April 6, 2021-- CODEPINK applauds the letter led by Representative Hank Johnson and signed by 29 Members of Congress sent to President Biden today calling on President Biden to use the power of the Executive Order to curtail the 1033 Program, which transfers military weapons to local police forces.
The letter, supported by CODEPINK and 55 other civil society organizations, calls on the Biden Administration to "effectuate the revisions to the ‘1033 program’" found in H.R. 1694, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2021, which Representative Hank Johnson introduced on March 9, 2021.
The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement language would preserve the important distinction between our military and our police by ending transfers of certain destructive and aggressive military equipment to local law enforcement. This text is the very same language included in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and 2021, excepting a small technical change to conform to the codification of the FY21 NDAA.
Jodie Evans, Co-founder of CODPINK, said, "Curtailing the 1033 program is an important first step--but communities of color bear the brunt of police brutality in this country, which is why eliminating the 1033 program altogether is a racial justice issue."
The letter also recalls stark images of "local police in military formations, with military-style weaponry trained on citizens" during protests last summer, demonstrating "irrefutable proof of our police forces' increasing aggression and brutality." 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."
You can find the full letter and list of signatories here.