Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ferguson Looks Like a War Zone; Here's Why:

By now we have seen that the tragedy of institutionalized racism and brutality in this country continues to play out in Ferguson, Missouri. Read J. Herbert Nelson’s A Call for More Than Judicial Remedies to the Killing of African-American Boys and Men.

We have repeatedly watched how police in Ferguson are treating the people they are supposed to serve and protect as the enemy. Armed with weapons and riot gear, the police officers look like they're coming from a war zone. Their equipment did.

The Ferguson Police Department received military-grade equipment -- free of charge -- from the Pentagon as part of the 1033 program. And they've been using the weapons and gear against protestors following the police shooting of Michael Brown, and unarmed 18-year-old.

Ask your representative to stop the Pentagon from sending weapons of war to local police departments.

Military equipment makes it too easy for police officers to think of their communities as the enemy. In a criminal justice system where young black men are too often presumed guilty (see: stop and frisk, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration), that's just one more step towards a tragedy like this one.

Representative Hank Johnson (GA-4) is about to introduce legislation that would stop local police departments from getting weapons designed for war from the Pentagon.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Michael Brown's family and the people of Ferguson.

Many thanks to our partner Friends Committee on National Legislation for the language of this action alert.