The Great Debate

Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat rating’

December 12, 2014

Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces — where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles — already raise concerns.

Continuum of force: How police and public can have such different views

December 5, 2014

Police in protective gear form a line as they respond to protesters on the West Side Highway in Manhattan in New York City as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of New York demanding justice for the death of Garner

When the Eric Garner video went viral, the public responded with two, unambivalent conclusions. The first was that the police officer used excessive force, and the second that excessive force is used too frequently.

Never an excuse for shooting unarmed suspects, former police chief says

August 19, 2014

A police officer points a spotlight at a more vocal and confrontational group of demonstrators during further protests in reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown, near FergusonI was the police chief in Kansas City, Missouri, when an unarmed African-American teenager was shot by a cop for a non-violent issue. The result was a peaceful and constructive public dialogue — the opposite of what is happening now in Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.

The militarization of U.S. police forces

October 22, 2013

This month, more Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles (MRAPs) have found their way from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the Main Streets of America. These are just the latest acquisitions in a growing practice by Pentagon that’s militarizing America’s municipal police forces.