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Rutherford Institute Weighs in on Ferguson, MO Riots

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Chaos in Ferguson, Missouri is sending shockwaves across country. A central Virginia legal expert sat down to talk with NBC29 about the tense situation.

After an allegedly unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a police officer over the weekend, police in Ferguson are in riot gear and dozens of people have been arrested. Police dressed more like members of the military firing tear gas at hundreds of angry protestors has gone on for four straight nights now following the death of Michael Brown.

At one point officers detained two journalists, saying they got too close. They weren't charged, but all this chaos has gotten the attention of the Rutherford Institute in Albemarle County, which defends civil liberties.

The institute's president, John Whitehead, said, “When they look at us, they look at us differently now. It's not like the Andy Griffith Show. That police man's gone. Now you're dealing with a militarized police who doesn't view you now as you're supposedly the master and he's the service. That relationship has been reversed.”

Whitehead says what we're seeing in Ferguson is part of a growing trend across the country.

"You're seeing more of a militarized view of people by the police and it has to do with how they're dressing up all the militarized equipment they have,” Whitehead said.

NBC29 reached out to police in Albemarle County and Charlottesville to see what they think of all this chaos with law enforcement but they didn't want to comment on the situation.

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