March 18, 2009

Who sent soldiers into an Alabama town last week?

Who sent 22 military police and an Army officer into the tiny Alabama town of Samson last week after a gunman went on a rampage that left 11 people dead?

That's what the U.S. Army would like to know.

The Associated Press reports that an Army spokesman says the military has launched an inquiry to find out what happened, why the troops were sent from nearby Fort Rucker, what they did while there and whether any federal laws were broken.

Law enforcement authorities in Samson and the county were stretched to the limit after the killing spree. But, as the AP notes, authorization from the governor or president is typically required for the deployment of federal troops on U.S. soil.

The 131-year-old federal Posse Comitatus Act generally prohibits federal military personnel or federalized National Guard from taking on a domestic law enforcement role.

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