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Sen McCaskill: Overarming police with military equipment now problem, not solution



Published: Sat, August 16, 2014 @ 6:04 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP)

After a decade of sending military equipment to civilian police departments across the country, federal officials are reconsidering the idea in light of the violence in Ferguson, Missouri.

The public has absorbed images of heavily armed police, snipers trained on protesters and tear gas plumes. Against that backdrop, Attorney General Eric Holder said that when police and citizens need to restore calm, "I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message."

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said police responses like that in Ferguson have "become the problem instead of the solution." Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said he will introduce legislation to reverse police militarization.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee will review the program to determine if the Defense Department's surplus equipment is being used as intended.

One night after the violence that accompanied the presence of military-style equipment in Ferguson, tensions eased when a police captain, unprotected and shaking hands, walked through a crowd in a gesture of reconciliation. The contrast added to perception that the tanks and tear gas had done more harm than good.

As the country concludes its longest wartime period, the military has turned over thousands of surplus weapons and armored trucks to local police who often trained alongside the military.

A report by the American Civil Liberties Union in June said police agencies had become "excessively militarized," with officers using training and equipment designed for the battlefield on city streets. The report found the amount of goods transferred through the military surplus program rose from $1 million in 1990 to nearly $450 million in 2013.


Comments

1bunkpatrol(87 comments)posted 1 month ago

Does Mayberry really need a tank ?

Or does the military industrial complex need profit more ?

The second amendment gives us the right to bear arms against our oppressive government. It doesn't guarantee them the right to squash the rest of the amendments with their gizmos.

All of the craziest bullies from high school went on to become cops, not because they were eager to serve and protect. Rather they had a blood lust and power thirst that is frenzied by access to such militarization.

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2bunkpatrol(87 comments)posted 1 month ago

Yeah -I hate the police because I am entitled.

Way to attack the messenger and not the message.

You are right. Campbell police or departments of their size really need drones and tanks because they are getting shot all the time.

Except the facts show it was an unarmed man yet again shot by the poor defenseless underpaid policemen who responded to protest with excessive force!

Plus, I am a coward with an axe to grind. Good content.

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3YtownParent(324 comments)posted 1 month ago

The problem isn't that police departments have military weapons. The problem is that they have them with no oversight and no policies to keep police from abusing their power. Why don't the Ferguson Police cruisers have dash board cams? The same reason most of the cruisers in use don't have cameras, because the cops don't want people seeing what they do. If that cruiser had cameras there would be no question as to what happened. The whole world could see who attacked who, when, where and exactly what each person was doing when a weapon was fired.

If the officer's version is the truth we would have seen that. He'd have been cleared and would be back on active duty. If the officer erred, then the department could have taken quick and clear action and avoided the suspicions, investigations and protests.

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