Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill announced that later this month she will be holding senate hearings regarding the militarization of police departments across the country. This, of course, came to light after the Michael Brown shooting and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, MO last month.
In response to people exercising their constitutional right to express their disgust for the incident between the 18-year old and 6-year police officer Darren Wilson, we saw the city, county, and state police forces respond with brute force not only by what seemed to be an outnumbering of protesters by police officers but also by military-like uniforms, equipment, and weapons. We witnessed tanks being used, similar to those used in war and other equipment like night-vision goggles and specific weapons that weren’t necessary to manage a rightfully and mostly peacefully crowd.
This overuse of power brought up the question of why police departments all over the country has these military supplies. How were local police departments able to get these things. And what purpose does it serve. It all stems from 9/11 where there was an increase in these types of programs where the Department of Defense would give this type of military equipment to police departments as a way to help them combat terror on the homeland.
Regardless of why these programs even exist (we won’t mention the military industrial complex here), even if you think that this is a good idea, why did we see tanks and automatic weapons deployed against unarmed protesters? This is a question nobody will ever be able to answer.
Senator McCaskill looks to investigate these programs that allows local police to have access to these things. I am glad that McCaskill is putting a spotlight on this absolutely ludicrous issue. These programs need to end because they have no place in a local police department and definitely should not be used against peaceful protesters. Even if the protesters ever end up getting rowdy (which unfortunately happens with anarchists and infiltrators), a military response is not the answer.
Claire McCaskill should be commended on her efforts. She is the epitome of a good representative of her state. She saw a problem in her state of Missouri and did, and continues to do, something about it. During the thick of the protests after the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer, McCaskill was back in her state listening to constituents and asking early questions about police brutality and the militarization that was brought to the spotlight in Ferguson. But even weeks after the protests have died down, she is using these hearings to investigate and make change to these ridiculous militarization programs.