Demilitarize the Police
People rising up in righteous anger against police brutality are being met with massive police brutality. Armored vehicles, tanks, and police armed to the teeth are patrolling the streets while drones and helicopters buzz overhead. Rather than getting justice for George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Amhaud Arbory and so many others killed by our police, our cities are being invaded by militarized police. The 1033 program was created in 1990 during the war on drugs” (aka the war on black communities) to give “left-over” military weapons to local U.S. police departments. Since 1990, at least $5.4 billion in U.S. military equipment has been transferred.
All across America, our streets have been turned into war zones. People rising up in grief and righteous anger at racism and the killing of black people by police are being met with more police brutality. Armored vehicles, tanks, and police armed to the teeth patrolling our streets while drones and helicopters buzz overhead.
It doesn’t have to be this way. On May 31, your colleague Sen. Brian Schatz announced his intention to introduce an amendment to the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) to end the federal 1033 program.
The 1033 program was created in 1990 during the height of the war on drugs” (aka the war on black communities) to give “left-over” weapons from the U.S. military to local U.S. police departments. Since 1990, at least $5.4 billion in U.S. military equipment has been transferred into American communities. To make matters worse, police departments have to use the equipment they acquired at least once within one year of receiving it — a clause that incentivizes using unnecessary force.
Right now we are seeing the shameful effects of the 1033 program — people already embattled by the coronavirus, soaring rates of unemployment, and a racist system, are being shot with rubber bullets, tear gas, and more.
Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro has applauded Sen. Schatz’s plan. "As long as our police arm up like a combat force, they'll act like it,” he said. Rep. Pramila Jayapal tweeted: "Militarizing local police forces doesn't make our communities safer."
As your constituent, I am asking you to act urgently in support of Sen. Schatz’s amendment to the NDAA to abolish the 1033 program.