US veterans: Ferguson Police Department’s response is a clusterfuck

Image from Ferguson. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Image from Ferguson. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

More on responses to the police crackdown in Ferguson by U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the police actions so closely resemble. Many vets at the protests and quoted in news stories say the police crackdown is not only overkill, but totally clueless.

“You see the police are standing online with bulletproof vests and rifles pointed at peoples chests,” Jason Fritz, a former Army officer and an international policing operations analyst tells the Washington Post. “That’s not controlling the crowd, that’s intimidating them.”

Scriven King, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force’s law enforcement component and a SWAT officer:

“The first thing that went wrong was when the police showed up with K-9 units,” Scriven said. “The dogs played on racist imagery…it played the situation up and [the department] wasn’t cognizant of the imagery.”

King added that, instead of deescalating the situation on the second day, the police responded with armored vehicles and SWAT officers clad in bulletproof vests and military-grade rifles.

“We went through some pretty bad areas of Afghanistan, but we didn’t wear that much gear,” said Kyle Dykstra, an Army veteran and former security officer for the State Department. Dykstra specifically pointed out the bulletproof armor the officers were wearing around their shoulders, known as “Deltoid” armor. “I can’t think of a [protest] situation where the use of M4 [rifles] are merited,” Fritz said. “I don’t see it as a viable tactic in any scenario.”

"Military veterans see deeply flawed police response in Ferguson" [Washington Post]

Previously: "A sample of US military veterans' reactions to Ferguson police crackdown" [Boing Boing]

Notable Replies

  1. seyo says:

    "'The first thing that went wrong was when the police showed up with K-9 units,' Scriven said. 'The dogs played on racist imagery…it played the situation up and [the department] wasn’t cognizant of the imagery.'"

    Until someone from the department testifies regarding this decision, it's anyone's guess. My guess is that they were perfectly aware of "the imagery "and what message they were sending.

  2. I think the argument might be starting in the wrong place. The "you're doing it wrong" part isn't that their crowd control methods are ineffectual. It's that people have a right to assemble.

    Really don't think that should be overlooked, or can be stressed enough.

  3. I don't understand why any PD needs to have this sort of heavy artillery or weapons and gear and yet even the smallest podunk departments now have this kind of stuff and now that they do the logic is they might as well use it.

    I think the fact that a PD has all this stuff is part of the problem in the first place. The mindset is not to serve and protect it is more like punish and obey. If they were properly trained in the first place Micheal Brown would still be alive as well as others that have perished lately at the hands of an officer who most likely isn't even qualified in the first place.

    I am not knowledgeable about what it takes to be an officer but maybe it is time that police are held to the same standards as licensed professional people instead of anyone that can make it through police training.

    The situation with police in the US seems to be getting worse and worse.

  4. In Baghdad they actually have to adhere to ROE.

  5. I was an HM2 in Nam.
    While it was customary to be shot at and often hit while doing my job, I wouldn't expect it to happen RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA if I was trying to attend to anyone shot by these out of control cops.
    Yet, THAT is exactly what they seem to really and truly want to do to everyone.

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