The Disturbing Reason Ferguson Police Look Like Soldiers From 'Call of Duty'
By Zak Cheney-Rice / mic.com

The news: If you're following the events in Ferguson, you may be wondering why a group of suburban St. Louis police look like something out of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare."

Image Credit: AP

Image Credit: Amazon

The answer is simple and more than a little disturbing: The Pentagon is giving them weapons.

USA Today reports that the Ferguson police are part of a federal program called "1033." Established in the early 1990s, 1033 lets the U.S. government distribute "hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment" to "civilian police forces" across the country.

What does this mean? Instead of the traditional gun-and-badge combo, local cops look increasingly like they're ready to storm the beach at Normandy.

Image Credit: AP

It's unclear what war they imagine they'll be waging anytime soon. But it's bad news: Their equipment ranges from handguns and automatic rifles to camouflage gear and armored vehicles, all of which they've prominently displayed at protests throughout the week.

Image Credit: AP

In 2013 alone, USA Today reports the Pentagon transferred $449,309,003.71 worth of equipment to police departments nationwide. Cops have received $4.3 billion in ex-military swag since the program launched.

More: The Pentagon does not disclose what equipment it gives which departments. But it does share the county figures, and between 2012 and 2014, police forces in the same county as Ferguson received at least "advanced rifle sights and night vision equipment."

Michelle McCaskill of the Defense Logistics Fund tells USA Today that Ferguson received its latest transfer in November. That shipment included "two vehicles ... a trailer and a generator."

Image Credit: AP

Background: While no one has explicitly confirmed that Pentagon equipment is being used in Ferguson, the militarization of police arms and tactics there is undeniable.

There's a clear and visible reason why media outlets are comfortable calling the city a "war zone" and comparing it to places like Egypt and Iraq:

Image Credit: AP

Additional case in point: The Wire quotes an NBC interview where Washington Post reporter Radley Balko says, "The militarization itself is part of a larger trend ... a willingness or a policy among domestic police" to use "more force more often for, you know, petty offenses."

He adds: "It is a mentality that sees the people they are supposed to be serving not as citizens with rights but as potential threats."

Image Credit: AP

Or as Ferguson police might say, "fucking animals."

Takeaway: That the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown sparked protests is reasonable. That local police have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, combat vehicles and the prominent display of military-grade assault rifles is not.

Fortunately, they won't be doing so much longer: Bloomberg reports Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is relieving St. Louis County law enforcement of their duties in Ferguson today.

But the bigger problem of police militarization isn't going away soon. And justice for Mike Brown and his family remains elusive.

h/t The Wire

4.0 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 19,838 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 11,116 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 9,549 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
The Culture of Maximum Harm
Daniel Quinn · 5,371 views today · People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the world should live a single...
Prince Ea Just Put The School System on Trial and Found it Guilty of Killing Free Thought
6 min · 4,593 views today · Albert Einstien once said "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". Today Prince...
The Little Engine That Couldn't: How We're Preparing Ourselves and Our Children for Extinction
Daniel Quinn · 4,498 views today · In a recent semi-documentary film called Garbage, a toxic waste disposal engineer was asked how we can stop engulfing the world in our poisons. His answer was, "We'd have to...
Debt, Inequality and the Logic of Financial Violence
David Graeber · 3,074 views today · Five years after Occupy, organizer and anthropologist David Graeber speaks to ROAR about the power of finance, the history of inequality and the legacy of the movement.
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 2,809 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
The Left Deserves Better Than Jill Stein
Kate Aronoff · 2,803 views today · Stein’s Green Party run doesn’t offer a plan to win, or to build power. The Left is capable of so much more.
How You Can Support Standing Rock
Thane Maxwell · 1,856 views today · This is your pipeline battle too. Whatever you have to offer, we need it. Wherever you are, take one step deeper. Find your voice. Find your own front lines.
Incredible Photographs and Witness Statements from Charlotte and Baton Rouge Protests
Mankaprr Conteh · 1,663 views today · On September 20, a black father named Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by an officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. It is not clear if he was armed...
The Journey From Syria (2016)
71 min · 1,488 views today · Reporter Matthew Cassel spent a year documenting the journey of Syrian jeweler Aboud Shalhoub as he travels from Turkey to Greece, and through Eastern Europe to the Netherlands...
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 1,439 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
This Satirical Trump Vs. Bernie Debate Is Both Hilarious and Highly Disturbing
44 min · 1,428 views today · Comedians James Adomian (Bernie Sanders) and Anthony Atamanuik (Donald Trump) bring two of the most controversial candidates in history, head-to-head, or rather bald-to-toupee...
Kids Killed by Guns: America's Daily Nightmare
3 min · 1,325 views today · On an average day in America, seven children and teenagers will be shot dead.Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost on one random day - 23 November 2013. Ten children...
Olympian John Carlos on the Power of Protest
3 min · 1,253 views today · 1968 Olympic athlete John Carlos protested racial inequality by raising his fist in a Black Power salute on the medal stand. He has some advice for athletes like Colin...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,192 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 1,092 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
Yemen's Forgotten War and Famine Fuelled by Weapons from The West
3 min · 1,017 views today · The world has forgotten the war in Yemen but you'll remember these shocking images of its starving children.
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 936 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
The Disturbing Reason Ferguson Police Look Like Soldiers From 'Call of Duty'