90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Militarization Of America’s Local Police Forces

“War zones” in America.  Local police departments with military grade equipment – how much is too much, and what it would take to de-militarize America’s police force.

Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard is in Ferguson, Missouri now.  That story just keep roiling.  Issue after issue being lit up in flares and protests.  Looming out of the clouds of teargas.  And one of the first was this:  in 2014 America, the police bring a stunningly military profile to the streets long before the National Guard shows up.  A torrent of armor and heavy equipment brought home from war, now ready for fast deployment in American towns.  It is shocking.  This hour On Point:  The latest from Ferguson, plus the militarization of American policing and how to turn it around.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Antonio French, Democratic Alderman for St. Louis, Missouri’s 21st Ward. (@AntonioFrench)

Radley Balko, criminal justice and civil liberties blogger at the Washington Post’s The Watch. Author of “The Rise of the Warrior Cop” and “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.” (@radleybalko)

Kara Dansky, senior counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Center for Justice. (@kdansky)

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), U.S. Representative for Georgia’s Fourth District. (@RepHankJohnson)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: After Ferguson, how should police respond to protests? — “The police in Ferguson are almost a textbook example of how not to react to protest. ‘When you start by rolling out the the SWAT team, and you then position a sniper on top of an APC with his gun pointed at the protesters, what kind of message are you sending? Did they really expect the sniper would need to start shooting people? It was just a show of force.'”

Popular Mechanics: SWAT Overkill: The Danger of a Paramilitary Police Force — “The trend toward militarizing police began in the ’60s and ’70s when standoffs with the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the University of Texas bell tower gunman Charles Whitman convinced many police departments that they needed more than .38 specials to deal with unusual, high-intensity threats. In 1965 Los Angeles inspector Daryl Gates, who later became police chief, signed off on the formation of a specially trained and equipped unit that he wanted to call the Special Weapons Attack Team. (The name was changed to the more palatable Special Weapons and Tactics). SWAT programs soon expanded beyond big cities with gang problems. “

USA Today: Small town America shouldn’t resemble war zone – “Something potentially sinister is happening across America, and we should stop and take notice before it changes the character of our country forever. County, city and small-town police departments across the country are now acquiring free military-grade weapons that could possibly be used against the very citizens and taxpayers that not only fund their departments but who the police are charged with protecting.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 27, 2015
Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Thursday, March 26, 2015. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP)

The co-pilot and the plane in the Alps? Ted Cruz announces 2016 bid. Heinz buys Kraft. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Mar 27, 2015
Members of  a November Project 'tribe' pause during a November 2014 workout. (Brogan Graham / Instagram)

Spring training. From easy-access yoga to outdoor exercise meet-ups, exercise plans you’ll want to do.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 26, 2015
A child walks through a forest landscape. (Rudolf Vlček / Flickr)

American kids today spend only four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors. We hear a new call to raise the “wild child.”

 
Mar 26, 2015
In this file photo, protesters sit at the intersection of Wall St. and Broad St. in New York, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. The protesters, many who were affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, were trying to draw attention to the connection between capitalism and environmental destruction. (AP)

In our age of hyper-inequality, historian Steve Fraser asks when the little guy stands up and says “enough.” He’s with us.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: March 27, 2015
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

More on the incessant email debate, plus some goats living their best lives and the sad allure of Manhattan’s shuttered Pommes Frites.

More »
Comment
 
Mobile Payments Offer Convenience If You Keep Your Email Safe
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Thinking about moving your wallet to your phone? You can! And maybe you should? But TechCrunch senior writer Josh Constine has a few things to tell you before you do.

More »
1 Comment
 
Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

More »
Comment