Police with military equipment use unnecessary force


MCT Photo

A crowd outside the White House protests the shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson and the subsequent violence in Ferguson, Missouri. Police officers fired rubber bullets at rioters, expelled tear gas in residential neighborhoods and blockaded members of the press. The rising tide of police brutality displays a changing view of violence in America.

Benjamin Brynjulfson-Reardon

Police with full military gear, bulletproof vests, assault rifles with tactical sights moved into protesting groups to disperse them, going so far as to use tear gas, bearcats, etc…

After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the protests that ensued, people have been taking notice of military grade gear being used by our police forces.

They got all this equipment because most of it is ‘excess’ once used by the military that has been replaced.

Maintaining and storing such gear without anyone using it is costly, so much so that even giving it away is a more viable option then keeping it.

“We need it; a lot of departments could use this. We already have riot gear, why not military?  Who would it be sold to?” school security officer Paul Payne said, when asked how he felt.

This does sound great on paper- all this equipment going out to our police departments, tax payers only having to pay for one bullet-proof vest that will help the military and then equip the police. It seems like a win-win situation.

The thing is, all this equipment can be sold to civilians. And it often is, but in such a way that all the ‘weapon’ parts are taken out. But, when selling to police, there is no need to strip these machines when selling this equipment.

The downside to all this equipment being transferred to the police, who are here to ‘Protect and serve us’ is that it seems like American citizens are more the enemy now than the people to be protected.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 400-500 innocent American citizens are killed by police every year since military gear began moving from the military into police departments since 9/11 and the ‘drug crisis.’

Do you want police patrolling the streets with these vehicles and weapons? The mentality of being so suited, so protected is that police may very well be looking for a fight and certainly are more likely to find one at that.

“The gear shouldn’t be used unless completely necessary, for scare tactics rather than lethal force.” junior Eddie Riley said.