Stop Giving Military Equipment to Law Enforcement Agencies!
Tell the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: Stop giving military equipment to law enforcement agencies!
Dear Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter,
In light of the dangerous and unnecessarily heavy-handed response of police to local protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, we have become aware of your agencies’ federal programs that promote the transfer of military-grade weaponry to local law enforcement agencies. We call for an end to these programs.
A recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union found police agencies across the country have become increasingly militarized, as officers are funneling surplus goods directly from battlefields abroad to the streets of America. The ACLU found that the Defense Department military surplus program rose from $1 million in 1990 to $450 million last year alone. Among the weaponry deployed from New Mexico to Maine are armored Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, Armored Personnel Carriers, tear gas, and assault rifles that have no place in the daily lives of Americans like those living in Ferguson.
Enough is enough. No more war on our communities! The militarization of our police force goes against the interest of the American people, whom the law officers are supposed to “serve and protect.” We know that military equipment is being deployed primarily in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color across the nation. Just days after Michael Brown’s killing, Los Angeles Police Department officers pulled the trigger on another young black man, 24-year-old Ezell Ford. We know these aren’t isolated incidents.
In the memory of Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride and countless victims of racialized and institutional violence, we ask you to make our communities safer by getting these weapons off our streets.
As concerned Americans we say: NO MORE MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES!