Tags: MidPoint | John Whitehead | Battlefield America | police | shootings

'Battlefield America' Author: 'Paranoid' Feds, Local Cops at War with People

By    |   Tuesday, 14 April 2015 04:01 PM

Violent crime and fatal shootings of police officers are at longtime lows in the United States, yet cops are killing unarmed people in alarming numbers nationwide and becoming the occupying domestic army the nation's founders feared, says a constitutional lawyer who sees America at war with itself.

"In Florida, a fellow was pulled over a few days ago by a policeman in an armored vehicle," John W. Whitehead, author of "Battlefield America: The War on the American People", told  "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

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In a traffic stop on Saturday caught on videotape, Whitehead said Alachua County, Florida sheriff's deputies emerged from an armored personnel carrier in camouflage, and with one carrying an assault rifle.

"That's the environment we're going to see in America, and it's coming soon, folks," said Whitehead, founder and president of the Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil liberties and human rights think tank. "I'm just trying to warn people."

Whitehead's book, released on Tuesday, arrives at a moment of heightened national anxiety over policing fueled by several recent deadly encounters  between cops and unarmed civilians. On "MidPoint," he said the fear is justified and backed by numbers.

Whitehead said that founders including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson "warned against having a standing army on American soil." But a de-facto domestic military comprised of police departments equipped by Washington is becoming the norm after 9/11, he said.

"What I'm seeing today — and I know this for a fact, as I've studied this stuff for many years — is the fact that we really don't have local police any more," he said. "Most of the police are connected to the Department of Homeland Security. They're federalized police, and the FBI."

This despite studies showing "you're eight times more likely to get shot as an unarmed citizen by a policeman than killed by a terrorist," said Whitehead, adding that the U.S. is far ahead of other industrialized nations in the number of unarmed people shot and killed by police.

He said the armed-forces approach to policing is evident in the 80,000 SWAT team raids that occur in the United States.

Police training is also more militarized, he said.

"I work with policemen who work in the police academies: They're really upset because they say the policemen are being trained like military units," said Whitehead. "SWAT teams are being trained by the military."

He said police departments increasingly view the people they protect as a separate class of "civilians."

"We're not civilians, we're citizens," said Rutherford. "And so are they."

It will take citizens, acting through their local governments, to remake policing, he said.

"Here's the key," he said. "Get down to your local city council. Get your tickets signed. When you see SWAT team raids or when people get killed, or [police] shooting dogs, put an end to that. You can do that, but you have to get involved with your local government."

"When you see kids handcuffed in public schools, get down to your school board and change that rule, folks," he said. "You can do it. The Constitution begins with 'We the people.' "

"How you keep people safe is by having good local police departments like I had when I was a young man," he said. "My next door neighbor was the chief of police. He didn't carry a weapon. One day I asked him why and he said because he didn't want to shoot anybody."

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Cops are killing unarmed people in alarming numbers nationwide and becoming the occupying domestic army the nation's founders feared, says a constitutional lawyer who sees America at war with itself.
John Whitehead, Battlefield America, police, shootings
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 04:01 PM
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