Civil Liberties

VID: Ferguson Police Chief Issues Apology, But Police Militarization Will Continue to Be a Thing


Nearly six weeks after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson issued a videotaped mea culpa on Thursday to the teenager's family. He also apologized to the "peaceful protestors" that gathered in Ferguson after the shooting for not doing enough to protect their right to peacefully gather and protest. 

Jackson's statement was released on Vimeo through the Devin James Group—the crisis communications firm hired by the City of Ferguson to clean up the PR nightmare that resulted from images like this:

Though it seems Jackson and the Ferguson police are making the first steps in cleaning up the city's image, the issue of police militarization will continue to be debated. Recently, Reason TV sat down with former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik to talk about the riots and how police departments were able to gain access to military-grade equipment. 

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Original release date was August 20, 2014 and the original writeup is below the fold. 

"Any time a police department can get [military] equipment for the department, they're going to try and do that," says Bernard Kerik, the former New York Police Department Commissioner and one-time nominee to be secretary of Homeland Security.

Speaking about events in Ferguson, Missouri and the general militarization of police over the past several decades, he continues: "When you create this militarization of all these smaller agencies and they don't have the ability to communicate with each other, that's going to create a problem."

In 2009, Kerik pled guilty to making false tax statements and eventually served time in federal prison. Released in 2013, Kerik now runs a crisis-management consulting group and advocates for criminal justice reform. 

He recently sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to discuss the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, the militarization of police, the effect of the drug war on law enforcement, and what it's like to be prosecuted in today's America.

"Every high school student in America, before they graduate high school," says Kerik, "should be forced to read [Reason Contributor Harvey] Silverglate's book [Three Felonies a Day]. No one in America knows that if you give me a stack of subpoenas and give me the power to scrutinize you like they did me, I promise you that you're going to prison."

About 25 minutes. Edited by Amanda Winkler. Shot by Joshua Swain and Todd Krainin. 

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