Amid the national debate on the militarization of law enforcement, the House Democrats have introduced a bill to limit the handover of military-grade equipment to police officers.
The bill is sponsored by Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) And “Investigate the things that destroy trust and endanger communities while the transfer of support equipment may continue,” said a summary published by The Hill. It is co-sponsored by 74 other House Democrats.
“Our neighborhoods need to be protected, but Americans and our founding fathers refused to blur the line between police and military,” Johnson said in a statement. “Before turning another city into a war zone with gifts of grenade launchers and high-profile rifles, we need to curtail this program and rethink our view of the safety of American cities and towns.”
According to Yasmine Taeb, a human rights attorney who supports the law, says House Democrats will be sending President Joe Biden a letter by the end of the week asking him to pass an executive order to “handle the transfer of military-grade weapons end the Pentagon’s 1033 program on the streets of our communities. “
The 1033 program allows the Department of Defense to unload excess equipment by sending it to local law enforcement, who are responsible for shipping costs. The program was created under the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997. The 1208 program started in 1990 was more restrictive. The program has been scrutinized in the face of protests against Black Lives Matter and the nationwide movement against racism and police brutality.
Last week the House agreed The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill named after the African American whose death from law enforcement last year heightened protests across the country and catapulted Black Lives Matter onto the global stage. The bill makes it easier to prosecute claims for misconduct by the police.
Alan is a New York-based writer, editor, and news junkie.