On August 14, Representative Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) informed House colleagues he will be introducing the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act to reduce police weaponry in the wake of the shooting death of an “unarmed black man”–Michael Brown–in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
In addition to the shooting of Brown, Johnson believes the use of tear gas on rioters who have poured into St. Louis since the incident is “overly aggressive” and needs to be addressed.
According to Politico, Johnson sent a letter to House members saying, “Our streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s.” He then pointed to a “Department of Defense (DOD) Program that transfers surplus DOD equipment to state and local law enforcement,” saying the program causes “local police…to resemble paramilitary forces.”
He claims the remedy for this situation is to stop the transfers of “certain aggressive military equipment” and to require an accounting for the current location of all such equipment.
Johnson’s bill has the endorsement of the American Civil Liberties Union.
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