The killing of Michael Brown in Missouri last weekend prompted this Chicago protest against police violence. (Mikasi)
Since the killing of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police in Missouri last weekend, the people of Ferguson have been subjected to a military-style crackdown by a squadron of local police departments dressed like combat soldiers. This has prompted residents to liken the conditions on the ground in Ferguson to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.
And who can blame them?
The dystopian scenes of paramilitary units in camouflage rampaging through the streets of Ferguson, pointing assault rifles at unarmed residents and launching tear gas into people’s front yards from behind armored personnel carriers (APCs), could easily be mistaken for a Tuesday afternoon in the occupied West Bank.
And it’s no coincidence.
At least two of the four law enforcement agencies that were deployed in Ferguson up until Thursday evening — the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Police Department — received training from Israeli security forces in recent years.
They know perhaps better than anyone how to handle what is looking very much like a military occupation.
The police force has been trained in Israel for well over a decade. I believe it has been done to make them more violent.