FEDERAL DEPLOYMENT RAISES QUESTIONS
Military police officers from Fort Jackson are assisting state and local authorities in providing public safety for this weekend’s big University of South Carolina football game against Georgia …
… or so says local television station WIS TV 10 (NBC – Columbia, S.C.) in a report co-filed with the Associated Press.
This deployment was approved by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, who hates the federal government … unless of course it is bailing out her transportation department, inflating her health care agency’s Medicaid rolls or stepping in to combat a recent spate of violence in her state’s capital city.
So … what’s wrong with this deployment? Maybe nothing …
According to some, though, it violates the Posse Comitatus Act – a federal statute which prohibits federal troops from being used to perform state and local law enforcement functions. This statute does not apply to National Guardsmen, but their deployment must be preceded by a gubernatorial declaration of a state of emergency.
Obviously the South Carolina-Georgia game is a big deal … but we’re not sure if it rises to that level.
And even if it did, would such a declaration permit regular U.S. Army soliders (such as those who comprise Fort Jackson’s military police units) to provide such law enforcement functions off of the base?
According to a source familiar with the deployment, the federal troops are permitted to deploy so long as they are only providing “support” functions to local cops. In other words they can direct pedestrian and vehicular traffic – but they cannot arrest or detain citizens.
That distinction isn’t sitting well with some …
In fact one website – Prison Planet - is already blasting Haley for authorizing an “unlawful deployment.” Meanwhile several state lawmakers have contacted FITS telling us they object to federal troops being deployed in this manner.