Demilitarize the police

In the past few weeks, millions of Americans watched local police using weapons of war — armored vehicles, high-caliber rifles, drones, low-flying aircraft — to attack protesters and journalists at peaceful demonstrations and marches across the country.

It’s alarming, but local law enforcement agencies can obtain surplus military weapons and equipment through the Pentagon’s 1033 program.

After a similar escalation of force at protests against police brutality in 2014, President Obama took action to limit this program. But Donald Trump reversed his order in 2017, once again opening the floodgates of military gear into our communities.

There are many things we must do to end systemic racism, stop police brutality, and heal our communities. But one of the most important first steps we can take right now is to demilitarize the police. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to end the 1033 program. Will you join me?

Add your name to our petition calling on Congress to end the 1033 program. Weapons of war don’t belong on our streets.

Research shows that arming local police with military equipment fundamentally changes the mentality of cops, prompting them to act more aggressively. Just look at how police in Minneapolis referred to large-scale protests across the city: “urban warfare.”

Local law enforcement agencies often use military gear to execute routine warrants and raids. Tens of thousands of raids are completed each year across the country — disproportionately in Black and Latinx communities, overwhelmingly for the execution of drug warrants — and often leading to tragic, unnecessary fatalities like the recent killing of Breonna Taylor.

Thankfully, there is broad, bipartisan support behind ending the 1033 program. And while there is still so much to do in shifting our emphasis toward solving problems in ways that don’t rely on policing and incarceration as the first option we use, this is an important start — but only if we convert this energy into action.

Will you add your name to our petition calling on Congress to end the 1033 program? Our communities will not heal if we treat them like a battlefield.


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