The militarization of the police in Ferguson, Missouri, has contributed, some say, to an inappropriate use of force against peaceful protestors. How did the police acquire all that military gear?
Some of the military equipment used by police came from the Department of Defense's 1033 program, which provides law enforcement with used military equipment. The program initially began in 1990 and was intended for use in the war on drugs.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, local law enforcement authorities began applying for and receiving grants to purchase military hardware that was ostensibly to be used to fight terrorists. According to The Wall Street Journal, those grants have been worth $35 billion in total, $500 million in 2011 alone, with most of that money going to purchase military gear. more >>
Police in Ferguson, MO arrested two journalists for covering the protests over their fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager six. Officers shoved Wesley Lowery, of The Washington Post, into a soda machine for taping them, before he was cuffed in plastic binds. A Ferguson officer rammed Ryan Grim's head against glass. The reporter for The Huffington Post wasn't packing up his reporting gear quickly enough. Both journalists' respective papers released statements condemning the Ferguson police, but the decline of free press reaches further than one town in Missouri.
Unfortunately state suppression of the press is hardly isolated to Ferguson. The problem goes all the way up to the White House, where the Obama Administration is preventing journalists from accurately reporting on policy.
According to The Society of Professional Journalists, the Obama Administration has engaged in "excessive message management and preventing journalists from getting information on behalf of citizens." The grievances were also supported by 37 other journalism and open government groups. The report details the use of "Public Information Officers," whose roles are to filter reports before they're available for mass consumption. Stories coming from the White House are trimmed and primed to perfection before the public can even get access to the latest information. more >>
A few days ago, I attended The Family Leadership Summit 2014 in Iowa. The privilege of addressing the crowd, and signing my newest book King Rules was superseded by the awesome honor of being among genuine Christians who are committed to humbling ourselves in prayer that God will heal our land.
I came away encouraged, bearing Bob Vander Plaats' new book If 7:14. I've been setting my clock at 7:14 (2 Chronicles 7:14) twice daily and crying out to God for our nation, for my family, and for myself. Oh, if only I could have stayed up on that mountaintop, where GOD's mighty presence enveloped us and gave us hope. Yet, like Moses, we must come down again, into a lost and dying world that needs the Light and Love of Christ.
As I left Iowa, I didn't know what was ahead of me. I came home to startling and somewhat saddening reports of the death of yet another young Black male, Michael Brown; Robin "Popeye" Williams death by suicide; and the escalating Iraq crisis. Added to these reports, are some personal "issues" that are requiring a double strong dose of faith and love to overcome in my own life. more >>
Nathaniel Morales, a former youth group leader at the Maryland-based Covenant Life Church and who was convicted in May for sexually abusing three young boys, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. The judge called him a "cowardly pervert" and a "pathetic human being."
Judge Terrance McGann of Montgomery County Circuit Court sentenced Morales, 56, to 40 years in state prison for molesting at least four boys while ministering at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, during the 1980s, WJLA reports.
One of the victims, Jeremy Cook, who is now married and has three children, said sexual abuse was a pattern in Morales' life. He made a public statement Thursday, the day of the sentencing. more >>
Another round of unrest erupted in the Streets of Ferguson, Missouri early Saturday morning as hundreds of angry protesters vented their anger once again at the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old youth in the community last Saturday. Looters also took the opportunity to raid neighborhood businesses as well.
A report from The New York Times said Saturday's eruption was the first major protest to occur since the Missouri State Highway Patrol took over security of the area on Thursday. Law enforcement officials who faced off with the crowd started pulling back after the protesters began dispersing around 4 a.m.
Looters, according to CNN first targeted the Ferguson Market and Liquor Store which is now a part of the case swirling around Michael Brown's death. Brown is alleged to fit the description of a suspect who robbed a $48.99 box of cigars from the convenience store about 10 minutes before a police officer identified as Darren Wilson shot him dead after a controversial struggle according to Fox News. The incident was captured on surveillance video. Authorities also explained at a press conference that Wilson had no knowledge that Brown was a suspect during their encounter. more >>
Eight out of every 10 police officers in the United States are overweight and researchers say they are 25 times more likely to die as a result of weight-related health problems than from an encounter with a criminal, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to a CBS DFW report which highlighted the statistic, the Garland Police Department in Texas is now working on a plan to improve the fitness of police officers in that command in response to the findings.
"I think it's important for all of us to keep the weight down and stay in shape, especially this job. The stress that we incur at this job … this is a great way to relieve the stress and to keep the blood pressure down," Garland Assistant Chief Jeff Bryan told CBS. more >>