In response to growing concerns over the militarization of local police forces, Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) plans to introduce the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act” to Congress next month.
In a letter to his colleagues, Johnson said the bill would limit the type of equipment that can be transferred to police and would require states to account for all equipment, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Before another small town’s police force gets a $700,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can’t maintain or manage, it behooves us to reign in the Pentagon’s 1033 program and revisit the merits of a militarized America. I hope we can work together on this important issue.
Police advance through smoke, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
The congressman joins a growing chorus of officials expressing concern over a police response that saw heavily armed police deploying tear gas and smoke grenades in the streets of Ferguson.
In an op-ed for TIME, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote, “when you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) called for the demilitarization the police’s response in Ferguson in a press conference Thursday morning. She said the arming of police after September 11 a “kneejerk” reaction worth reviewing.