U.S. Army Admits Troops Conducting Law Enforcement Is Illegal
As military vehicles roll down streets and highways in St. Louis, Missouri amidst rising concerns about martial law, the U.S. Army has admitted that having troops conduct law enforcement duties is illegal in the United States.
Residents in St Louis were shocked last week to see heavily armored U.S. Army vehicles patrolling neighborhoods, part of an exercise that runs until Friday. However, the local media responded by featuring ‘vox pops’ interviews with people who supported the use of the military in order to “cut down on crime,” despite the fact that using the Army for domestic law enforcement is forbidden under the Posse Comitatus Act.
Advocating that America ape foreign countries where troops patrol the streets, one resident told Fox 2, “I think it’s the same way when you go to other countries…they don’t have police officers they have troops, and I think it kind of scares a lot of people…it might cut down on a whole lot of crime because they don’t know if they’re military or the police.”
“I think it’s fantastic because it might slow down some of the crime rate,” added another.
In a separate KSDK report, although acknowledging that some had expressed fears about martial law, the news channel emphasized how other residents had vowed to “stop and salute” the tanks as they rolled by.
However, in a KPLR St. Louis report, Capt. William Geddes of the U.S. Army Reserve is quoted as saying it’s, “Actually against federal law for them to do police patrols.”
Perhaps someone should remind Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Raymond T. Odierno that it is illegal for troops to conduct law enforcement domestically.
In a recent Foreign Affairs piece, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, Odierno suggested that the army be “transitioned” into a more “flexible force” by deploying in situations normally reserved for domestic law enforcement officials.
Indeed, the Army and other branches of the military have already been deployed domestically for precisely that purpose on innumerable occasions.
Military Police were tasked with conducting crowd control at the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Photographs showed MPs detaining a man who had run onto the track.
In March of the same year, U.S. Army troops were dispatched to patrol the streets of Samson, Alabama, after a murder spree.
In December 2008, the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center dispatched troops to work with police on checkpoints in San Bernardino County, California.
In April 2009, we reported on the deployment of 400 National Guard Combat Support Battalion troops to “maintain public order” at the Boston Marathon.
In the same month we highlighted how uniformed soldiers were involved in handling a car wreck in El Paso, Texas, during which a local ABC news reporter and his cameraman were arrested simply for something they routinely do every day as part of their job – filming traffic incidents.
These are just a handful of the incidents we have documented over the last few years where the military has been illegally involved in domestic law enforcement.
Back in 2008 the Washington Post reported how 20,000 U.S. troops returning from Iraq would be stationed inside America under Northcom for purposes of “domestic security” from September 2011 onwards.
Northcom officials were forced to subsequently issue a denial after the Army Times initially reported that the troops would be used to deal “with civil unrest and crowd control.”
If troops conducting law enforcement duties is completely illegal, as Capt. William Geddes confirms, they why is it happening on a routine basis across the country?