The Militarization of Policing in America

No Tanks in Towns

ACLU

American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war. Federal funding in the billions of dollars has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters – and yet very little is known about exactly how many police departments have military weapons and training, how militarized the police have become, and how extensively federal money is incentivizing this trend. It’s time to understand the true scope of the militarization of policing in America and the impact it is having in our neighborhoods. Since March 6th, ACLU affiliates in 25 states filed over 260 public records requests with law enforcement agencies and National Guard offices to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments. Stay tuned as this project develops.

Policeofficers 

Check out this map of the law enforcement agencies with which ACLU Affiliates have filed public records requests.

Consider these ten chilling stories. If the anecdotal evidence is any indication, use of military machinery such as tanks and grenades, as well as counter-terrorism tactics, encourage overly aggressive policing – too often with devastating consequences:

Confused after throwing a deafening and blinding “flashbang” into a home, police mistakenly shot and killed a sleeping seven-year-old.
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Police in North Dakota borrowed a $154 million Predator drone from Homeland Security to arrest a family who refused to return six cows that wandered onto their farm.
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A county sheriff’s department in South Carolina has an armored personnel carrier dubbed “The Peacemaker,” which can shoot weapons that the U.S. military specifically refrains from using on people.
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Police in Arkansas announced plans to patrol streets wearing full SWAT gear and carrying AR-15 assault rifles.
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New Hampshire police received federal funds for a counter-attack vehicle, asking “what red-blooded American cop isn’t going to be excited about getting a toy like this?”
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Drone manufacturers may offer police remote controlled drones with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.
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Two SWAT Teams shut down a neighborhood in Colorado for four hours to search for a man suspected of stealing a bicycle and merchandise from Wal-Mart.
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An Arizona SWAT team defended shooting an Iraq War veteran 60 times during a drug raid, but had to retract its claim that the veteran shot first.
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A company in Arizona submitted a patent for shock cuffs, which can be used by cops to remotely administer a Taser-like shock to detainees.
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The New York City Police Department disclosed that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy Movement protesters.
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https://www.aclu.org/militarization

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