Tell Pres. Obama to keep military weapons out of the hands of police

CREDO action
Tell Pres. Obama: Stop giving weapons of war to local police

The petition to President Obama reads:
"Police aren't at war with civilians – they don't need weapons of war. Stand strong on your ban on certain military equipment transfers through the 1033 Program and move to end the 1033 Program completely."

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Dear 5849376,

Stop police militarization.

The Obama Administration is reconsidering one of its biggest reforms to stop police militarization. We can't let that happen.

In 2014, people across the country were shocked when police in combat gear and mine-resistant vehicles violently confronted thousands of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri who had taken to the streets to protest the killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown by a local police officer. This outrage led hundreds of thousands of people, including more than 110,000 CREDO members, to demand that President Obama stop the federal government's militarization of police departments.

President Obama responded by issuing an executive order limiting the types of weapons available under the Defense Department's 1033 Program, which has provided weapons of war to local law enforcement agencies since the 1990s. The ban stops the federal government from arming police departments with certain militarized gear, including grenade launchers, tracked armored vehicles, armed aircraft, bayonets, and guns and ammunition of .50 caliber.1 Police unions and departments are pushing President Obama to restore access to all military weapons, and their pressure is working. Recently, the Obama administration announced that it would reconsider the 1033 Program ban.2 We must show President Obama that more people want to maintain the ban on police militarization than want to lift it.

Tell President Obama: Local police department don't need military grade weapons. End the 1033 Program entirely. Click here to sign the petition.

Under the 1033 Program, the Department of Defense has distributed an astonishing array of equipment to state and local agencies, from machine guns and bazookas to armored personnel carriers and helicopters. The 1033 Program has transferred more than $4.3 billion in equipment to local police departments since its inception in 1997.3 The Department of Defense has turned American neighborhoods into combat zones, propagating a culture of war between police and civilians in communities across the country.

When police departments are armed with military-grade weapons and trained to use military tactics, they are more likely to treat the people they are meant to serve as enemy combatants. In July, Baton Rouge, Louisiana police responded to peaceful protests of Alton Sterling's murder as if they were going to war. They wore full-body armor, drove around in mine-resistant ambush protected tanks—which are designed to deflect roadside bombs—and used long range acoustic devices that emit deafening high pitch sounds to disperse peaceful crowds.4 Fully militarized SWAT raids are now routinely used to issue search warrants, terrorizing people in their homes and neighborhoods.5

American neighborhoods are not combat zones, and law enforcement officials shouldn't be using the weaponry or tactics of armed combat to fight crime. But by providing local law enforcement officials with military-style equipment, the Obama administration is fueling a dangerous trend that puts the civil liberties and livelihoods of Americans, especially African-Americans and Latinos, at risk.

Instead of considering rolling back the limits he's already put in place, President Obama should be moving to end the 1033 Program entirely. That's why we're joining our friends at Color Of Change to speak out now. Can you help make sure President Obama does everything he can to keep weapons of war out of the hands of local law enforcement?

Tell President Obama: Local police department don't need military grade weapons. End the 1033 Program entirely. Click the link below to sign the petition.

Thank you speaking out to stop police militarization,

Nicole Regalado, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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  1. Jordan Fabian, "Obama bans some transfers of military hardware to police", The Hill, May 8, 2015.
  2. Julia Edwards, "Exclusive: White House to review ban on military gear for police - police leaders", Reuters, July, 21, 2016.
  3. David Nakamura and Wesley Lowerym, "Obama administration bans some military-style assault gear from local police departments", The Washington Post, May 8, 2015.
  4. Tess Owen, "Baton Rouge cops dressed for war to confront protesters", Vice News, July 11, 2016.
  5. "War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing", ACLU, June 2014.

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