Dangerous, Alienating & Sociopathic: 'Arming street cops with military gear' [Ray Lewis @ RT]
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Dangerous, alienating, and sociopathic: the policy of arming police to the teeth with military-grade gear shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how crime is solved and what it means for a cop to walk the beat, former Captain Ray Lewis told RT.
Nine-foot tall, 55,000 pound, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored-fighting vehicles rolling through the streets of America.
Millions of dollars’ worth of military gear being distributed to local police forces on an annual basis.
Drones, M-16s and so many other hand-me-downs from over a decade of war making their way from US forces abroad to a local police force near you.
If you really believe any of this is making you safer, Lewis, who spent 24 years on the force, says you should think again. Endangering lives, alienating communities, turning minority neighborhoods into occupied territory and compromising the very ability for police to do their jobs; these are just a few of the reasons the former commissioner believes main street is being sold down the river for power-hungry cops and ruthless corporate interest.
RT: Why is this considered to be a good idea, bringing these high caliber weapons into US streets?
Ray Lewis: I don’t think it’s a good idea. High caliber weapons are extremely dangerous. They have a very high ricocheting velocity, and that means that innocent people are going to get killed and injured. They can go through doors, they can go through cinder block, they can go through metal car doors, and this type of velocity is not necessary. I spent 24 years in the Philadelphia Police Department.We upgraded our Smith and Wessons to Glocks, which are a very powerful pistol that work very well. There is no reason to have anything stronger than that, except in exigent circumstances, in which your SWAT team does have that type of weapon. For anyone else, they’re not necessary and they’re dangerous.
RT: You know Captain, one might ask, will this equipment not obscure the line between soldier and police officers, especially in those small communities where they’re already being distributed?
RL: Yes, it will obviously obscure the line between the military and the police. But I’m not at all concerned with small communities that you mentioned. I’m concerned with the large cities, where you have large minority populations living in economically depressed areas. That’s where you’re going to have problems. You bring this type of equipment into a minority area, you are going to make those people feel as if they are living in an occupied territory. You’re going to alienate them.