September 6, 2014

When Did Americans Become the Enemy?

Armored tanks. Automatic weapons. Tear gas. In small towns across America.

When did we all become the potential target of hostile military-police aggression? When the federal government decided to spend billions getting police every toy they could possibly want.

To use against our own citizens. With no protocol or training on when such force and intimidation may be justified.

Soulclap to the folks at Brave New Films for pulling this information together. Quick facts on Police Militarization:
  • Pentagon’s Excess Property Program (1033 Program) has supplied police departments across the country with more than $4.3 billion in gear since 1997. This includes $449 million in 2013.
  • St. Louis County, where Ferguson is located, received two military vehicles, a trailer, a generator, 12 5.56-millimeter rifles and six .45 caliber pistols from the Pentagon.
  • Military style police raids have increased in recent years, with one count putting the number at 80,000 such raids last year.
  • In SWAT style raids, people of color are most affected - 37% were Black, 12% Latino, and 19% White. Race was not known for the remainder.

Police militarization grew out of our failed drug war. Does a town of 2,200 need a massive military tank? Why does the police department in Dundee Michigan need a MRAP (Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle)? They don’t. Military grade gear does not improve the safety and security in small towns. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel must end the flow of military grade gear from the Pentagon to our local communities. It’s time for the militarizing of police to end.

Last month, protests in Ferguson, MO turned violent after police showed up in full SWAT gear after fellow officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. But Ferguson isn’t the only community receiving military grade weaponry from the Pentagon.

You can fight back. SIGN THE PETITION:

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