Protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri last week, following the shooting death by police of unarmed teenager, Mike Brown. The police response to combat protestors shocked the country and cities nationwide are now questioning use of militarized police in their states. Yesterday, Red Eye Chicago published an article examining the use of military grade equipment and vehicles by police in Illinois. The article reports that there are thousands of pieces of military equipment in Cook County that local and state police have access to.
The ACLU of Illinois has criticized militarizing local and state police forces, who have not received proper training to use such equipment. Red Eye interviewed ACLU of Illinois's public policy and communications director, Ed Yohnka, who said:
"The army is not the same thing as the local police force. Their responsibilities are not the same, the threat of risk they have is not the same, so the notion that [they] are treating this equipment as easily transferable is really troubling."
Yohnka also noted the possibility of stricter regulations in Chicago following the police actions in Ferguson.
"The military makes this equipment available free of charge to state and local law agencies, and that means the citizens and voters never get a voice in whether that's appropriate."