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June 06, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-06

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5 tii5
the b

Perspectives: he Friday Night ar
robhery, stage a riot, set up a authorities. IN 1969, in the first month of local police matters 1te):
e arm ,,, sniper situation or "rcIse Mk- After disturhances fstteing Richard Nixtin's prestlency, nli- ing to many specialists in
ing a harricaded gtUnman sit if the 1968 sasstnzition Wit 7 it- ;n ibility req tirement or :aking stitutional law, prohihibed u
By IANDA 1SISIND a house," says SWAT ttot'>r oLuther King, the e'ret ty of thi.s course were :-e d to a- Article IV of the Cnsttic
5:51) P.M. on May 17. 1974, Sergeant Bernie Rima. Ilefense estahlished the ihrec- ists military reserve officisits, Article IV guarantees ed
Ilos Angeles pilicemsan According t Bock, C1S i trate of Civil Distur same Plan enitir law enforcetne it fnfic:,tis, intervention against 'diin
Iin frotit of a .uspected erations are 60 per ciintffen- ning atid Operations tts'er ye- mayors, tire chiefs, and ctil violence" in states -si9 ' i-n
hideout ind tired a tear sire, 40 per cent defnsv '.- - named Directorate of Miliry defense personnel. plication of the legiatur"
grenade. This action, and tense gets the ed;ge, tle explis, Stpportl to direct all Defense Its 1971, the last yeor f <' r governor (when the lcgsa
tattle that follitwed, hrought because SWAT is "tled 'n only Department actisities iii the which figures are a1ivlaile, x25 cannot be convened).'
nal attention to the Los Ihen ither methods tiare faI- domestic front. mlilitory people and it :vilisns As a 1972 Attorney Gene
les Police tieptirtment's ed. Earlier that year, the s : ri y took the course. The Law Fn- report prepared under Ric
T tit - the first police SWAT member,ses- :lin- opened its doors at TIe ilititr forcement Assistance Admittis- Kleindienst notes, the Army
in the country ito employ teers from the LPP;m metro- police school at Fort tGorldon, ration is now exoanding ti e ceptis its role if assiting
ficeilly military isietics and pittitan division, ad tue oper- Gleorgia, for its first "' vii program, and paying per diem lirv enforcement "at'S cc
ing. ate as ordinary police officers Disturbance Orientation Course" and travel expenses for those ance", since "identi'uio ):s
1Ar rsaeal Weatons tnd most of the time. In the aost, for senior officials. The week civilian participitis sho reqoest police activity is not in con
lwan ,%8 when they have been deloyed to ona , sesio incus, dicussion it ance with its mission of nati

' al' S
a ith

the tAPI) re-ilired that "ordin-
ary street piliscmen didn't have
the expertise or achiesement
needed to hanile 'iterrilla
groups," sccordin to S W \ T
Sergeant Rod Bock. The idea
has proved poptilor: a growing
nimber of police departments
across the country have come
to rely on military perspectives
and planning.
The LAPD at first turned to
the U.S. Marines at nearby
Camp Pendleton for advice and
training. With the Marines, they
developed the concept of work-
ing in four to five member
teams, composed of s leader,
marksman, observer, scout and
rear guard. Bock acknaivledges
that this concept cane f r o m
"WE COULDN'T use il of 'he
military tactics they use," Bock
says. "If you're in a war, the
military just destroys the hoase.
We try to capture and appte-
hend rather than slay . . 99
percent of the time no shots are
SWAT teams car' semii-,uto-
matic weapons, hand gn., gas
masks, gas canisters, sm ike de-
vices, roves, pry h-rs, minhole
hooks and walkie talkie radios.
Additional equioment t--ilwis
them in a step van wh "sserves
as a mobile comm.md its'lit: ar-
mored vests steel hel t:; . extra
ammunition, hattering r-tntsand
medi 'it supplies.
Altho>igh most SW ,\ iem-
hers hase salreadvy nis mitlitary
experience,they re-e tint-c
than 1.000 hours 'if tstrsetion
in such s'ibjects as the history
of guerrilla warfare, scouting
andi patrolling, camouflge and
concealment, combat in "b'ilt-
sup areas", chemical agents rnd
first aid.
'THEY ALSO trionsit :he "Gui-
versal Studios oiie set, a iore
urban setting where almost y m
situation can he set tip :md
studied. "We can f-se a bk

rescue hostages, protect visiting
dignitaries - includi ig the Ire-
sident and Vice-president, res-
cue officers under fire or
threatened by harricaded su-
spects, and protect crow icon-
trol officers at demonstrations,
rock festivals or at civil disturb-
ances, particularly when thcrn
was a threat of sniper attack.
MOST LARGE American cit-
ies, as well as the FBI, now
have SWAT-type units or are
developing them. The LAPD
still receives four to five re-
quests a week for officers and
material to train men in o'her
On the federal level, the de-
fense and justice departmeitG'
planning for dealing with civil
disturbances goes back to 1903,
after the voter regis"ration ca ii-
paigns in Mississippi and Ala-
In that year, "the laint Chiefs
xif Staff instructed the U.S..
Strike Command to prepare de-
Sailed plans for the deploy-
sent of civil disturance farc-
es . . . within the con'inemial
United States, ' accordin to the
U.S. Attorney General in his
1972 Annual Report. The Strike
Command's p1an, STUAP IIt I,,
called for the detulivment of tsp
to 21,00 troons.
In 1964, at resi-i-E-t -lohnson s
request, the army 'iegan to e-
nand its program of riot ccn-
trol instruction for senior ariy
officials. the Na-ion f u a t d,
snd civilian auth-wities desigiot-
ed bs' the FBI.
ARMY EFFORTS accele,-- ted
again in 1967, following the riots
in Detroit and disturbances in
150 other cities. The army es-
tablished a task force to study
its role in civil disturban.'as;
snonsored conferences on civil
distitrhances to disctiss l-sison
between ariy, National ttisrd
siid local officials; and estab-
lished a formal nolicy f >r the
loan of its equipment to civilian

of post civil disturbance cper-
ations, manifestations of disn,-nt,
police- press- community rela-
tions, operational techniques, in-
teragency authority and respon-
sibility, use of munitions and
equipment and evalss-ston of
community plans and prepara-

At a similar course, set sip
by the State of Ciiforna at
Camp San Luis Obispo and fsund-
ed by the LEAA, the urricul'm
focuses on problems aid reme-
dies on the state level, before
federal involvement is required.
Such federal involvement in

Linda Siskind /at been a Ba
Area free lance journalist for
/he last year, before which she
awas nris director of Bay Area
Pacifisca radio station KPFA.
(Copyright Pacific News Serv-
ice, 1974.

MAichigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, June 6, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552
Myopia revisite
SOME DAYS IT SEEMS like every chimp with access to
a typewriter is pounding out legible, grammatically
correct copy abost Patricia Hearst, or the Symbionese
Liberation Army, or both. Where is Rose Mary Woods now
that we really need her?
Kidding aside, there are serious questions about the
newspaper heiress who disappeared one night and about
the shadowv organization calling itself the SLA. Unfor-
tunately. most nuroorted answers to these questions are
hedeed about with assumipi ions, myths, and dogma, and
ultimatelvgenerate more questions than they answer.
But almost no one has made a concerted effort to
examine the role of law enforcement groups in the entire
caper. In the articles on this page, attention is devoted
exclusively to the part the army and the police played
In what has come to be known as the Friday evening
war, because we as citizens are responsible for monitor-
ing the behavior of public servants.
As Mario Savio said in his cover letter, "For failure
to arouse the majority of the people to the growing
menace of a police state, we might find that we had lost
what little is left of our civil liberties."

.. and the police
A ROUND MIDNIGHT three nights after t h e
Friday evening shootout between the Sym-
bionese Liberation Army and the Los Angeles
Police Department, as I was about to go to
sleep, two reporters came to my apartment.
The reporters expressed the desire to do some-
thing to help save the life of Patty Hearst. To my
total disbelief, the two reporters actually asked if
I knew Patty Hearst's whereabouts, or if I could
help make contact with her. I was surprised,
and at first I viewed this midnight appeal as
part of some bizarre fantasy.
Once I had overcome my initial disbelief,
however, I began to realize that this seemingly
unbelievable request did not occur within a va-
cuum. This was no isolated incident. Rather, it
was the direct product of the hysterical sensa-
tionalism now .surrounding the entire "saga of
Patty Hearst and the SLA" - an hysteria which
easily could come to be directed at anyone who
has been active in what the police or the press
consider to be "the left."
This wave of hysteria has swept through and
around us all. The most dramatic and horrify-
ing example of just what this hysteria can pro-
duce was seen live on coast-to-coast, prime-time
TV last Friday evening. A tactical police assault
team of over 500 armed personnel employed a
strategy which led to what the police have called
a "war." As "warfare" the police justified the
horrible and excessive tactics of shooting or burn-
ing to death their "enemy."
POLICE AGENCY officials argue that they
had no choice; that they were faced with armed
and dangerous terrorists; that they did in fact
call upon the suspects to surrender; and that
before opening weapons' fire they used tear gas.
It was only after receiving a great blast of gun-
fire, the police tell us, that they returned the
gunfire. In short - as the police tell it - war-
fare was the only realistic or reasonable alterna-
But was this really so - or had the police
determined to stage a latter-day "public hang-
ing?" Had the police decided to execute their
enemies? Was there really no reasonable alterna-
tive to warfare-or had the pjlice consciously de-
termined that they would take no prisoners?
As has been pointed out both by citizens groups
and by area residents, a more humane and prov-
en, practical alternative was in fact available.
The alternative would simply have been to wait
out the suspects - by clearing the area surround-
ing the house, to protect the people of the neigh-
borhood, and, perhaps, by calling in family and
friends of the suspects to plead for their sur-
render. If it took days, or even a week or
more, for that matter, any possbile alternative
would have been preferable to inflicting what
was, in the words of Emily Harris's father, a
"horrible and useless death."
IN THE lurid spectacle of the Friday Evening
War, there seems to be a double message. To the
potential opponents of the status quo the police
seem to be saying, 'If we don't like what you're
doing, we'll kill you." But to the broader com-
munity another message is given; the police
are strong, and able to protect the ordinary, law-
abiding citizen from the irrational violence of
criminal terrorists. In short, "Stick with us and
we'll take care of you." But this second message
"to protect and serve" is stranglely contradicted.
The anti-SLA hysteria did not begin with the
shooting of Black school superintendent Faster-
arguably an ordinary, law-abiding citizen. The
hysteria began with the political kidnapping of
the daughter of one of the wealthiest families.
Ordinary citizens are unlikely ever to be the
victims of a political kidnapping; and a 500-
member police assault force has never before
been called out against the alleged murderers

of a Black man. Without in anyway endorsing the
actions of the SLA, we must face squarely that
the police can be counted on "to protect and
to serve" only the wealthy and powerful. Un-
fortunately, this conclusion is strengthened by
the location of the Friday Evening War in a
poor community of Black citizens. We must ask
ourselves: Would the police have endangered
lives and destroyed property so recklessly if the
SLA suspects had been caught hiding in the
wealthy, white suburbs of Beverly Hills or Bel
IN THEIR total rejection of reason and mod-
eration, in choosing brutal and excessive meth-
ods, the police have gone far beyond their proper
functions as protectors and servants. They have
taken on the roles of judge, jury and execution-
er. But is this not the very essence of a police
Now the atmosphere and the tactics of police-
state control do not simply materialize overnight,
or by accident. In our specific, American situa-
tion the possibility of a police state has been
created by conscious policies culminating in the
expenditures of vast sums of money by the
Nixon administration in the training of local law
enforcement officers in the warfare tactics of
armed assault. The political hysteria behind the
creation of such police machinery as the LA.
"Special Weapons And Tactical Squad" (which
spearheaded the Friday Evening War) is the
same sort of political hysteria which led to John
Mitchell's "Red Squad", to Richard Nixon's
"Plumbers Unit," and, in -general, to what every
American has come to know as the "Water-
ONCE THE potential for a police state exists,
once the police machinery has been created and
is poised for action - then as we all have
seen in the Watergate affair, few explicit orders
regarding methods ever need to be given. All
that is necessary is simply to unleash these
special police forces, and to promote a general
atmosphere which sanctions their special activi-
ties. Given the mere existence, in every major
city, of these highly developed, well funded,
para-military police machines, the overall atmos-
phere epitomized by "Watergate" has served as
that official sanction - a green light for these
brutal machines to do exactly what they were
created to do: to restrict, to saboage, to intimi-
date, and, bluntly, to destroy all of us who are
working for needed and meaningful social change.
We have seen on the tube, larger than life, a
bit of 1984. For as must be apparent we now
have here in the United States all the elements
of a veritable, nationwide police state. To date
they have been largely used only against those
called "the left" or "radicals." But as is shown
in the contemporary development of police states
in countries such as Greece and Brazil, and his-
torically, as in Nazi Germany, it always begins
with the "radicals" - but soon it steamrolls, it
gets out of control - soon it comes to include any
and all who come into disfavor in the eyes of the
establishment order.
NOW WHO ARE those-seen as the malcontents
in modern America? The clearest indication as to
where, ultimately, this all could end can be found
in Richard Nixon's published list of political en-
emies. Only very few on that list could be con-
sidered' radicals. The great majority of those
enemies on Nixon's published list are peace ad-
vocates, civil rights leaders, noted journalists,
Democrats of all political shades, and even dissi-
dent Republicans.
For American citizens to accept the Friday
Evening War as a legitimate and reasonable me-
thod of law enforcement is far us to condone
and to promote the development of a police state
in America.
Mario Savio is best known for his contribu-
tion to the Free Speech Atonement at Berkeley.
lie is presently a free-lance writer.

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