The American military is prohibited from deploying within the United States, but local law enforcement organizations are becoming increasingly militarized, as surplus gear from the Pentagon flows to main street.
Even without military gear, the horrifying regularity of police violence against black and brown people continues unabated in marginalized communities.
Over-policing and excessive use of force against protesters has resulted in deaths from the Haymarket Affair in 1886 to the student massacres at Orangeburg, Jackson State and Kent State to the bombing of MOVE and the siege at Ruby Ridge.
The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the use of surveillance drones in US airspace, and local police departments are beginning to purchase drones, armored personnel carriers, and other military equipment. These tools can be used to carry out surveillance, invade privacy, and suppress nonviolent protests, threatening constitutional rights of Americans in jurisdictions from coast to coast.
DRAD, DC NLG FOIA Request Uncovers That DC Police Spent Over $300,000 in Weapons, Ammunition to Use against Inauguration Day Protesters
New, previously undisclosed records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the DC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (DC NLG) and Defending Rights & Dissent (DRAD) details the types, quantities, manufacturers and costs of munitions used against protesters on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.
The bill would stop the steady supply of battlefield equipment from entering our communities and put safeguards in place to ensure that federal funds are used more appropriately
The letter states, “We are dismayed that, after years of advocacy and dialogue, we are once again returning to an era in which federal agencies will operate these programs virtually unchecked.”
Providing law enforcement with military-grade equipment produces a dangerous, warrior mentality that could encourage more aggressive policing. Military equipment is designed to be used against an enemy, so if local police are given access to weapons being used by soldiers fighting ISIS in Afghanistan, it’s not that far a of logical jump to see an environment where unarmed public demonstrators are perceived as a threat.
The bizarre assertion of blue racism is a new low, but it plays on a similar theme we’ve seen time and time again.