill dog during arrest of owner, video of shooting goes viral

Militarized police overreach: “Oh, God, I thought they were going to shoot me next” 07/10/2013

FBI agents speak out on injuries from faulty grenades 11/17/2008

In Virginia, the Death Penalty for Gambling 05/01/2006

“Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control 07/07/2013

Shaq Attack at 02/na/2007

Swat Team Rescues Shaq In Mock Orlando Hijacking 11/09/1993

Deputy Shaquille O'Neal: The Missed Slam Dunk 06/15/2013

SWAT Madness and the Militarization of the American Police: A National Dilemma By Jim Fisher

Ex-officer convicted in elderly Pa. woman's murder 04/09/2013

Two Suits Filed Over Police No-Knock Raids at Wrong Homes 09/11/2003

Police Mag: No-Knock Searches: Reasonable or Deadly? 03/07/2011

Peyton Strickland

Ryan David Frederick 06/0/2014

Wrong-door SWAT raid leaves Georgia couple thinking they were being robbed 09/20/2013

Dana Hills High Students Allowed To Go Home After 4-Hour Class-By-Class Weapons Search 05/29/2014

Citizens caught in chaos of unusual bank robbery ‘dragnet’ take police to court 01/24/2013

Owners want to know who will pay for condo torn apart by SWAT team 04/27/2012

MILLER: D.C. businessman faces two years in jail for unregistered ammunition, brass casing 10/13/2013

Chrisman case: Phoenix Ariz. police officer sentenced to 7 years in prison 12/07/2013

Manchester NH - SWAT team shows up due to a man threatening to jump off of a building [HD] - YouTube 08/06/2012

SWAT team finds weapons, drugs and cash in Manchester home 05/30/2014

Walnut Street Shut Down, SWAT Team On Scene 09/13/2013

SWAT team sent to Nashua NH home after shots fired 07/22/2013

Police say Nashua NH emergency call may have been 'swatting' hoax 06/02/2014

Concord police, SWAT team raid West Street home, arrest two in drug bust 10/26/2013

Former Colorado Sheriff Pleads Guilty In Meth-For-Sex Case 04/04/2012

Mich. cops give kids toys after SWAT team terrifies family in drug raid on wrong house 05/06/2014 He said officers were looking for a man who rented the home nearly a year before his family moved in, and Handley said he’s upset that police failed to thoroughly investigate before bursting through the back door.

SWAT team smashes down front door of suburban house in early-morning raid and forces couple to the floor at gunpoint... before realizing it's the wrong home 10/08/2012

SWAT Team Launch Dawn Raid on Family Home to Collect Unpaid Student Loans 06/08/2011

SWAT team mistakenly raids woman’s Sheraden home 06/26/2013

New Orleans Police Officer Indicted in Drug Raid Killing

Detroit cop goes on trial for killing 7-year-old girl

Numbers paint portrait of Maryland SWAT team use

Woman Sues Police Over ‘Flash Grenade’ SWAT Raid

Evansville woman sues police department after SWAT officers raid her home

SWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma Instead

BREAKING: Las Vegas Cop Killer Jared Miller’s Manifesto

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