Demilitarize Local Police Departments

In response to peaceful demonstrations against the police execution of Michael Brown, an unarmed, African American teenager, the police in Ferguson, MO, declared a neighborhood full of heartbroken mourners a "war zone" and escalated tensions unbearably. The police have the responsibility to respect the lives and constitutional rights of every person; they do not have the right to declare war on the public and the federal government must stop giving them the means.

"Bring it. You f***ing animals, bring it," one white officer said on video to the mostly African American mourners. This situation is a failure of good governance, and the attitudes that led to the shooting of an unarmed teen -- and the brutalization of his community with tear gas, threats, wooden "baton" rounds, beatings and arrests without cause -- must not be emboldened by military-grade weapons and armored cars. Our communities and police would all be better protected by bonds of friendship than by hostile officers issuing taunts from behind combat armor and pointing rifles in everyone's faces like they're playing a first-person shooter game.

Send the letter asking your representatives to pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, and put an end to the practice of giving surplus military hardware to local U.S. police departments. Our neighborhoods are not weapons dumps.

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