There is not usually an announcement as to when a government becomes a police state. It’s more a gradual slide, and the US government has been sliding. From Jim Jatras at washingtonbabylon.com:
How to legally rob a 73-year-old Amtrak employee and lock up citizens for non-crimes
When do we realize we’re already living in a police state?
Maybe one clue is when our betters make a point of assuring us that we aren’t. Here’s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House Judiciary Committee inquiry into political bias in the Robert Mueller “Russia-gate” investigation:
Department of Justice employees are united by a shared understanding that our mission is to pursue justice, protect public safety, preserve government property, defend civil rights, and promote the rule of law.
Rosenstein’s contempt for his interlocutors’ intelligence was unconcealed. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
Rod’s on the job! Americans can certainly sleep peacefully tonight.
Or maybe not. Besides cracking down on states’ playing fast and loose with federal marijuana laws, one of the first enforcement actions ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-Recused) was to step up use of civil forfeiture, which is a fancy way of saying “taking the property of people who have not been convicted of anything, or even accused of anything, with little recourse.”
But no sweat, there are “safeguards” to assure that property seizures only impact drug kingpins and gangsters – right?
Sessions’s order . . . resuscitates a practice known as “federal adoption,” which allows police and prosecutors to circumvent state restrictions on asset seizures by collaborating with federal authorities. Through this partnership, state and local authorities turn their seizures over to federal colleagues, who “adopt” them for prosecution—ultimately returning up to eighty per cent of the assets to the originating cops or prosecutors to keep. One result, often unaddressed in critiques of forfeiture, is the tacit encouragement of racial profiling and targeting of property owners of color, who remain prime targets of the practice in much of the country.