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Rise of the American Police State

Rise of the American Police State

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Published by Charles Shaw

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Published by: Charles Shaw on Dec 01, 2011
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 The Rise of the American Police State
Contributing researchers:
Katherine Coleman (Project Coordinator)James Parker GochenourKathryn LawryszekNina Chandnani
This final memorandum is submitted in fulfillment of the
 Rutherford Institute-Virginia Themis Society Research Program
May 2010
 
Rutherford Institute-VTS Research Program(May 2010)
2
Table of ContentsAbstract..............................................................................................................................3I. Introduction.....................................................................................................................4II. The Emerging American Police State: Friend or Foe Behind the Badge and Uniform?......7Equipping In a Militarized Nature: Reforming One Parliamentary Unit at a Time......9An Upsurge In Surveillance: The Dwindling Idea of an Open Society in America.....27Fusion Centers: Terrorism Prevention Patronized by the Public Sector.....................37The Impending Age: False Protection of Liberty in the Name of National Security....41III. The Rule of Law Cleft Asunder: the Historical Police State and Its Ramifications............42The Police State: A Definition................................................................................25Political Police and the State in Crisis: Some Concrete Examples............................46I. Autocratic Examples...................................................................................46II. Historical Politicization and Militarization of Police in the United States......49A.
 
Foundations of the Federal Liaison with the Police.........................49B.
 
The Liaison Wreaks Havoc...........................................................52C.
 
The Democratic Convention of 1968: Implications for theMilitarization of the Police in Democratic Regimes........................55III. The Reluctant Acceptance of the FBI Despite Democratic Compunctions...56A.
 
Origins of the FBI and its Tendency to Excess..............................56B.
 
The Inefficacy of a Public Backlash...............................................58Conclusion............................................................................................................60IV. Rights at Risk: The Rising Threat to Civil Liberties from an Increasingly MilitarizedPolice..........................................................................................................................61Free Speech: Free for Some, Costly for Others.......................................................62Silencing by Statute: The USA PATRIOT Act.......................................................62New Media and Police Censorship........................................................................63Criminalizing Dissent............................................................................................65“Free Speech Zones..........................................................................................67Indirect Attacks.....................................................................................................75Criminalizing the Public........................................................................................79Fourth Amendment: Cracks in the “Castle” .........................................................80Slippery Searches Under the PATRIOT Act...........................................................83No-Knock Raids...................................................................................................84Contemporary Criticisms.......................................................................................85Civil Liberties and the Next Generation: Police Searches and America’s Children...88Halting the Runaway Train....................................................................................91V. The Media and the Police................................................................................................91Politics Between the Police and Conventional Media..............................................93The Media-Citizen Relationship: Making “Public JournalismPublic Journalism..98Liberation Technology Fights Police Brutality........................................................99Technology as Watchdog......................................................................................103VI. Conclusion...................................................................................................................106
ABSTRACT
TITLE
: The Rise of the American Police State
 
Rutherford Institute-VTS Research Program(May 2010)
3
AUTHOR(S)/AFFILIATION(S):
Katherine Coleman, James Parker Gochenour, KathrynLawryszek, Nina Chandnani, Rutherford Institute, Virginia Themis Society.
PURPOSE
: To analyze the cultural, historical, and political contexts of the increasing militarizationof the American police force and to articulate the role that the citizens and the media in definingtheir relationship with the police.
BACKGROUND:
Since the middle of the twentieth century, the American police force hasbecome increasingly centralized and militarized. This has been intensified by recent terrorist threats,which have fostered an environment that is more permissive of a powerful police force. This reportprobes the extent to which the authority of the police has been expanding, considering thetechnological, historical, and legal developments that have contributed to the enlargement of thepolice’s power.
METHOD
: Research, synthesis, and interpretation of relevant scientific and journalistic material,as well as recent studies completed by leading civil liberties organizations including the AmericanCivil Liberties Union and the Cato Institute.
 RESULTS
: The growing militarization now threatens American liberty. This threat is evident fromthe increasing arsenal of weapons available to police units, the changing image of the police withincommunities, and the growing idea that the police can and should use any means necessary tomaintain order. When viewed in a historical context, these patterns bear resemblance to thoseobserved in the early stages of the world's past police states. The increasing militarization of thepolice poses a real threat to American civil liberties, especially First and Fourth Amendmentfreedoms. In the face of the threat of an increasingly powerful police force, the American populace,with the help of a vigilant media, must inform themselves about the issues at stake and ensure thatthe police protect the order but also the liberty in their communities.
Introduction
The American police force is not a branch of the military, nor is it a private security force forthe reigning political faction. It is an aggregation of the countless local units that exist for a solepurpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community. In recent years,however, there has been an increasing militarization of the police. It has not occurred suddenly, in asingle precinct; it cannot be traced back to a single leader or event- rather, the pattern is so subtlethat most American citizens are hardly even aware of it. Little by little, police authority has

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