Take Military Weapons Away From The Police

Posted: October 20, 2016 in Call to Action

In From Roots Action. We feel very strongly about this issue and have published other essays on the same subject. Here is another.

Take Military Weapons Away From The Police

Throughout the Black Lives Matter movement, nonviolent protesters have been bombarded with armed tanks, rubber bullets, and grenade launchers containing toxic tear gas.

As we witnessed in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charlotte and elsewhere, peaceful demonstrations for racial justice and police accountability have been routinely met with large trucks of law enforcement officers dressed and armed for war-like combat.

The utilization of military equipment and tactics in local police departments fuels the widespread mentality that law enforcement officers, meant to protect and serve, are mere combatants in black and brown communities.

Police do not typically address white protesters in the same manner.

Consider the sharp contrast between these two events on the same weekend:

*  The historically racist Ku Klux Klan organized a nonviolent rally on Saturday, September 24th, 2016 at the city center of Madison, Indiana. Met with anti-racist college protesters upon arrival, the KKK immediately called the Madison Police Department for protection throughout their demonstration. Law enforcement officers arrived in their normal squad vehicles, with their normal blue uniforms, and their traditional weaponry of a baton and a single handgun. The crowd, including the KKK members as well as the college protesters, was mostly white.

*  Law enforcement officers in Charlotte, North Carolina met the Black Lives Matter protesters with rubber bullets, tear gas, and a large number of arrests. Eighty-two protesters have been arrested since the Charlotte uprising began, charged with the crime of “disturbing the peace.” BLM activists in Charlotte are protesting against the unjust killing of disabled father Keith Lamont Scott by a black police officer.

The federal government continues to give millions of dollars worth of military equipment to police departments that are over-policing, over-incarcerating and killing black and brown people, often with apparent impunity. It is imperative that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter suspend the 1033 Weapons Transfer Program that authorizes the transfer of military weapons to police departments and law enforcement officers.

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— The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.

Background:
> In These Times: If You Thought Obama Was Giving Less Military Gear, You Were Wrong
>
Knoxville News Sentinel: Tenn. Police Armed With $126 Million in Military Gear
>
RT: “Military-Style” Armed Police Arrest 20+ Dakota Access Protesters

www.RootsAction.org

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