Today’s Roundup: Towns push back against police militarization, firefighter arrest caught on video, lingering questions about a police shooting in Fairfax

•  Man with no prior record makes an off-hand joke, authorities respond with a lockdown, SWAT teams, and a felony charge that could bring three years in prison.

•  Some towns are now pushing back when local police departments announce plans to acquire armored vehicles from the Pentagon. I wrote about one such town in New Hampshire a couple years ago. The city council voted to approve the acquisition, anyway.

•  A firefighter was arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer for a parking violation. He had parked his truck to help the victims of a car accident.

•  An aide hired by Seattle mayor to improve the city’s relations with the police department is a former police union official who encouraged lawsuits against citizens who filed complaints against police officers. The Seattle Police Department is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for rights and use of force abuses.

Five months later, there are still many troubling questions about the police shooting of Fairfax County, Va., resident John Geer.

Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."

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Tom Toles · February 7, 2014