- It has been increasing for years. While the exact number of civilians killed by police is surprisingly hard to find (see this article for a scary investigation of why the government doesn’t keep data on the number of Americans killed by cops), most experts agree that more Americans have been killed by cops than have died in war in the last ten years.
- Police violence is increasing even while crime decreases.
- The American government has spent a lot of money turning local cops into heavily armed military forces. They’ve bought hundreds of armored vehicles and thousands of machine guns and sniper rifles.
- Cops who are armed like an invading army often act like one: No Knock Swat Team Raids (busting down the door and threatening the enemy with guns) have increased dramatically. Most of these military style raids are done for something as small as serving a warrant or looking for drugs in someone’s home.
- And cops acting like soldiers, without being trained as soldiers, are not very good at it.
- While the framers of the constitution adamantly opposed a standing army in the United States, we almost have one. As long as bad cops are able to do bad things with military style weapons without being punished for crimes they commit, we are facing a broken system of governance. Many argue that the police force has become an occupying force which terrorizes the American people.
Is it any wonder that Americans are upset about police brutality? Or that when the American people protest police brutality, they are met with police brutality (#Ferguson)? Is it any wonder that the American people feel that their local cops increasingly resemble an invading army?
While Obama offers half-measures of body-cameras and more training for cops, the solution to this problem is twofold: Stop arming cops with military equipment and punish bad cops for bad behavior.