It has become an emblematic image of police militarization: a half-dozen heavily outfitted officers, assault rifles drawn, advancing on an African American man in a T-shirt with his hands way up.
The police – photographed in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer – are wearing helmets and goggles and knee pads and gas masks. The man is wearing a cap from Cabela’s, the outdoors store.
The picture would seem to epitomize the kind of “wrong message” Barack Obama denounced this week in unveiling new rules to ban “equipment made for the battlefield” from the arsenals of local police forces.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force,” the president said. “So we’re going to prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for local police departments.”