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The last days of colonialism taught America's revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But according to investigative reporter Radley Balko, over the last several decades, America's cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other—an enemy. Today's armored-up policemen are a far cry from the constables of early America. The unrest of the 1960s brought about the invention of the SWAT unit—which in turn led to the debut of military tactics in the ranks of police officers. Nixon's War on Drugs, Reagan's War on Poverty, Clinton's COPS program, the post–9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs. In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians' ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.
The last days of colonialism taught America's revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But according to investigative reporter Radley Balko, over the last several decades, America's cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other—an enemy. Today's armored-up policemen are a far cry from the constables of early America. The unrest of the 1960s brought about the invention of the SWAT unit—which in turn led to the debut of military tactics in the ranks of police officers. Nixon's War on Drugs, Reagan's War on Poverty, Clinton's COPS program, the post–9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs. In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians' ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.
Relates the history of American police forces from the constables and sheriffs of the past to the modern-day SWAT teams and riot teams that blur the line between police officers and soldiers.
A shocking and deeply reported account of the persistent plague of institutional racism and junk forensic science in our criminal justice system, and its devastating effect on innocent lives After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free. The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist recounts the story of how the criminal justice system allowed this to happen, and of how two men, Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West, built successful careers on the back of that structure. For nearly two decades, Hayne, a medical examiner, performed the vast majority of Mississippi's autopsies, while his friend Dr. West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart. Here, Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington tell the haunting story of how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system--a relic of the Jim Crow era--failed to deliver justice for its citizens. The authors argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, raising sobering questions about our ability and willingness to address these crucial issues.
In A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, John W. Whitehead charts America's transition from a society governed by "we the people" to a police state governed by the strong arm of the law. In such an environment, the law becomes yet another tool to oppress the people. As a constitutional attorney of national prominence, and as president of The Rutherford Institute, an international civil liberties organization, Whitehead has been at the forefront of the fight for civil liberties in this country. The recurring theme at the heart of A Government of Wolves is that the American people are in grave danger of losing their basic freedoms. The simple fact is that the Constitution - and in particular the Bill of Rights - is being undermined on virtually every front. Indeed, everything America was founded upon is in some way being challenged. The openness and freedom that were once the hallmarks of our society are now in peril. We were once a society that valued individual liberty and privacy. But in recent years we have turned into a culture that has quietly accepted surveillance cameras, police and drug-sniffing dogs in our children's schools, national databases that track our finances and activities, sneak-and-peek searches of our homes without our knowledge or consent, and anti-terrorism laws that turn average Americans into suspects. In short, America has become a lockdown nation, and we are all in danger. A Government of Wolves not only explains these acute problems but is a call to action offering timely and practical initiatives for Americans to take charge of present course of history and stop the growing police state. But time is running out. We are at critical juncture and every citizen who values his or her personal freedom needs to pay close attention to the message in this book!
American policing is in crisis. The last decade witnessed a vast increase in police aggression, misconduct, and militarization, along with a corresponding reduction in transparency and accountability. Nowhere is this more noticeable and painful than in African American and other ethnic minority communities. Racism—from raw, individualized versions to insidious systemic examples—appears to be on the rise in our police departments. Overall, our police officers have grown more and more alienated from the people they've been hired to serve. In To Protect and To Serve, Norm Stamper offers new insights into the conditions that have created this crisis, reminding us that police in a democratic society belong to the people–and not the other way around. To Protect and To Serve also delivers a revolutionary new model for American law enforcement: the community-based police department. It calls for citizen participation in all aspects of police operations: policymaking, program development, crime fighting and service delivery, entry-level and ongoing education and training, oversight of police conduct, and, especially relevant to today's challenges, joint community-police crisis management. Nothing will ever change until the system itself is radically restructured, and here Norm Stamper shows us how.
With the immediacy of a daily newspaper, this book reveals how the irresponsible use of SWAT teams, shock-and-awe policing, and the increasing militarization of American law enforcement is changing the face of "the land of the free." * Provides 30 case studies documenting inappropriate SWAT team deployment

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