Craig Atkinson’s documentary about police militarization in America asks an important question: how did we get here?
Craig Atkinson’s documentary about police militarization, Do Not Resist, is filled with unsettling scenes like the one where a Swat team destroys a family’s home during a drug raid that nets small amounts of loose marijuana. But the most disturbing scene transpires during the relative placidity of a seminar when a hugely successful lecturer tells a room full of police officers: “We are at war and you are the frontline.
“What do you fight violence with? Superior violence. Righteous violence. Violence is your tool … You are men and women of violence.”
“Eighty percent of Swat teams’ missions are now for minor offenses, usually drugs, and nothing to do with their vital and original function,” says Pete Kraska, the chair of graduate studies and research in the school of justice studies at Eastern Kentucky University.
“There’s mission creep,” Kraska says, adding that using machine guns for civilian protest or raiding people’s homes at 4am over minor, non-violent activities “is manufacturing dangerous situations”.