Peace, Civil Rights, Drug Policy, Criminal Justice Reform, Immigration, Public Health & Faith-Based Groups Urge House to Support ‘Demilitarizing Local Law Enforcement Act of 2021,’ Introduced Today by Rep. Nydia Velazquez
Contact: Carley Towne | CODEPINK Co-Director | [email protected]| (909)-809-8104
May 13, 2021-Today CODEPINK joined a coalition of over 150 civil rights, drug policy, criminal justice reform, immigration, public health and faith-based organizations in urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support Rep. Nydia Velazquez’s bill—Demilitarizing Local Law Enforcement Act of 2021—to end the U.S. Department of Defense’s 1033 Program.
Since its inception the 1033 program has facilitated the transfer of more than $7.4 billion worth of equipment—including armored vehicles, grenade launchers, assault rifles, aircraft and more—to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. A recent study out from the Security Policy Reform Institute also shows that the flow of military equipment to police has accelerated under President Biden, further emphasizing the urgency of demilitarizing the police.
Carley Towne, co-Director of CODEPINK and coordinator of the Defund the Pentagon campaign, said, "This program is just one example of the many ways that our bloated Pentagon budget does nothing to create real safety and security in our society. It is absurd that the Pentagon has so much funding they can send their 'excess' weaponry to police departments around the country. We need to demilitarize our police and defund the Pentagon now."
The letter argues that “while militarized police forces grew out of the drug war, militarization is a common staple of policing today. The 1033 Program, specifically, has contributed to the rise of the warrior cop mentality against Black and Brown communities. It has paved the way for militarized police responses to protests against police violence, like we witnessed in the summer of 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri when people protesting the killing of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer were met with law enforcement equipped with tank-like vehicles and riot gear. This past summer, as mourners and protestors gathered in cities across the country to demand justice for George Floyd and other victims of police violence, at least 17 mine-resistant vehicles (MRAPs) obtained through the 1033 Program were deployed by police departments around the country.”
Find the full letter and list of signatories here.