Another day, another unconstitutional ‘solution’ from the Congress. This time it comes from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and it involves the federal control of police.
In the aftermath of the Ferguson, Mo., disaster, McCaskill has proposed forcing police to wear cameras as a prerequisite for receiving federal funds.
This is an interesting ploy to keep the dangerous status quo intact, because it involves what seems to be a legitimate reform.
According to a Nov. 2013 Guardian report, “public complaints against officers plunged 88 percent compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60 percent” after cameras were introduced in the small town of Rialto, Calif. This indicates that the idea of putting cameras on officers as a transparency measure may be something worth pursuing.
But the federal government has absolutely no constitutional authority to meddle with state and local police departments. In fact, states have always jealously guarded “police powers.” Local and state police policy falls within the realm that James Madison described in Federalist 45 as the “internal order” of the state – an area of authority reserved for state and local governments. Some will assert that the feds would stay within the letter of constitutional law in tying police cameras to federal funding, arguing that the it would not compel the state to act. States would remain free to ignore the mandate if it was willing to forgo the federal funds. But this argument falls flat, since the Constitution delegates no authority to the federal government to fund state and local law enforcement in the first place.
Any way you slice it, McCaskill’s proposal violates the Constitution.
While cameras on cops is probably a good idea, more federal influence on state and local police forces definitely is not. With their long history of heavy-handed behavior regardless of which party is in power, the feds should be kept as far away from local and state police forces as possible. They must remain independent so that they are willing to take on the feds when they violate the Constitution, an important check and balance against tyranny that has been eroding for quite some time.
If putting cameras on police is a solution that can curb the epidemic of police brutality, let it happen in city councils and state legislatures throughout the country. We do not need the feds pushing through this reform in order to protect their inappropriate influence upon our police forces. Keeping federal control in tact makes any other reform moot because the progenitor of the problem is still in charge. For a comprehensive reform plan, we need to consider ideas like having the police wear cameras but only after fully demilitarizing the police and separating them completely from the feds.
We can help to get you started on the road toward reform with our Privacy Protection Act, 4th Amendment Protection Act and Liberty Preservation Act. Those three pieces of legislation stop drones, NSA spying and indefinite detention – three of the most ghastly planks of the Orwellian police state being put into place. We can start with these three measures instead of letting federal bureaucrats dictate their reform scheme to us. The feds never seem to have the best interest of the people in mind. Let’s go around them completely, and fix this mess ourselves. Join the grassroots revolution to decentralize power today!