Police across America have been using weapons of war to attack peaceful protesters and journalists in the last 48 hours. They got many of those from the federal government through the Pentagon's 1033 program, which gives military surplus to local law enforcement.1
After the Ferguson protests in 2014, progressives got President Obama to limit this program. But Trump reversed that order, and also scaled back the Department of Justice's investigations into police misconduct.
There are a lot of things we need to do to end institutional racism and stop police brutality. One of those steps is demilitarizing the police. We're calling on Congress to end the 1033 program. Will you join the fight?
Sign the petition and tell Congress: Stop giving weapons of war to local police!
Before the protests against the police murder of George Floyd, the Minnesota State Patrol had sought military surplus from the Pentagon, including armored vehicles.2 In scenes across the country in recent days, police have used these vehicles and weapons to intimidate peaceful protest.
Police in Minnesota are calling the protests "urban warfare," revealing their attitude toward free expression.3 When police think they are soldiers, and are equipped like soldiers, they start to treat the public as a hostile enemy.
The effects are dire, especially for communities of color. Research has shown that there is more police killing in cities where officers have access to military gear, and that these weapons and tactics repeatedly lead to the murder of Black and Latinx people in particular.4
There is a lot of work to be done to stop police violence and institutional racism. Ending police militarization is just one of the many important steps we can take. And as we've seen in recent days, that step is urgent. Will you help?
Add your name: Tell Congress to stop giving weapons of war to local police!
1. NBC News, "Trump Makes It Easier for Police to Get Military Equipment," November 13, 2017.
2. Huffington Post, "Why Protesters In Minneapolis Are Facing Militarized Law Enforcement," May 29, 2020.
3. The Atlantic, "When Police View Citizens as Enemies," May 31, 2020.
4. Washington Post, "Why does the Minneapolis police department look like a military unit?," May 28, 2020.