A SWAT vehicle, Fulton County Sheriff. Photo: Pinterest
Backed by more than 50 progressive advocacy groups, dozens of House Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to prevent the transfer of military-grade weaponry from the Pentagon to federal, tribal, state, and local police departments.
In a letter (pdf) sent to the White House on Tuesday afternoon, 29 lawmakers, led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), argue that taking executive action to reform the Defense Department’s 1033 program “is a reasonable step towards demilitarizing our police forces while preserving the safety of our communities.” Continue reading →
Police departments that get more equipment from the military kill more civilians than departments that get less military gear. That’s the finding from research on a federal program that has operated since 1997 that I have helped conduct as a scholar of police militarization.
Many of the specific proposals Obama will talk about on Monday are taken from a White House-commissioned panel, the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which issued a lengthy report in December on a variety law enforcement and community strategies designed to decrease the incidents of police brutality while making communities safer. (Photo: White House)
In response to long-held—and increasingly elevated—criticisms of the way predominantly poor neighborhoods and communities of color have been treated by law enforcement, President Barack Obama on Monday will announce a series of federal initiatives that will include new restrictions on the kinds of military-grade equipment made available to local police departments.
Though welcomed by many as a bold step, others question whether the new rules amount to little more than a “quick fix” that does too little to address the trend towards increasingly militarized police forces across the country. Continue reading →