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Police response in Ferguson highlights militarization of local law enforcement




Police confront demonstrators during a protest over the shooting death of Michael Williams on Aug. 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police shot pepper spray,  smoke, gas and flash grenades at protesters before retreating. Several businesses were looted as the county police sat nearby with armored personnel carriers (APC). Violent outbreaks have taken place in Ferguson since the shooting death of Brown by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9.
Police confront demonstrators during a protest over the shooting death of Michael Williams on Aug. 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police shot pepper spray, smoke, gas and flash grenades at protesters before retreating. Several businesses were looted as the county police sat nearby with armored personnel carriers (APC). Violent outbreaks have taken place in Ferguson since the shooting death of Brown by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Protesters continue to take to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer more than a week ago.

Immediately following Brown's death, local law enforcement responded to protesters with a strong show of force, including military-grade weapons and armed vehicles.

But after much criticism and some striking images of protesters met by heavily-armed police, Ferguson's police department adjusted its approach in an attempt to ease the tensions in town. Still, the situation drew attention to the militarization of local police departments all over the country.

G.W. Schulz has written about this for the Center for Investigative Reporting. He says police departments began to use heavier grade equipment and weapons in the late 1990s, but ramped up use after the events of 9-11.