A new film entitled "Do Not Resist" documents the dramatic rise of the militarization of U.S. police (video below).
The disturbing movie, which won best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, is about how police are using military gear, military training and military tactics on the civilian population.
The Intercept notes the film shows lethal force expert Dave Grossman speaking to police about their first-time kill, which he compares to sex: "Both partners are very invested in some very intense sex. There’s not a whole lot of perks that come with this job. You find one, relax and enjoy it."
Grossman, a retired army lieutenant colonel, also tells the cops: "We are at war, and you are the front-line troops in this war."
The shocking documentary comes from first-time filmmaker Craig Atkinson who told The Guardian: "I wanted to show how ubiquitous his philosophy is and how it has been adopted throughout law enforcement. I don’t think they should be incentivizing law enforcement to commit violence. This is a rape and pillage philosophy versus a protect and serve philosophy."
Grossman, who refused interview requests from The Guardian, says in another part of the seminar: "What do you fight violence with? Superior violence. Righteous violence. Violence is your tool … You are men and women of violence."
Atkinson is not anti-police -- far from it. His dad worked as a cop in Detroit for 29 years; 13 of those years were on a SWAT team.
"When so many people are being killed you need to look at why so many people in law enforcement are imbued with fear and are trigger happy," Atkinson told The Guardian. "I would love to open the debate of how we’re training our officers."
When he first came up with the idea for the film, Atkinson thought he would be making a positive documentary about modern-day SWAT teams.
"I thought the whole time I would be able to show something that would kind of reflect the entire scope of what a SWAT officer might go through sometimes, where you actually do need the equipment," Atkinson told The Intercept.
To Atkinson's surprise, he filmed police SWAT teams using the military weapons to violently serve search warrants on normal homes and families.
"The search warrants, we’re told, are always used for massive drug dealers and kingpins, and then we run in these homes and we never found anything," Atkinson stated.
One cop says in the movie that his SWAT team serves warrants 200 times a year. Atkinson recalled that his father served only 29 search warrants in 13 years while on a SWAT team.
The Intercept notes: "[A]ccording to some estimates, SWAT teams now carry out between 50,000 to 80,000 raids across the country annually."
In addition to showing SWAT teams breaking down doors and terrifying people, the film features Persistence Surveillance Systems, a private security company that is selling aerial surveillance -- first used by U.S. forces in Iraq -- to American police departments.
"We’re not out to watch the whole world, just all the world that’s got crime,” Ross McNutt, president of Persistence Surveillance Systems, says in the film.
"That’s the next wave in the militarization of police," Atkinson told The Intercept. "What we found was a whole slew of retired military officers now in the private sector ... selling the exact same surveillance technology that they just got back from Iraq and Afghanistan with to local law enforcement for small money on the dollar."
Despite the shocking Orwellian police state tactics caught on film, Atkinson says that most cops like the movie, except for one: his dad.
"His major reaction was just disappointment in seeing how far the mission creep had actually gone," Atkinson stated. "It’s obviously disappointing to see something that you were dedicating your life to so completely, evolve into something that you would never want to be a part of."