Earlier today, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump Administration is reversing another policy implemented by President Barack Obama. Following the protests in Ferguson, President Obama halted a Department of Defense policy that distributed military equipment (such as armored vehicles, body armor and high caliber weaponry) to state and local law enforcement departments, including small departments with little need for such powerful equipment.  

The following response can be attributed to Karen Sheley - Director, Police Practices Project, ACLU of Illinois:

“Three years ago, we watched a violent and vastly militarized police response to protesters challenging the troubling shooting death of an unarmed African American man in Ferguson. Today’s executive order reverses the practical limits placed by President Obama after Ferguson on military-grade weapons flowing from the federal government to local police.

Good policing is not done by tanks, guns and bullets - it is done with human contact, community input and mutual respect between the police and the community they serve. Moreover, military-grade equipment often is deployed in communities of color, putting people at risk and exacerbating the gap in trust between police and the community.

Policies must focus on ways to make our police more effective, rather than how to make them seem “tough.”  Being armed like a military force – with grenade launchers, high-caliber assault weapons, and more - will not make our police more effective.”

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