Demilitarization and State Rights

“We need the Justice Department to step in and take over policing in this country. In the 20th century, they had to fight states’ rights in, to get the right to vote,” Al Sharpton recently said “We’re going to have to fight states’ rights in terms of closing down police cases.”

This isn’t the first time Sharpton has called for sidestepping of the 10th Amendment.

“States rights has (sic) always been the enemy of civil rights. The idea of the civil rights movement was for the federal government to protect citizens, not leave them alone,” Sharpton said in 2011 during the NAACP State Convention.

The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution delegate’s authority to the people: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Calls for a federal takeover align with earlier comments made by Barack Obama when he was originally running for president in 2008.

“We have got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, and just as well-funded.”

Shortly after Sharpton’s call for a nationalized police force, Obama has decided to end the federal transfers of some combat-style gear to local law enforcement.

“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said. “It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message.”

This comes after the White House defended the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, in December 2014, which distributed $18 billion worth of military equipment to local police in the past five-years. The program’s authorized by Congress each year.

The Obama administration has continued a move began during the Clinton era to federalize state and local police. Earlier this year Obama introduced a “Task Force on 21st Century Policing” that developed a report that imposes federal standards and state and local police.

Among the report’s recommendations is a call for more police officers, training “on the importance of de-escalation of force,” and “positive non-enforcement activities” to promote police trust like Camden, New Jersey did — “sending an ice cream truck across the city for Mother’s Day treats.”

Meanwhile Operation Jade Helm continues in nine U.S. states through mid-September.

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