Friday, August 15, 2014

Rep. Hank Johnson to introduce bill to stop providing military equipment to local police forces

The Nebraska State Patrol Light Armored Vehicle LAV 150
The Nebraska State Patrol Light Armored Vehicle LAV 150, one of the hundreds of armored vehicles the Pentagon has passed along to local and state police agencies.
As a consequence of the war zone police have turned Ferguson, Missouri, into during the past few days, Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia's 4th Congressional District will introduce a bill to end the federal government's program of providing billions of dollars worth of military equipment free to local police. Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman report:
Rep. Hank Johnson sent a “Dear Colleague” letter Thursday morning alerting lawmakers that he is putting forward the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act. The action comes in the wake of a policeman shooting an unarmed black man that has created an increasingly tense relationship between the police and the city’s largely African-American population. The response of local police, including the use of tear gas on protesters, has been criticized as overly aggressive. “Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s,” Johnson wrote. “Unfortunately, due to a Department of Defense (DOD) Program that transfers surplus DOD equipment to state and local law enforcement, our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces.”
Further, Johnson said the legislation would “end the free transfers of certain aggressive military equipment to local law enforcement and ensure that all equipment can be accounted for."


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