Tragic events such as the 2014 Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo. and the police-involved death of Eric Garner in New York City has spurred debate about whether or not police departments within the U.S. are becoming more militarized. The emphasis seems to be on the word “more,” implying that militarization is somehow a foregone conclusion and the question is how much more militarized they will become. Are these incidents evidence that police are increasingly militarized?
The community of Ferguson is in turmoil and it’s not just because of recent protests and civil unrest. For many years, community members have felt they are part of a declining municipality and faced dramatic growth in the wealth gap separating rich and poor.
The cure in Ferguson is not simply seeking justice for Michael Brown, telling the truth, or justifying Officer Wilson’s actions. The cure will involve getting the community and police to act on fact, accept the judicial outcome, and then work to rebuild the disintegrated trust between the community and law enforcement.
By Leischen Stelter, American Military University
As tension and violence continued to escalate this past weekend in Ferguson, Missouri, there remains intense scrutiny about the response by police. Some vocal critics, like Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, accuse the department of being heavy-handed by using tear gas and other crowd disbursement techniques on peaceful protestors.