Julie Telgenhoff| According to Washington Post, “The Pentagon gave nearly half a billion dollars of military gear to local law enforcement last year.”
According to Defense Tech:
“During the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military spent almost $50 billion buying a fleet of 20,000 blast-resistant trucks, known as Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, to protect troops from deadly roadside bombs. Now, hundreds of the hulking vehicles belong to local police departments.The program’s website includes among the inventory available for transfer such guns as the M-16A2 assault rifle, M-14 rifle and M-1911 .45-caliber pistol, such vehicles as the iconic Humvee utility vehicle and MRAP, and even aircraft and boats.”
The 1033 program also provides items like office equipment, tents, generators, pick-up trucks and ATVs, per a PowerPoint presentation on its website.
Below is one of the images obtained from Defense Tech showing the use of tactical weapons and gear by cops in Ferguson, Missouri, in a show of force against crowds protesting the shooting of an unarmed 18 year old, Michael Brown, by a Ferguson Police Officer:
I will let you decide whether or not the official with the U.S. Department of Defense’s claim that: “The armored vehicle used by Ferguson, and seen in many of the images from Wednesday night, was not given to the town by the DoD. It was not a military vehicle.” is true or not true.
Experts say police equipment and training around the nation have been getting military upgrades. And critics say this can be a problem.
“When you arm police like soldiers and outfit them with military weapons and train them on military tactics and tell them they’re fighting a war, whether it’s a war on crime or drugs or looters and rioters, they’re going to start seeing themselves as soldiers, and seeing the people they serve less as citizens with rights and more as potential threats, and that’s what we’re seeing,” said Radley Balko, author of the book “Rise of the Warrior Cop” and a reporter for the Washington Post.
Radley Balko’s above words could not ring any more true than what occurred on Saturday, August 9, 2014, when unarmed, 18 year old Michael Brown, was shot ten times by a Ferguson Police Officer. Please watch the following video below:
Video: The Mike Brown Shooting What You’re Not Being Told
Back in April, 2014, Washington Post came out with an article called, “Congratulations! Your Tiny Town Has an MRAP and is Ready For War”.
According to Washington Post:
“They’re designed for use on a battlefield. (The Pentagon offers no training to police departments when it gives the vehicles away. And they’ve been known to tip over.) But police departments are snatching them up. It’s part of the general trend toward more militarized domestic police forces that’s been happening since about the early 1980s.”
“But we want to find the tiniest town in America whose police force will be protected from any potential insurgent uprising. So far, the leading contender is Dundee, Mich., a sprawling metropolis of 3,900 people. If you hear of a town with fewer people acquiring an MRAP, please let me know.“
Ferguson, Missouri has a population of about 21,000, and their Police Department has been strickingly stark with the use of heavily armed officers in combat gear, some on top of armored vehicles in addition to firing rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.