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By SAHIL KAPUR Published AUGUST 14, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson proposed legislation on Thursday aimed at demilitarizing domestic police forces, amid national criticism of heavily armed cops going after protesters in Ferguson, Mo.
"Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s," the Democratic congressman wrote in a "Dear Colleague" letter to members of Congress. "Unfortunately ... our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces."
The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (PDF File link) would prevent the transfer of certain military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense to local law enforcement agencies. That includes some automatic weapons, armored vehicles, armored drones, silencers and flash-bang or stun grenades. Johnson boasted endorsements from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, American Civil Liberties Union and Defending Dissent Foundation.
"Before another small town's police force gets a $700,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can't maintain or manage, it behooves us to reign in the Pentagon's 1033 program and revisit the merits of a militarized America. I hope we can work together on this important issue," he wrote to colleagues.
originally posted by: pennydrops
What on earth are the US govt supposed to do with all this equipment they have bought with your tax dollars?
originally posted by: Iamthatbish
Now this needs to pass.
Pierce’s critics say there have been other examples of aggressive policing lately, and question why Pierce needs nearly three dozen, non-certified reserve officers to protect a population of 3,900 with the most serious crimes generally theft and burglary.....
The department also has two Humvees and two armored personnel carriers received free of charge from the U.S. Department of Defense for a township with only four full-time officers......
The show of force, he (Pierce) told the Free Press, is necessary because of the threats of terrorism, barricaded gunmen and mass shootings.