Peace and Justice Group to discuss militarization of police
BELFAST — On Wednesday, March 20, the Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County Film Forum will be showing Do Not Resist, a documentary film which examines the militarization of America's local police forces.
The film will start at 6 p.m., in the Abbott Room, Belfast Free Library located at Miller and High Streets in Belfast.
According to Pentagon information, during the Obama Administration police departments throughout the U.S. received transfers of unneeded military equipment. This transfer is still going on, according to Peace and Justice Group, in a news release.
While the Pentagon does not push this equipment into local law enforcement departments, such equipment is given free upon request from municipal police departments. They have received thousands of machine guns, ammunition magazines – some that carry 100 rounds of M-16 ammunition allowing officers to fire continuously for three times longer than normal – camouflage material, night-vision equipment, gun silencers, armored vehicles with mounted .50 caliber guns and aircraft.
As the presence and use of this military equipment increases in local police departments, citizens are starting to debate whether the line between soldiers and police officers is becoming less and less visible. These everywhere-seen military items in use by local police have changed the way police officers look as well as how law enforcement departments see themselves.
As a police recruiting tool, videos show clips of police officers storming into homes with smoke and flash grenades, shooting with automatic weapons and creeping through fields in camouflage outfits.
This 72-minute film explores where controversial new technologies, including predictive policing algorithms, could lead to next in the field of policing in American towns and cities. In some communities the growing debate has divided the population.
“The topic of this documentary is timely and in great need of public discussion,” said Peace and Justice Group, in the release.