In October 2011, the police-related shooting death of unarmed man,
Michael Nida, 31, raised serious questions about the state of policing
in the city of Downey, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.
did it raise questions? The father of four who worked in construction
wasn't shot with a handgun by one of the Downey Police Department's
officers. He was shot with an MP5 submachine gun, the same gun used by
the Navy Seals.
"Why would he have a machine gun?" asks Jean
Thaxton, one of Nida's guardians since birth. "We're not in a war zone, I
didn't think. I didn't think this was a war zone."
patrolman isn't going to be carrying something like a submachine gun,"
says Timothy Lynch, the director of the Project on Criminal Justice at
the CATO Institute. Lynch says that even if they have those types of
weapons, they should only be using them in rare circumstances, such as
when they are confronting a heavily armed suspect.
decades police have been arming themselves with military equipment like
M16s, grenade launchers, and armored personnel carriers.
first when they got it, the idea was, yeah, this is extraordinary
weaponry, we'll have it just in case we'll ever need it." But as decades
went by, police started to use them to enforce drug warrants and then
started carrying them on routine calls.
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