Badges and guns: Links & comments 8/26/14

What I’ve Learned from Two Years of Collecting Data on Police Killings by D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News and Review, for Gawker.

Killing of civilians by police is a serious national issue which is being covered up.  Nobody knows how many Americans are killed by polilce in a given year, still less what justification is given for them.  No doubt some of them, and maybe most of them. were necessary to protect human life.  But this information ought be available.  Police are the servants of the people, not their masters.

What Black Parents Tell Their Sons About the Police by Jasmine Hughes for Gawker.

Whatever the number of Americans killed by police in any given year, it is no doubt less than the number who die from other specific causes, such as auto accidents.  That is not the issue.  The issue is that so many law-abiding Americans, especially black Americans, live in justified fear of the police.

What I Did After Police Killed My Son by Michael Bell for Politico.

This is not just a problem of black people.  Michael Bell’s blonde, blue-eyed son was shot in the head by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with his hands handcuffed behind his back.  He campaigned successfully for a law calling for independent investigations of all killings by police.   That’s a good law.  So would be a law requiring videotaping of police interactions with the public.

Militarized cops’ scary new toys: The ugly next frontier in “crowd control” by Heather Digby Parton for Salon.

The U.S. military is developing new technologies for crowd control, which no doubt will soon be available to police departments.   As Parton pointed out, they are designed for use against unarmed or poorly-armed crowds.  What does this say about how the military, and the police, see their mission.

 

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