Militarization of Police

Obama May Backtrack on Military Equipment Ban For Police

The president met with police leaders after five officers were killed in Dallas.

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Tony Webster / Flickr

President Barack Obama will review a year-old executive order prohibiting the transfer of military-grade weapons to police, according to Reuters.

The president signed Executive Order 13688 in May 2015, banning the transfer of certain military equipment between armed forces and police departments. This included such items as tracked armored vehicles, weaponized vehicles, grenade launchers, and camouflage uniforms. The order came as a result of a 2014 government-wide review of military equipment provided to law enforcement agencies, which was ordered in the wake of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

While the order didn't ban all military equipment—certain explosives and armored vehicles were still allowed—it did restrain how these various items could be acquired. And if police departments wanted an item that was prohibited, they would have to purchase it from a private vendor, often at a hefty price.

All of this may soon change: Eight police organization leaders met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on July 11—three days after five officers were killed in Dallas—to discuss possible reforms.

Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, was one of the people in attendance. He told Reuters most police departments cannot afford to pay for this equipment, and that this leaves officers vulnerable to attacks. As an example he pointed to grenade launchers, which he said can also be used to launch tear gas into rowdy crowds. "The White House thought this kind of gear was intimidating to people, but they didn't know the purpose it serves," he said.

Yet Kanya Bennett, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), says that while police should be able to use this equipment in high-risk situations—such as an active sniper—forces often do not reserve it for such circumstances. "Police departments have been using military equipment to carry out day-to-day operations," she says. "As we saw with the protests in Ferguson and Baton Rouge, a militarized response only escalates tensions and threatens public safety."

When protesters marched in Baton Rouge earlier this month to protest the killing by police of Alton Sterling, more than 100 people were arrested despite the fact that they were demonstrating peacefully. Video footage shows officers, decked out in riot gear and holding rifles, pushing protesters onto private property before handcuffing them.

The ACLU released a report in June 2014 detailing the excessive militarization of police departments. The organization notes that this phenomenon tends to disproportionately affect minority communities and undermines civil liberties.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. A White House official told Reuters, however, that the administration frequently reviews the equipment that can be transferred from the military to police departments to ensure that law enforcement agencies have the materials they need to do their jobs.

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  1. How the equipment in question has anything to do with the shootings, no one can say.

    1. WDATPDIM, Joe. WDATPDIM.

    2. Request for more robo-drones to blow up people who piss them off.

    3. If the equipment in question is equipment forbidden to us peasants, then that makes the police into aristos. And the shootings may – may – be an early sign of “? la lanterne!” Or of a servile uprising of some other sort.

      So the connection is that granting the equipment to the police is an attempt to quell a potential revolt with a big KNOW YOUR PLACE, PEASANTS! while keeping the police from having forbidden-to-peasants equipment is a quieter attempt to convince the peasants that no revolt is needed.

  2. Eight police organization leaders met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on July 11?three days after five officers were killed in Dallas?to discuss possible reforms.

    CRISITUNITY!

  3. He might backtrack but his bosses won’t.

  4. I think Obama just likes some good old chaos.

    He really does not care who is getting killed or beaten. He will just jump on the band wagon afterward.

    He is basically the guy running around the burning car with his shirt off.

    1. That’s charitable.

      I know the Lightbringer plays 12-dimensional chess or what have you, but events over the last year really make him seem like a guy in way over his depth. I assume it’s been this way throughout and he’s either tiring or the media is running less interference, but all the loopy responses to events (we can’t know the shooter’s motivation) and post hoc justifications (sure we’re giving the farm away to Iran but that’s just because we’re really trying to move against Saudi Arabia) seem increasingly desperate.

      Then again, I’m just a simple caveman.

      1. That makes sense. Honestly, I think he was a well-connected community organizer who charmed the right people in the DNC in a major Democratic stronghold, took advantage of an unusual opportunity and rare fortune, and found himself at the helm of the most powerful country on Earth. I mean, there’s nothing in the guy’s background to even slightly imply he’d be prepared for the presidency. I think he came in with some big ideas and didn’t realize that there’s more to the job than just pushing your favorite causes through Congress.

        He’s had a lot–A LOT–of help from Congressional Democrats, and he has benefited from being the first black president AND the first president after an increasingly unpopular Republican, but I think that took him as far as he could go years ago. Now he’s got a tiger by the tail and he’s just waiting until he can get out of the hot seat and into the lecture circuit.

        1. Another funny theory is that the guys at Goldman and the FED said;
          “The shit’s hit the fan. Let’s let the black guy and the chick(yellen) take the fall.”

      2. I’ve been claiming for years that Obama isn’t some diabolically clever socialist or crypto-Muslim or whatever, he’s just a Chicago machine hack who got promoted way beyond his competence. It’s nice to see other people coming around to realizing that this emperor’s clothes might not be all they’re cracked up to be.

  5. State Lives Matter, motherfuckers.

  6. As an example he pointed to grenade launchers, which he said can also be used to launch tear gas into rowdy crowds. “The White House thought this kind of gear was intimidating to people, but they didn’t know the purpose it serves,” he said.

    Probably just needs rebranding. Call it “Love Gas”, maybe. You’ll have people lining up around the block to get love gas shot at them with grenade launchers, their eyes welling with tears not of pain, but gratitude for the all-encompassing State that has mercifully spared their lives.

  7. So other than to launch tear gas canisters, WTF do police departments need with grenade launchers??? And camouflage uniforms?? Tracked, armored vehicles? I didn’t realize the police needed all terrain, mechanized infantry. How about laser targeting systems for smart bombs, parachutes for their SWAT teams, M1-A2 tanks with depleted uranium, mesh reinforced composite armor and a 120 mm smooth-bore cannon? Hell how about tactical nukes? I’m sure Philly could find a use for those.

  8. As an example he pointed to grenade launchers, which he said can also be used to launch tear gas into rowdy crowds. “The White House thought this kind of gear was intimidating to people, but they didn’t know the purpose it serves,” he said.

    Ohhh, no you don’t. I’ve been told time and again by anti-2A people including several members of Congress that those military-style weapons can only serve one purpose, and that is to kill innocent children. You can’t just turn around now and tell me that there might be legitimate reasons to possess military-style firearms.

    1. There are no legitimate reasons for you to possess military-style firearms.

      Obey your masters.

    2. Killing innocent children IS a legitimate reason, as long as the killers are agents of a Government controlled by the Democratic Party.

      And in fact, it’s better to arm police with heavy military gear than with Glocks or other pistols. The pistols might be used by the cops for the totally illegitimate, highly criminal purpose of self-defense, which would be a vile betrayal of the trust given to cops by arming them. The heavier weapons are less likely to be abused that way.

      Remember, the only legitimate purpose for cops to have weapons is to use them to enforce the law (e.g. by lobbing flash-bang grenades into a child’s crib during a drug-war raid). Not to use them for the crime of self-defense. Because while police are above the law in many ways, they are NOT entitled to commit the crime of self-defense any more than a dirty sub-human tea-bagger with his barbaric delusion that self-defense is some sort of “human right.”

    3. Badges are magic. They immunize their wearers from the otherwise irresistibly corrupting influence of guns.

  9. He’s the soother-in-chief. Of course he’s going to back down after Dallas.

    Because if all Police were in an MRAP 24X7, no police would ever get killed.

    Searches should begin with an m203 grenade attack from the next block, .50 cals using indirect fire. if we can get one of those howitzer-equipped c130s to patrol south-central, things would finally be complete.

    1. I mean, the only way to ensure officer safety is to drop a MOAB on the protest site before any police actually arrive.

      #copslivesmatter

  10. Is that Bun E. Carlos?

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