Is the Issue of Police Militarization a Distraction from Understanding Ferguson?
LEAP executive director Neill Franklin and Rev. Heber Brown III discuss how issues such as the war on drugs and poverty remain moot in the mainstream media coverage of Ferguson, Missouri – August 16, 14
Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a 33-year police veteran who led multi-jurisdictional anti-narcotics task forces for the Maryland State Police and ran training for the Baltimore Police Department. After seeing several of his law enforcement friends killed in the line of fire while enforcing drug policies, Neill knew that he needed to work to change these laws that cause so much harm but do nothing to reduce drug use.
Reverend Dr. Heber Brown, III is a clergy-activist and pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. In the next chapter of the Ferguson protests, police have named Officer Davis [Darren] Wilson as the officer that killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. And now police authorities are claiming that Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery of a box of cigars. These series of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, is bringing widespread criticism to the nation’s increasingly militarized police departments and evoking images of civil rights battles of the past. And even politicians like Senator Rand Paul are calling for the demilitarization of police forces. And House Democrat Hank Johnson from Georgia has announced plans to draft a bill that would do just that for local Police …