Militarized Policing Is a Global Problem With U.S. Roots

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In May of this year, thousands of Colombian citizens took part in weeks of widespread protests against a newly proposed tax reform plan and, more generally, the country’s growing economic inequality. The demonstrators included teachers, doctors, students and labor union members, as well as many who were new to protesting. But instead of allowing them to peacefully express their opinions, the Colombian National Police cracked down, killing at least 24 people in clashes that resembled their fights against criminal organizations and insurgents. 

Of course, Colombia’s police are not unique in their heavy-handed approach to law enforcement. In 2019, police violence became a central concern of protesters in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, following violent crackdowns by the once-esteemed Hong Kong police. In 2020, the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among many others, at the hands of police in the United States brought…

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