Police Shooting Missouri
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Bipartisan Bill Introduced To Reform Military Transfers To Local Police

Police Shooting Missouri
(via time.com)

Yesterday, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced legislation to reform the Pentagon program, which transfers military equipment to law enforcement. The program has come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers after images from Ferguson, Missouri, showed law enforcement dressed like combat soldiers, using military equipment to deal with protesters. The Pentagon program has its roots in the drug war, coming to fruition in the early 90s as the U.S. government militarized its approach to drug policy. Just last week, Senators held a hearing on the issue of militarization in our law enforcement, where they critical of the Pentagon program.

Johnson and Labrador’s bill, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act has already received support from numerous legislators on both sides of the aisle. This rare bipartisan moment is a recognition that the increased militarization of law enforcement has to stop.

“In light of what we all saw in Ferguson, Missouri, the American people are clamoring for law enforcement to become less militarized. Grenades, drones, and tanks may belong on the battlefield; they certainly don’t have a place on U.S. streets,” said Michael Collins, Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Such militarization is inextricably linked to the drug war, where swat teams and no-knock raids have become a routine part of drug arrests, even in the case of nonviolent offenders.”

The bill tackles the militarization of law enforcement in the following ways:

  • Inclusion of better oversight and management of the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which allows the free transfer of certain military equipment to law enforcement
  • Removal of any reference to counterdrug operations from the program, thus ensuring that law enforcement is not incentivized to use the equipment to perform arrests of those suspected of being low-level, non-violent drug offenders
  • Lists equipment that is not suitable for law enforcement use, such as: drones, grenades, and mine-resistant tanks.

The huge problem of police militarization has received increased attention because of the events in Ferguson, but many have been sounding the alarm for years. Journalist Radley Balko has noted the nexus between the drug war and police militarization in his writing, while the ACLU’s June 2014 report on this issue noted that from 2011-2012, 62% of swat teams were deployed for for drug searches.

“This legislation is a thoughtful attempt at tackling a very worrying problem – the militarization of law enforcement,” Collins continued. “The Pentagon program is highly problematic because preferential treatment is given to those police forces that use their equipment to fight the drug war. This bill would end that, and move us away from a heavy-handed approach to drug policy,” stated Collins.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

Also from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

Yesterday House Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act to reform Program 1033, which provides military equipment to local law enforcement. The bill would increase oversight, decrease the use of the program’s use in counterdrug operations, and ban certain types of equipment from being distributed to local police forces. As evidenced by a recent ACLU report, the majority of SWAT raids in which this equipment are now used for drug searches.

“Very occasionally and with proper oversight and training, the use of some military equipment is appropriate—school shootings, terrorist situations and the like,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “But when it’s routinely used against nonviolent drug offenders, it only serves to further strain police-community relations so vital to preventing and solving violent crime. This bill will correct some of the worst excesses of a potentially useful program hijacked by the war on drugs.”

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on the same subject last week after the death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri triggered protests that inspired a police response that briefly shone a global spotlight on the issue. LEAP advisory board member and retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper was invited to contribute written testimony to those hearings.

“How a law enforcement agency is organized—not just the work it does on the streets—gives rise to and shapes an imposing workplace culture…” Stamper wrote. “Given the federal government’s generosity in distributing military equipment… we have seen even tiny, rural police departments transformed into small armies, their peace officers converted into soldiers… It is no wonder that so many Americans believe their local cops have become an occupying force, military in appearance, military in demeanor, military in tactics.”

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of law enforcement officers opposed to the war on drugs.

  • Jetdoc

    I’m sorry, but that sounds a lot like “Lip Service”. Let’s quit using this WORD cuz it gives a negative connotation. We’re not gonna QUIT doing this, were just gonna call it something else! You wanna make a DENT in this problem? Legalize marijuana and 90% of these things will NEVER be practical for a local Police Dept. They’re NOT practical NOW, but the Failed War on Drugs has brought us to this point.

    Quit treating the SYMPTOMS and treat the PROBLEM! STOP the FAILED WAR ON DRUGS and this problem will take care of itself!

  • Doc Deadhead

    A couple days ago my cousin heard a helicopter outside his house and within moments a whole host of heavy trucks and cop cars stormed in his driveway and over 10 officers jumped out and grabbed my cousin and put him in cuffs and started searching the premises. This was the H.U.N.T. team(Huron Undercover Narcotics Team) in northeast Michigan.

    He(my cousin) demanded they stay out of his house without a warrant and they threatened him with a total eradication of everything on his property if he didn’t give them complete access(coercion). They were complete assholes to him and his family and finally after my cousin had to give up his rights to privacy did they search the place and found nothing wrong or illegal.

    This all started when they flew over his place and saw marijuana plants in the backyard enclosed in a fenced and secured area. We are allowed to grow outside in Michigan as long as it is unseen by neighbors and secured.

    In the first place THE FLY OVER IS ILLEGAL SEARCH, they cannot search your property from the air, if they do, they cannot use anything they see against you in order to obtain a warrant. THAT’S WHY THEY SHOWED UP WITHOUT A WARRANT.

    In the second place they could have called the Michigan licensing and regulation dept. and asked if a medical marijuana grow was allowed at that address and the dept would have responded with a yes. At that point they would not be able to enter without probable cause, hence the reason they didn’t call.

    This crap has to stop.

    They cannot act like this to LAW ABIDING CITIZENS.

    10’s of thousands of dollars were spent that day for those idiots to fly around the county and act like ground troops invading Irag. WITH NO ARRESTS all day they stormed the properties of dozens of LAW ABIDING CITIZENS wasting a huge amount of resources tryng to catch a pothead with a plant.

    If any attorney reading this would like to take on a lawsuit of illegal search and entry, putting cuffs on a guy without being arrested and coercion please respond here and let’s force these idiots to stop.

    Maybe a lawsuit will force these idiots TO OBEY THE LAW.

    They expect us to obey the law…..WHY DON’T THEY HAVE TO?

    • Jetdoc

      Go to one of those websites where you ask for funding. Ordinary people across the world, will donate money to help you pay for your venture. Whatever that venture may be. People would jump ALL OVER this story IMHO. It shouldn’t take long to get the money for an attorney honestly.

      Jus sayin…

      • Doc Deadhead

        we have the money for an attorney, just don’t have an attorney around here with the balls to go to bat for a pot reason

        Have found out since…an ‘informant’ told the local sherrifs office that my cousin was growing illegally(just cause he was pissed at my cousin), so the sherrif contacted the H.U.N.T. team for the raid WITHOUT calling the LARA/MMMP to find out if a caregiver was registered at the address and did the fly over without a warrant.

        From what I understand there is a lawsuit possible for the Sherrif’s office using wrong or misleading information to do a flyover(violation of the 4th amendment)

        They had the opportunity to do things according to the law but chose to do whatever they wanted “cause they are at war” and most potheads don’t fight back.

    • reefer

      So being a legal patient and owning property(I dream of having my own land) they still can just storm in and steal your medicine?!? I always assumed THAT way would be much safer than guerrilla growing. What a travesty. I know that no amount of money in the world can replace your loss. I’m sorry to read this. May next year be a blessed one for you.