http://www.revealnews.org/article-legacy/us-police-get-antiterror-training-in-israel-on-privately-funded-trips/US police get antiterror training in Israel on privately funded trips
"The clouds of tear gas, flurries of projectiles and images of police officers outfitted in military-grade hardware in Ferguson, Missouri, have reignited concerns about the militarization of domestic law enforcement in the United States.
But there has been another, little-discussed change in the training of American police since the 9/11 attacks: At least 300 high-ranking sheriffs and police from agencies large and small – from New York and Maine to Orange County and Oakland, California – have traveled to Israel for privately funded seminars in what is described as counterterrorism techniques.
For some, dispatching American police to train in a foreign country battered by decades of war, terror attacks and strife highlights how dramatically U.S. law enforcement has changed in the 13 years since al-Qaida airplane hijackers crashed into New York’s World Trade Center. In many places, the image of the friendly cop on the beat has been replaced by intimidating, fully armed military-style troops. And Israel has played part in that transition.
As these trips to Israel became more commonplace, the militarization of U.S. law enforcement also was driven by the creation of various homeland security initiatives and billions of dollars of surplus military-grade equipment donated to local departments through the 1033 program after 9/11.
Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, described the tactics he sees American police use today as “a near replica” of their Israeli counterparts.
“Whether it is in Ferguson or L.A., we see a similar response all the time in the form of a disproportionate number of combat-ready police with military gear who are ready to use tear gas at short notice,” Syed said. “Whenever you find 50 people at a demonstration, there is always a SWAT team in sight or right around the corner.”..."
And then there's civil forfeiture law in several states...notably in Florida and Texas, where the "war on drugs" and now the "war on terror" allow police to seize property without charging anyone and keep 100% of the proceeds.
Florida Senator Jeff Brandes has filed a bill to amend civil forfeiture law in Florida
"Six weeks after he said he was considering filing such legislation, St. Petersburg Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes on Thursday filed a bill that prohibits law enforcement agencies from retaining property and assets seized from individuals who are not convicted of a crime.
Civil forfeiture is a controversial legal process that allows police to take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging them with wrongdoing.
The legislation amends the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act to prevent law enforcement from supplementing their budgets through assets seized in civil forfeiture proceedings. Under the proposal, property such as vehicles cannot be retained by a law enforcement agency and any assets that are legally seized from an individual under the Contraband Forfeiture Act must be split equally among local charities and the State of Florida Crime Victims Compensation Trust Fund.
“This legislation recognizes the inherent deficiencies in the current civil asset forfeiture law of Florida and seeks to remove potential conflicts,” Brandes said in a prepared statement. “There is a growing concern nationally about civil asset forfeiture and Florida should be a leader in reform on this issue.”
Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing, prompting Attorney General Eric Holder to announce last month that he was barring local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars, and other property without warrants or criminal charges. The Washington Post called it the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs. Howevr, it did nothing to address the issue inside the states..."