Former Seattle Police Chief: Ferguson Military Gear An ‘Act of Provocation’
“We have police taking a military response… and making matters much worse”
August 14, 2014
A former Seattle police chief is calling the Ferguson Police Department’s use of military equipment against protesters an “act of provocation.”
In an interview with Vox, Norman Stamper, a 34 year law enforcement veteran who oversaw the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, said Ferguson police are not utilizing much needed defusing techniques.
“If they’re out there in military gear from the beginning that’s an act of provocation,” Stamper said. “We just simply need to use defusing techniques.”
Stamper said that his heavy handed response to the WTO riots in Seattle was a major mistake, one he sees Ferguson police currently repeating.
“What happened in Seattle in 1999 was a police overreaction, which I presided over. It was the worst mistake of my career,” Stamper said. “We used chemical agents, a euphemism for tear gas, against nonviolent and essentially nonthreatening protesters.”
“The natural consequence of which are that we were the catalyst for heightened tension and conflict rather than peacekeepers, or for that matter even peacemakers. It’s a lesson, unfortunately, that American law enforcement in general has not learned.”