Missouri protests response has U.S. wary of police arms buildup

A Missouri State Highway Patrol officer yells for people to move back as they evacuate a woman who...

A Missouri State Highway Patrol officer yells for people to move back as they evacuate a woman who needed medical help during a peaceful demonstration, as communities react to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 14, 2014. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Jessica Murphy, Senior Washington Correspondent

, Last Updated: 6:32 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Americans were shocked this week at the aggressive, militarized response by police to mass protests in Ferguson, Mo., after a cop shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old man last Saturday.

The circumstances that led to Michael Brown being killed by officer Darren Wilson remain murky. But scenes of protesters angered by the shooting facing off against police in armoured vehicles, wearing military fatigues and firing tear gas and rubber bullets had people wondering when police became so militarized.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in a column in Time, questioned how police in suburban America ended up looking and acting so much like soldiers.

"There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response," he said. "The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action."


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