US policing: Institutionalising brutality? Anaheim protests
In the wake of the killing of an unarmed man in California, we ask if US policing is becoming increasingly militarised.
Inside Story Americas Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 14:32
|Extreme police tactics are not a new phenomenon in the US. But in the age of social media, police violence, such as the shooting of unarmed people and the use of pepper spray and taser guns, are being documented for the world to see.
Occupy protesters throughout the country felt the full force of police tactics – many were subject to violent arrest.
Perhaps the most controversial example was at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) where peaceful protesters were pepper sprayed last November.
It is more than 20 years since a recording of police violence sparked riots in Los Angeles. The beating of Rodney King was caught on video and the footage shocked the world.
But two decades later how much has changed?
Police said he and another young man shot dead the following day were both gang members. But local residents say the Latino men were victims of racial profiling and an overly aggressive police force.
The protesters reacted by throwing rocks and bottles at the police and setting fire to bins. Hundreds of police in riot gear responded by firing non-lethal rounds at the crowd. At least six people were injured and police made two dozen arrests.
So is policing in the US becoming increasingly militarised?
To discuss this, Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, is joined by guests: Jumana Musa, a human rights lawyer who is deputy director of the Rights Working Group; Gustavo Arellano, the editor of the OC Weekly, a newspaper that has been covering the shootings; and Raymond Lewis, a retired Philadelphia police captain who was arrested by New York police while taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protests last year.