Is the US becoming a police state?

Evidence for;

  1. Militarization of police with more police killings of American citizens.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_in_the_United_States
    If you’re an American you stand a greater chance of being killed by a police officer than a terrorist.
  2. Unlawful police harassment.
    This is just one case, but it takes a systemic problem to allow this to occur in the first place I think.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/police-stop-man-258-times-charge-trespassing-work-article-1.1526422#commentpostform
A Florida police department is facing racial profiling charges after stopping a man 258 times and repeatedly charging him with trespassing at the convenience store where he works. At least once a week for the last four years, Earl Sampson, 28, has been stopped by Miami Gardens police — and searched more than 100 times, jailed 56 times and arrested for trespassing 62 times, records show.
3. Children treated as criminals. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/wilson-reyes-7-year-old-boy-nypd-handcuffed_n_2581544.html
The family of a 7-year-old boy has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD after they say the boy was handcuffed for nearly ten hours, all over a measly few bucks. The New York Post reports Wilson Reyes was accused of stealing five dollars from another student at his Bronx school, although the family maintains he actually found the money on the ground. Rather than leaving the minor altercation to school officials, police promptly arrived at the scene, arrested Reyes and "interrogated" him for a total of ten hours-- four hours in a room at P.S. X114 and six inside the police precinct.
4. Aggressive stop and searches. Apparently some "law" officials now think it's appropriate to look up your colon for hours in search of non-existent drugs. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/05/man-seeks-millions-after-nm-police-force-colonoscopy-in-drug-search
Police forced New Mexico scrap metal tradesman David Eckert to undergo two digital anal probes, three enema insertions and ultimately a colonoscopy after officers incorrectly assumed he was concealing drugs, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on his behalf. No drugs were found by police or doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, N.M. The exhaustive search began when Eckert allegedly rolled through a stop sign in Deming, N.M., on Jan. 2, 2013.
5. Police "solving" social issues. http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/time-be-afraid-america-frightening-pattern-throwing-police-power-social-problems?page=0,1 6. Intelligence services operating with no controls. http://thehill.com/policy/technology/190787-senators-no-evidence-nsa-phone-sweeps-are-useful Despite there being no evidence of it being effective, the NSA is listening to basically everyone.
Three Democratic senators filed a brief in federal court on Tuesday supporting a lawsuit to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records. Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.), who all have access to classified information as members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, argued that the controversial program does little to combat terrorism. "[The senators] have reviewed this surveillance extensively and have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has provided any intelligence of value that could not have been gathered through less intrusive means," lawyers for the lawmakers wrote. They argued that more targeted surveillance programs could have been used to gather the same information that the NSA obtained through the phone data collection. "Because the government’s call-records program needlessly intrudes upon the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of Americans, [the senators] believe the bulk collection of these phone records should be ended," they wrote.
FBI and the use of National Security Letters http://www.wired.com/2013/03/nsl-found-unconstitutional/
Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge in California ruled in a decision released Friday. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered the government to stop issuing so-called NSLs across the board, in a stunning defeat for the Obama administration’s surveillance practices. She also ordered the government to cease enforcing the gag provision in any other cases. However, she stayed her order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
7. Life sentences for trivial crimes. https://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/living-death-life-without-parole-nonviolent-offenses
Ever wonder what could land you in prison for the rest of your life? For 3,278 people, it was a nonviolent offense like shoplifting a few cameras from Wal-Mart, stealing a $159 jacket, or serving as a middleman in the sale of $10 of marijuana. People as young as 18 will spend the rest of their lives behind bars for crimes where no one was injured. Mothers and fathers will be separated from their kids forever. People convicted of their first offense will be permanently denied a second chance. Many young Black and low-income men and women will be locked up until they die. And taxpayers will spend billions to keep them behind bars . As the new ACLU report "A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses" reveals, the failed, and outdated approach of applying extreme sentences to minor property and drug crimes has reached absurd, tragic and costly heights.
8. Police being above the law. Just one case. http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/no-charges-opd-officer-accused-hitting-homeless-ma/ncDdm/
In April, WFTV found out Orlando Police Officer Michael Fiorentino-Tyburski was under investigation for allegedly hitting a homeless man, and then driving away. In video obtained by WFTV, it shows the man roll over the hood of the patrol car. However, what the video doesn't show is Fiorentino-Tyburski leaving the victim, without calling for help.
Internal Affairs concluded the officer did not break the law by not calling 911 and not doing a report because property damage was less than $500. He was suspended, but is not facing any charges.
9. The highest incarceration rate in the world. http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2012/us-incarceration.aspx
(August 2012) Since 2002, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world. Although prison populations are increasing in some parts of the world, the natural rate of incarceration for countries comparable to the United States tends to stay around 100 prisoners per 100,000 population. The U.S. rate is 500 prisoners per 100,000 residents, or about 1.6 million prisoners in 2010, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
10. Peaceful protests met with violence. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2055206/Occupy-Oakland-protests-Iraq-war-hero-Scott-Olsen-badly-wounded-police.html 11. An actual whistleblower- Edward Snowden- is being treated as a traitor as are many genuine whistleblowers who are supposedly protected when they speak up in the public interest. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/04/obama-has-prosecuted-more-whistleblowers-than-all-other-presidents-combined.html 12. More FBI invasions of privacy. http://gizmodo.com/fbi-can-secretly-activate-laptop-cameras-without-the-in-1478371370
Scary. Insane. Ridiculous. Invasive. Wrong. The Washington Post reports that the FBI has had the ability to secretly activate a computer's camera "without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording" for years now. What in the hell is going on? What kind of world do we live in? Marcus Thomas, the former assistant director of the FBI's Operational Technology Division, told the Post that that sort of creepy spy laptop recording is "mainly" used in terrorism cases or the "most serious" of criminal investigations. That doesn't really make it less crazy (or any better) since the very idea of the FBI being able to watch you through your computer is absolutely disturbing.
All this brings to mind this quotation: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
I really do feel we live in a society where many people are keeping their heads down and doing nothing as long they're not the ones being affected...yet.

This article from the WSJ details how SWAT has taken off in America. These teams are trained in military tactics and equipped with military grade weapons and are all across America leading to a warrior culture among the police.
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/17148/online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904

On Jan. 4 of last year, a local narcotics strike force conducted a raid on the Ogden, Utah, home of Matthew David Stewart at 8:40 p.m. The 12 officers were acting on a tip from Mr. Stewart's former girlfriend, who said that he was growing marijuana in his basement. Mr. Stewart awoke, naked, to the sound of a battering ram taking down his door. Thinking that he was being invaded by criminals, as he later claimed, he grabbed his 9-millimeter Beretta pistol. The police say that they knocked and identified themselves, though Mr. Stewart and his neighbors said they heard no such announcement. Mr. Stewart fired 31 rounds, the police more than 250. Six of the officers were wounded, and Officer Jared Francom was killed. Mr. Stewart himself was shot twice before he was arrested. He was charged with several crimes, including the murder of Officer Francom
But SWAT is just used for the most violent and heavily armed felons right? Nope.
The number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown accordingly. In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005 (the last year for which Dr. Kraska collected data), there were approximately 50,000 raids. Some federal agencies also now have their own SWAT teams, including NASA and the Department of the Interior.
Advocates of these tactics said that drug dealers were acquiring ever bigger weapons and the police needed to stay a step ahead in the arms race. There were indeed a few high-profile incidents in which police were outgunned, but no data exist suggesting that it was a widespread problem. A study done in 1991 by the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute found that less than one-eighth of 1% of homicides in the U.S. were committed with a military-grade weapon. Subsequent studies by the Justice Department in 1995 and the National Institute for Justice in 2004 came to similar conclusions: The overwhelming majority of serious crimes are committed with handguns, and not particularly powerful ones. The new century brought the war on terror and, with it, new rationales and new resources for militarizing police forces. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Department of Homeland Security has handed out $35 billion in grants since its creation in 2002, with much of the money going to purchase military gear such as armored personnel carriers. In 2011 alone, a Pentagon program for bolstering the capabilities of local law enforcement gave away $500 million of equipment, an all-time high. The past decade also has seen an alarming degree of mission creep for U.S. SWAT teams. When the craze for poker kicked into high gear, a number of police departments responded by deploying SWAT teams to raid games in garages, basements and VFW halls where illegal gambling was suspected. According to news reports and conversations with poker organizations, there have been dozens of these raids, in cities such as Baltimore, Charleston, S.C., and Dallas. In 2006, 38-year-old optometrist Sal Culosi was shot and killed by a Fairfax County, Va., SWAT officer. The investigation began when an undercover detective overheard Mr. Culosi wagering on college football games with some buddies at a bar. The department sent a SWAT team after Mr. Culosi, who had no prior criminal record or any history of violence. As the SWAT team descended, one officer fired a single bullet that pierced Mr. Culosi's heart. The police say that the shot was an accident. Mr. Culosi's family suspects the officer saw Mr. Culosi reaching for his cellphone and thought he had a gun.
Vice cops with body armor and assault rifles, is this really America any more? Or how about SWAT to deal with underage drinking or Tibetan Monks who overstayed their visit on a peace mission?
In 2010, the police department in New Haven, Conn., sent its SWAT team to raid a bar where police believed there was underage drinking. For sheer absurdity, it is hard to beat the 2006 story about the Tibetan monks who had overstayed their visas while visiting America on a peace mission. In Iowa, the hapless holy men were apprehended by a SWAT team in full gear.
So who are they protecting and serving?
In my own research, I have collected over 50 examples in which innocent people were killed in raids to enforce warrants for crimes that are either nonviolent or consensual (that is, crimes such as drug use or gambling, in which all parties participate voluntarily). These victims were bystanders, or the police later found no evidence of the crime for which the victim was being investigated. They include Katherine Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed by an Atlanta narcotics team acting on a bad tip from an informant in 2006; Alberto Sepulveda, an 11-year-old accidentally shot by a California SWAT officer during a 2000 drug raid; and Eurie Stamps, killed in a 2011 raid on his home in Framingham, Mass., when an officer says his gun mistakenly discharged. Mr. Stamps wasn't a suspect in the investigation.

The situation is stark.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/increasing-police-brutality-americans-killed-by-cops-now-outnumber-americans-killed-in-iraq-war/5361554

The increase in police brutality in this country is a frightening reality. In the last decade alone the number of people murdered by police has reached 5,000. The number of soldiers killed since the inception of the Iraq war, 4489.

BecomIng a police state?

I do think the US is on that road, although not necessarily for the reasons you cited. Successful democracies inevitably lead to totalitarianism - or some other less pleasant state. It’s not a question of if, but when.
It’s happening in some Western European nations, as well.

True enough, Rome was originally a republic where kings were held in contempt.
I wonder with the dynamics of the world today how far things will progress both there and here, our PM sure seems to have royal aspirations.
I also wonder what this means for people who aren’t willing to bow down.

According to the ACLU it’s also getting very difficult for Americans to exercise their 1st Amendment rights.
https://www.aclu.org/maps/spying-first-amendment-activity-state-state

Unfortunately, it appears that these old tendencies have once again come to the fore. Law enforcement agencies across America continue to monitor and harass groups and individuals for doing little more than peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. A thorough search and review of news accounts by the ACLU reveals that these law enforcement behaviors have taken place in at least 36 states plus the District of Columbia in recent years. Americans have been put under surveillance or harassed by the police just for deciding to organize, march, protest, espouse unusual viewpoints, and engage in normal, innocuous behaviors such as writing notes or taking photographs in public.
I also think Lois is accurate, America isn't becoming a police state, it's already there. And we're no better off here. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/quebec-police-admit-they-went-undercover-at-montebello-protest-1.656171
Quebec provincial police admitted Thursday that three of their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que. However,the police force denied allegations its undercover officers werethere on Mondayto provoke the crowdand instigate violence.
Decide for yourselves if the the Quebec police were trying to provoke violence with what was supposed to be a lawful demonstration at the SPP conference. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce5GZQbb1pQ It's getting so loony here that peaceful protesters are protecting riot police from undercover cops who are trying to provoke a violent reaction from them.

At what point did the public become “them” to the police, state security and the government?

Tacoma Police Infiltrate Anti-War Group. An Aug. 5, 2008, document contained a quote from an undercover officer who had infiltrated an anti-war group. The quote stated, 'It was very funny to watch them on Friday night, just so you know, they are scared sh*tless of TPD, that's pretty much all they talked about. Then they try to pscyh each other up enough to take one for the team, the car ride to the tide flats was hilarious ...'

The U.S. Started becoming a police state on May 4, 1970 when National Guard troops murdered four Kent State University students and no one was held accountable.

The U.S. Started becoming a police state on May 4, 1970 when National Guard troops murdered four Kent State University students and no one was held accountable.
As a child I remember being in a car somewhere and hearing about this over the radio, it felt like a little piece of the world had just died.
The U.S. Started becoming a police state on May 4, 1970 when National Guard troops murdered four Kent State University students and no one was held accountable.
Good point. I think you're right. Lois

Hello everyone! … Was “out” for a while… now I’m back :wink:
U.S. a police state? Sorry, I don’t agree in the least. East Germany was a police state, the Soviet Union was a police state, North Korea is a police state, etc. The U.S.??? No.
I don’t agree with the Patriot Act and all that “war on terror” nonsense, but it’s a far cry from an actual police state. This is a little paranoid I think. If you ever lived in a police state you know the difference.
Good thing you all guard against that, but calling the U.S. what it might be one day only has this shit roll around faster. For now, we’re pretty good. Let’s keep it that way.
Peace.
Michelle

I wonder how much effect the recent requirements that are being instituted more and more generally that all officers will have to wear small video recorder/transmitters will have on their behavior.
I also wonder whether the ratio of infractions against the citizenry now versus the police infractions in the past is increasing or decreasing?
Occam

Some information on the NSA domestic spying program started under Bush.
https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/how-it-works

Details of Every American’s Call History First, the government convinced the major telecommunications companies in the US, including AT&T, MCI, and Sprint, to hand over the “call-detail records" of their customers. According to an investigation by USA Today, this included “customers' names, street addresses, and other personal information." In addition, the government received “detailed records of calls they made—across town or across the country—to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others." A person familiar with the matter told USA Today that the agency's goal was "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders. All of this was done without a warrant or any judicial oversight.
Real Time Access to Phone and Internet Traffic Second, the same telecommunications companies also allowed the NSA to install sophisticated communications surveillance equipment in secret rooms at key telecommunications facilities around the country. This equipment gave the NSA unfettered access to large streams of domestic and international communications in real time—what amounted to at least 1.7 billion emails a day, according to the Washington Post. The NSA could then data mine and analyze this traffic for suspicious key words, patterns and connections. Again, all of this was done without a warrant in violation of federal law and the Constitution.
In a declaration in our lawsuit, thirty-year NSA veteran William Binney estimates that “NSA installed no few than ten and possibly in excess of twenty intercept centers within the United States." Binney also estimates NSA has collected “between 15 and 20 trillion" transactions over the past 11 years. In April 2012, long-time national security author James Bamford reported NSA is spending $2 billion to construct a data center in a remote part of Utah to house the information it has been collecting for the past decade. “Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases," Bamford wrote, “will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital ‘pocket litter.’" The Utah data center will be fully operational in September 2013.
http://www.wired.com/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/
Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter." It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness" program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy. But “this is more than just a data center," says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target."
Considering that Americans have already pretty much lost control of their government to powerful private sector interests, it probably doesn't bode well that so much information is being collected on them by that same government.
Hello everyone! ... Was "out" for a while... now I'm back ;) U.S. a police state? Sorry, I don't agree in the least. East Germany was a police state, the Soviet Union was a police state, North Korea is a police state, etc. The U.S.??? No. I don't agree with the Patriot Act and all that "war on terror" nonsense, but it's a far cry from an actual police state. This is a little paranoid I think. If you ever lived in a police state you know the difference. Good thing you all guard against that, but calling the U.S. what it might be one day only has this shit roll around faster. For now, we're pretty good. Let's keep it that way. Peace. Michelle
I'm sure things are fine for people who don't act out in any manner or who attempt to speak truth to power, or who aren't just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but isn't that the whole point. Free speech doesn't mean very much if people are afraid to use it. And if even neglecting to make a full stop at an intersection can get you held against your will and sodomized by police for 14 hours as happened to David Eckert, then how free are we really. It's little better in Canada. There are many videos available online detailing just how hostile and brutal police have become in dealing with the public, which is a hallmark of a state that sees its citizens as the enemy. Warning graphic content. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9oHbDr0QtQ Here a Windsor Ontario police detective beats a blind doctor after which his department attempted to cover it up. This kind of thing is becoming all too common. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ylwPtNFDW0 Edmonton police brutality. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/former-edmonton-cop-derek-huff-blows-whistle-on-brutality-corruption-1.1871353
A former cop with an exemplary record is going public about what he calls corruption in Edmonton police ranks, after he tried internally to expose what he believes is organized brutality, but got no results. "I stood up for what's right, and I just got run out of the police service," said Derek Huff, 37. “I still can’t even really believe it." Huff is a 10-year-veteran who resigned in February, three years after he said he and his partner watched — stunned — as three plainclothes officers viciously beat a handcuffed man while he was down. “They basically had their knees on his back and were just punching and kicking him just as hard as they could …six fists just pummelling this guy … I could hear him screaming," said Huff.
This is what happened after Edmonton police witnessed two guy miss a trash can one was trying to throw a piece of pizza into. More violent content. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZDgD8HLCbE I think people who think they're safe from police either in Canada or the US are naive.

I think the David Eckert case is very revealing about the attitude of far too many people in a position of authority now. Someone at some point should have asked if what was being done was at all ethical or morale let alone legal. The fact that the police forces involved settled so quickly indicates just how little grounds they had to take the actions they did.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/n-m-man-settles-1-6-million-anally-probed-8-times-routine-traffic-stop-article-1.1582589

A New Mexico man was awarded $1.6 million after an overdose of anal probes. David Eckert sued Hidalgo County and the city of Deming saying cops ordered eight different anal probes during a nightmare traffic stop last year.
But Eckert filed a lawsuit in November and in just a month, both the city and county, in southern New Mexico, were ready to settle.
I'm not sure why the clinic involved thinks that Eckert owed them anything, but they gave him the bill for his ordeal.
To add insult to injury, the medical facility had the gall to charge Eckert for the intrusive exams.
The legal battle isn't over yet.
Eckert still has pending suits against a deputy district attorney who signed off on the intrusive search warrant, the doctors who performed the search and the Gila Regional Medical Center, the facility that hosted the exams. Eckert was kept against his will for 14 hours as police and the doctors forced him to undergo the painful and embarrassing, treatments.
But what happen when the courts become stop being responsible?

double post deleted

In a true police state, this forum could not exist.

In a true police state, this forum could not exist.
It's not necessary to eliminate all forms of expression, just effective action.

Eliminating free expression is the most important method a police state can use to control the population. Ideas are far more powerful and dangerous to totalitarian rule than any police action. Expression is the seed that produces action against the state. I think you misunderstand what a police state actually is. It is not simply increased powers for the police, it also needs to control thought to some degree to be effective. You can not control thought “and” allow free speech. Have you read 1984 by Orwell?