Saturday, 30 August 2014 10:20

Celebrities, Congressional Black Caucus: Let's Nationalize Police

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Prominent celebrities and leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus have endorsed a major nationalization of local police forces with an August 25 letter to President Obama, calling for creation of a federal police “czar” and greater federal controls over law enforcement in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting and protests. 

“The Administration must appoint a federal Czar,” the letter states, “housed in the U.S. Department of Justice, who is specifically tasked with promoting the professionalization of local law enforcement, monitoring egregious law enforcement activities, and adjudicating suspicious actions of local law enforcement agencies that receive federal funding.” 

The letter is signed by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), and her fellow members Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Also signing on to the letter are the leaders of the ACLU, several labor unions (AFL-CIO and SEIU), Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon, and several dozen others. 

The letter is a direct result of the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent protests. An excerpt reads:

Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teen shot multiple times and killed by a Ferguson, MO police officer, is only the latest in a long list of black men and boys who have died under eerily similar circumstances. Investigations into the Ferguson shooting are ongoing, and many of the specific facts remain unclear for now. However, the pattern is too obvious to be a coincidence and too frequent to be a mistake. From policing to adjudication and incarceration, it is time for the country to counter the effects of systemic racial bias, which impairs the perceptions, judgment, and behavior of too many of our law enforcement personnel and obstructs the ability of our police departments and criminal justice institutions to protect and serve all communities in a fair and just manner.

Allegations that law enforcement has not applied the laws fairly upon black Americans are based on statistics showing that blacks are convicted of an inordinate number of gun crimes and receive stiffer sentences for the same gun crimes, and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has made a very public issue of the disparity. The Washington Post's libertarian blogger Radley Balko noted on July 22 that “Last year, 47.3 percent of those convicted for federal gun crimes were black — a racial disparity larger than any other class of federal crimes, including drug crimes. In a 2011 report on mandatory minimum sentencing for gun crimes, the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that blacks were far more likely to be charged and convicted of federal gun crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentences. They were also more likely to be hit with 'enhancement' penalties that added to their sentences. In fact, the racial discrepancy for mandatory minimums was even higher than the aforementioned disparity for federal gun crimes in general.”

Ironically, the letter makes the valid point that “the militarization of police departments across the country is creating conditions that will further erode the trust that should exist between residents and the police who serve them. The proliferation of machine guns, silencers, armored vehicles and aircraft, and camouflage in local law enforcement units does not bode well for police-community relations, the future of our cities, or our country.”

The source of this militarization is not endemic racism, however; it has been federal intervention and aid through the Department of Defense's Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) under the auspices of fighting the “drug war” and “terrorism.” LESO notes on its website that “Since its inception [in 1991], the 1033 program has transferred more than $5.1 billion worth of property. In 2013 alone, $449,309,003.71 worth of property was transferred to law enforcement.” LESO boasts that some 8,000 police agencies are currently availing themselves of military equipment from the Department of Defense.

In other words, the same federal government that is responsible for militarizing the police to the tune of $449 million per year is what Rep. Marcia Fudge and her colleagues suggest should be reviewing and controlling local police. “Police departments should not be solely responsible for investigating themselves,” the letter reads. “DOJ must set and implement national standards of investigation that are democratic (involving independent review boards broadly representative of the community served), transparent, and enforceable.”

Americans have been presented with the false choice between the militarization of police encouraged by the federal government and the overseeing of police by that same federal government that has created the problem.

Photo: AP Images

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9 comments

  • Comment Link marvin nubwaxer Thursday, 04 September 2014 14:29 posted by marvin nubwaxer

    if you like your local white racist overbearing police you can keep your local white racist overbearing police, period.

  • Comment Link Frank M. Pelteson Tuesday, 02 September 2014 12:55 posted by Frank M. Pelteson

    No one seems to know that nationalizing or centralizing the police was one of V.I. Lenin's planks for Communizing a nation.

    More about this can be found at http://www.jbs.org/issues-pages/support-your-local-police .

  • Comment Link Ibn Insha Tuesday, 02 September 2014 04:43 posted by Ibn Insha

    We all know that celebrities don't know anything but hearing from Congress men and women calling for a national police czar indicates that they don't know anything either. At least not about the sovereignty of states. Nationalization of police has been happening for quite some time any way evident from the way federal agencies and local police departments conduct raids together and share the bounty. I am ashamed that our Congress does not know anything. They did not deserve to be elected for such a high office.

  • Comment Link Joyce Monday, 01 September 2014 20:07 posted by Joyce

    No offense folks, but I prefer to make my own decisions and not depend on others to make them especially when at least one of the signers mentioned was worried that Guan might flip upside down if too many people went there, and he has also been implicated in helping select the conservative groups for the IRS targeting. Neither do I want the ACLU, which is well known for wanting to force their opinions on everyone else making my decisions.. Nor do I need some airheaded actors or union goons making my decisions. Out local police departments have already been to nationalized to suit me.

    They need to return to the guidelines of our Constitution, and stop their black suited & black booted no knock raids of throwing flash grenades in babies cribs, etc. and pulling people over for traffic offenses and hauling them off in handcuffs to a local hospital and ordering invasive procedures be done on them. I have yet to see where any drugs were secreted in body cavities or elsewhere in one of these demeaning
    arrests. Sure hope all who have been subjected to one of these has already filed a string of law suits against the invasion and the suppression of their rights of being treated like a human being.

  • Comment Link Terry Mengle Monday, 01 September 2014 18:17 posted by Terry Mengle

    Most countries that have nationalized police forces find that police are used to suppress freedom and control citizens. Since the Constitution of the United States forbids nationalized police we must see to it that this prohibition stays in effect. If we citizens continue to sleep we will lose our freedom.

  • Comment Link Bisley Monday, 01 September 2014 16:42 posted by Bisley

    The police are being nationalized, and it's been going on for some time. Why do you suppose they have become more arrogant, lawless and violent in recent years? DHS, DEA and other federal agencies have been giving them money, training and equipment, in return for their adherence to federal standards and regulations, and sharing the fruits of their new hi-tech surveillance gadgetry with the feds. This is the same way that the schools have been taken over; the feds give them money and stuff, on condition of abiding by federal "guidelines" and training standards, resulting in de facto federal control. All federal "assistance" needs to be stopped; both cops and schools will be better, at what they're supposed to be doing, without the money, or the interference.

  • Comment Link Tionico Monday, 01 September 2014 12:51 posted by Tionico

    these clowns fail to consider that they have ALL taken a solemn oath to uphold and protect our Constitution, which specifically prohibits a national police force AND a standing army.

  • Comment Link Darren Wolfe Monday, 01 September 2014 08:55 posted by Darren Wolfe

    No rprew, we're a first world dictatorship with well trained & well paid LEOs behaving very professionally while they violate our rights. That makes it OK. (sarcasm)

  • Comment Link rprew Saturday, 30 August 2014 11:57 posted by rprew

    Why not? That way we could complete our transition into a third world dictatorship.

    Every where you go... "Papers please."

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