[Note: This item comes from friend David Rosenthal. DLH]
Quantifying the additional killings commited by cops when they get military weapons
By Cory Doctorow
Jul 1 2017
The US Department of Defense’s 1033 program sends “surplus” military equipment to US police forces (“surplus” in quotes because military contractors lobby for the US military to buy more weapons than they need in order to feed materiel to the program), which has created a situation in which cops show up in their communities literally clad in the armor of an occupying army.
This is reflected in many ways, such as the use of “civilian” to denote someone who isn’t a police officer. Police are also civilians, which is why the military police are called “Military Police” — to contrast them with “civilian police.” If your police force considers you a “civilian” then they, perforce, consider themselves to be military occupiers, not community peace officers.
A academic trio consisting of a political scientist, a psychologist, and a social scientist examined the use of force records from similar police forces with differing levels of military equipment and training transfers under 1033 to determine whether militarizing the police results in increased use of force by the officers.
Conclusion: “We find a positive and statistically significant relationship between 1033 transfers and fatalities from officer-involved shootings across all models.”
Moreover, they used clever methods to determine that the causal arrow runs in the direction they hypothesized, showing that it wasn’t that cops in violent communities got more military stuff and were thus involved in more violence — rather, getting military goods made the cops more violent.