While many people in Detroit are struggling with poverty, unemployment, and a water crisis, the Detroit Police spent almost $1 million dollars on a new toy for the S.W.A.T team. This is the same S.W.A.T team that Officer Joseph Weekly was a member of when he killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in 2010 and was reinstated after a Wayne County judge dismissed charges against the killer cop.
Now comes news that Weekly and his pals will have a new toy to ram into the front of homes instead of just blindly lobbing flash-bang grenades into homes before running in to shoot unsuspecting occupants. The next Aiyana Stanley-Jones may not get set on fire while sleeping on a couch but run over by the “BEAR”.
“When we have officer or citizens pinned down, The Bear provides that adequate coverage because of its height,” explained Detroit Police Commander Elvin Barren. “The technology that’s on The Bear — we have cameras on there, we have a ram that can breach down doors and fences.”
The $700,000.00 dollars used to purchase the “The Bear” was not from a federal grant as Congress has come under fire for the Pentagon program that provides surplus military grade equipment to police departments but the money came courtesy of the legal robberies police are permitted to conduct under nationwide civil asset forfeiture laws that allow police to seize property and cash linked to a suspected crime even if criminal charges are never filed. This amounts to billions of dollars in illicit proceeds for police departments across the USA.
In one reported story,
“Detroit police raided the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, seizing the cars of 44 patrons who had attended a dance party because organizers had served alcohol without a liquor license.
Michigan police agencies reported $24.3 million in civil asset forfeitures in 2013, according to the Michigan State Police, but those figures only include drug-specific cases, and eight percent of agencies never filed a report.”
It is legalized robbery of citizens that is often overlooked as people discuss criminal justice reform and not only are people suffering from police aggression and brutality but are being forced to fund the tools of that oppression.