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Missouri National Guard sent to Ferguson amid unrest over teen's shooting

CougarKing

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While I realize there's already another thread about the recent protests and riots over the shooting of that local teen, isn't this already technically a military matter now that the Missouri National Guard has been called up?

CBC

Missouri sends National Guard to protesting suburb

FERGUSON, Mo. - Missouri's governor on Monday ordered the National Guard to a St. Louis suburb convulsed by protests over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen, after a night in which police used tear gas to clear protesters off the streets well ahead of a curfew.

Gov. Jay Nixon said the National Guard would help restore order to Ferguson, where protests over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer entered their second week. Police said they acted in response to gunfire, looting, vandalism and protesters who hurled Molotov cocktails.

The latest confrontations in Ferguson came on the same day that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown, and as a preliminary private autopsy reported by The New York Times found that Brown was shot at least six times,

(...EDITED)
 

tomahawk6

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The addition of Guard troops will give the police additional manpower to confront the protests.
 

The Bread Guy

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tomahawk6 said:
The addition of Guard troops will give the police additional manpower to confront the protests.
I'd appreciate your U.S. eyes on this - how does this jibe with laws barring troops from enforcing state laws?  Or is the law about "federal" troops, while NG are "state" troops?
 

Dkeh

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Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the point of the national guard was to assist the police with policing matters when they get out of hand?
 

tomahawk6

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The National Guard swear 2 oaths of allegiance one to their State/Governor and the other to the Constitution/President.The Governor is well within the law to employ the Guard to assist law enforcement to restore order.Federal troops are barred from enforcing State law except under the Insurrection Act.Look at the LA riots.Federal troops were used in New Orleans in addition to the LA National Guard.
 

cupper

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A good discussion of the misunderstanding of the Posse Comitatus Act can be found here:

http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/docs/10-16/ch_12.asp

Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
-Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1385

The Effect of the Posse Comitatus Act
Before speculating on why this act is so misunderstood, it is useful to spell out exactly what the act as it is written does and does not do. The Posse Comitatus Act:

Applies only to the Army, and by extension the Air Force, which was formed out of the Army in 1947.

Does not apply to the Navy and Marine Corps. However, the Department of Defense has consistently held that the Navy and Marine Corps should behave as if the act applied to them.

Does not apply to the Coast Guard, which is part of the Department of Transportation and is both an armed force and a law enforcement agency with police powers.

Does not apply to the National Guard in its role as state troops on state active duty under the command of the respective governors.

May not apply to the National Guard (qua militia) even when it is called to federal active duty. The Posse Comitatus Act contains no restrictions on the use of the federalized militia as it did on the regular Army. It is commonly believed, however, that National Guard units and personnel come under the Posse Comitatus Act when they are on federal active duty, and this interpretation is followed today.

Does not apply to state guards or State Defense Forces under the command of the respective governors.

Does not apply to military personnel assigned to military police, shore police, or security police duties. The military police have jurisdiction over military members subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They also exercise police powers over military dependents and others on military installations. The history of the law makes it clear that it was not intended to prevent federal police (for example, marshals) from enforcing the law.

Does not apply to civilian employees, including those who are sworn law enforcement officers. The origin and legislative history of the act make it clear that it applies only to military personnel. In those days, there were no civilian employees of the Army in the sense that there are today. In particular, no one envisioned that the Army would hire civilian police officers to enforce the laws at its facilities.

Does not prevent the President from using federal troops in riots or civil disorders. Federal troops were used for domestic operations more than 200 times in the two centuries from 1795 to 1995. Most of these operations were to enforce the law, and many of them were to enforce state law rather than federal law. Nor does it prevent the military services from supporting local or federal law enforcement officials as long as the troops are not used to arrest citizens or investigate crimes.
 

a_majoor

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Dkeh said:
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the point of the national guard was to assist the police with policing matters when they get out of hand?

Going all the way back, the National Guard and many of the other State troops are there because the United States consists of sovereign States which have banded together to coordinate things like defense, foreign policy and trade. Up until the Civil war, the proper way of referring to the nation was "These United States". Each Governor is therefore in charge of their own military force for the defense of their State, and as noted, assisting the police may be part of their remit. (If you look at American history, you also see that a national Army and even the Navy were generally afterthoughts starved of men and equipment by the Congress for much of the life of the Republic. A large standing army in peacetime is an artifact of the Cold War).

The Posse Comitatus Act is also a reaction to American history; British troops were used to enforce unpopular laws and regulations prior to the Revolution, and none of the Founders were keen to allow any future Federal government the ability to impose on the States or the people in that manner.

WRT Ferguson, the situation is very complex, and using National Guard troops is more a way of creating a firewall around the place rather than addressing the issues which led up to the shooting. A heavily militarized response (including the militarized police force of Ferguson itself) can only keep the lid on for so long. It may seem counter intuitive, but a Civil Affairs (CA) unit might have been a better choice for a response, finding ways to "vent" the pressures within.
 

chrisf

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It's not the massive troop deployment some media outlets are making it out to be, it's about a company of meat-heads, presumably going to be used to give some of the local police a bit of relief rather than a surge of manpower.

Good luck to them, hopefully they (and the local police) come out ok.
 

cupper

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Thucydides said:
The Posse Comitatus Act is also a reaction to American history; British troops were used to enforce unpopular laws and regulations prior to the Revolution, and none of the Founders were keen to allow any future Federal government the ability to impose on the States or the people in that manner.

Actually, the article I referenced points out that the original intent of the Posse Comitatus Doctrine was to allow for federal forces to provide policing in areas where there was no other law enforcement available, in particular to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. After the Civil War the Army was used to essentially fill in for the former states governments during Reconstruction of the South.

However, Congress felt that US Marshals and local Sheriffs calling upon the Army to assist in law enforcement was becoming excessive. So they passed the Posse Comitatus Act to restrict the use of the Army in such actions, essentially turning the concept of Posse Comitatus on it's head.
 

Dkeh

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Thucydides said:
Going all the way back, the National Guard and many of the other State troops are there because the United States consists of sovereign States which have banded together to coordinate things like defense, foreign policy and trade. Up until the Civil war, the proper way of referring to the nation was "These United States". Each Governor is therefore in charge of their own military force for the defense of their State, and as noted, assisting the police may be part of their remit. (If you look at American history, you also see that a national Army and even the Navy were generally afterthoughts starved of men and equipment by the Congress for much of the life of the Republic. A large standing army in peacetime is an artifact of the Cold War).

The Posse Comitatus Act is also a reaction to American history; British troops were used to enforce unpopular laws and regulations prior to the Revolution, and none of the Founders were keen to allow any future Federal government the ability to impose on the States or the people in that manner.

WRT Ferguson, the situation is very complex, and using National Guard troops is more a way of creating a firewall around the place rather than addressing the issues which led up to the shooting. A heavily militarized response (including the militarized police force of Ferguson itself) can only keep the lid on for so long. It may seem counter intuitive, but a Civil Affairs (CA) unit might have been a better choice for a response, finding ways to "vent" the pressures within.

Cheers, thanks for that!

It would seem to me (and my limited world knowledge) that a version of "police CIMIC" is needed. Someone to sit with the protesters, ask then straight up what they want, and attempt to close the (obviously) widening gap between LEOs and the civilian population.
 

tomahawk6

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The problem in Ferguson is that we have radical outside elements such as the Black Panthers and the Communist Party that have infiltrated the protests.
 

Dkeh

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Is there an SOP for dealing with such an occurrence? How would the OPP or RCMP deal with such an event?
 

George Wallace

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Dkeh said:
Is there an SOP for dealing with such an occurrence? How would the OPP or RCMP deal with such an event?

There are SOPs.

How it is handled is always up to the Politicians.  Is there a political will or not?  We can witness the lack of political will in Ontario with implementing a peaceful resolution to an illegal occupation and having the OPP deal with Native protesters. 
 

Lightguns

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Dkeh said:
Is there an SOP for dealing with such an occurrence? How would the OPP or RCMP deal with such an event?

Caledonia - for the OPP.  They know basically nothing.

Rexton  - for the RCMP.  Regular uniforms almost no riot gear but a Spec ops back up.
 

Dkeh

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So what would be the solution? Give the local police enough training to provide a stop-gap without causing further damage until a specially trained federal team can come in to take over? How can the LEOs overcome political waffling and indecision so that they can best serve the general population, while still attempting to fulfill the governments (either provincial / federal) agenda?

It seems like there are too many cogs moving in opposite directions to have a "perfect" solution, and the best course of action is to wait until it all blows over, and that is no solution at all.
 

Container

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Police attempted to have sit downs prior to the olympics- it didnt take. But in general in the U.S. force is ramped up quicker- the idea being that its cheaper to get it over with quickly. There are some fundamental differences in how force is used between the two- it may not seem so to the outside but after enough training with them and it becomes pretty obvious. What else is obvious- their everyday policing reality is different. I cannot speak of the entire Canadian experience with police work. But I have worked the communities with top percentage of violent calls and been involved in pretty much every type of force deployment at one time or another- but I have never felt that I was an occupying force. There are neighbourhoods in the States that have that tone. Is it neccessary? I dont know.

I had an ops course a few years ago where we were discussing incident command. One model discussed was from the LAPD- where when an armed barricaded happened a clock started for the negotiators. At a certain point SWAT acted becaused the incident was costing too much- it was thought this was part of the reason why SWAT there was leading the way in deaths in that profile.

In Canada we will negotiate forever- or so it seems. I am thankful that cost isnt the deciding factor. I would have a hard time putting my uniform on.

I wont discuss how the response for Mounties is formulated. There is a multi level approach.
 

Container

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Dkeh said:
So what would be the solution? Give the local police enough training to provide a stop-gap without causing further damage until a specially trained federal team can come in to take over? How can the LEOs overcome political waffling and indecision so that they can best serve the general population, while still attempting to fulfill the governments (either provincial / federal) agenda?

It seems like there are too many cogs moving in opposite directions to have a "perfect" solution, and the best course of action is to wait until it all blows over, and that is no solution at all.

What you are failing to grasp is that people have the right to demonstrate. The police are there to ensure EVERYONE is safe- if the solution doesnt assist in THAT aim it isnt an option. The "political waffling" is what separates us from "those" other countries.

We need to step in when people start fires and start shooting. Outside of that- let people vent. We need to balance those aims- sometimes we fail.
 

Dkeh

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Container said:
What you are failing to grasp is that people have the right to demonstrate. The police are there to ensure EVERYONE is safe- if the solution doesnt assist in THAT aim it isnt an option. The "political waffling" is what separates us from "those" other countries.

We need to step in when people start fires and start shooting. Outside of that- let people vent. We need to balance those aims- sometimes we fail.

Sorry if I came off in the wrong way! I absolutely believe people have the right to demonstrate! I am wondering at the solution for when people like the Black bloc show up specifically to escalate the situation. How can the police force maintain a safe environment in that case?
 

Container

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Dkeh said:
Sorry if I came off in the wrong way! I absolutely believe people have the right to demonstrate! I am wondering at the solution for when people like the Black bloc show up specifically to escalate the situation. How can the police force maintain a safe environment in that case?

You didnt come off anyway. I must have come off the wrong way.

I am of the opinion that it is the responsibility of the protesters to regulate themselves. If they dictate that behavior is unacceptable and separate themselves from those individuals it would be fine- but they have indicated, most times, they wont- because of "solidarity". Until such time as they do....itll always be a gong show.
 

GAP

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Container said:
I am of the opinion that it is the responsibility of the protesters to regulate themselves. If they dictate that behavior is unacceptable and separate themselves from those individuals it would be fine- but they have indicated, most times, they wont- because of "solidarity". Until such time as they do....it ll always be a gong show.

What has not made the headlines is that a good part of the demonstrators are doing exactly what you suggest....they have guarded businesses, chastised the unruly, etc....all the things you mentioned.

The MSM is focused on the violence, the charged atmosphere, almost driving the issue to higher and higher escalation...
 
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