Mulling a Trial-Run of Martial Law

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Wow, things just get better and better lately… Check this out: Schenectady mayor considers options, martial law over police woes.

Key excerpt:

Schenectady Police Chief Mark Chaires said, “This is unprecedented – all these officers getting in trouble at the same time for all these different reasons.

Five Schenectady police officers recently accused of everything from driving drunk to beating up a man are leading city officials to look at taking drastic action to fix a department tainted by the few who may have acted illegally, like Darren Lawrence and Michael Brown who are accused of driving while intoxicated

Okay, not great – but we are now talking only of ‘five’ police officers here – not the majority of the force…

Next excerpt:

The mayor said there is another option – and that would be declaring martial law. The governor would have to declare it and then the National Guard would come in. The mayor said it’s more for a transition to a new police force if that were to happen.

He said, “It may be that as a stopgap measure, that you would need military forces – State Police, National Guard.”

Mayor Stratton said the temporary measure would last until the new police force took over.

And, pray tell, just when that would be? Who knows? And definitely my favorite quote:

Schenectady’s Corporation Counsel John Van Norden said, “If you abolish the police department you still have a need – not an obligation – but a need to police the community. You would need something in transition. Declaring martial law would be one way to bridge the gap.”

“It’s a contrived scenario,” said the mayor. “But it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities if you go that particular route.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this seems to be a direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. It’s not bad enough we had military called into our streets in Alabama last week, we now have this… This is beginning to be a habit and not a good one.

And last, but certainly not least:

Chief Chaires said, “When I think of martial law, I think of rioting. I think of Watts riots and things like that. I haven’t seen anything that rises to that level. I was a little surprised to hear that.”

But whether the National Guard needs to be called in or not, we’ll take a more-in-depth look on Thursday at the county-wide and State Police options, as officials try to deal with an unprecedented situation in unprecedented ways.

You think? I don’t know why more people aren’t catching this and talking about it. People, this could happen in your town. There are 61,821 people in Schenectady and that was in 2000. Probably a lot more now. This just sends a cold shiver up my spine…

UPDATE: Can Private Security Guards Act As Cops?

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