Police Became More Militarized In This Way

Militarized Police with guns drawn in front of doors
William Anderson
July 28, 2020

The uprising in Ferguson made a lot of people ask questions about the police. One of those questions was: Why do the cops look like military soldiers? The issue came up again during uprisings following the killing of George Floyd. The answer lies in a sinister government program.

President Reagan’s “war on drugs” led to policy shifts to make the police more like the military. The 1033 program, as we know it today, came to life during the first Bush Administration, and was expanded by the Clinton Administration. This changed everything.

Under the program, cops got grenade launchers, assault rifles, and armored vehicles, among other things. These new weapons increased aggression and brought more violence.

Raids, much like the ones that killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Breonna Taylor, increased. Then President Obama came along. Did he get rid of the program?

Not really. The Obama Administration banned certain gear issued under 1033 - but it was just a “publicity stunt.” Six of the seven items Obama prohibited hadn’t been distributed for years! 

Police also don’t just depend on 1033. They can buy gear themselves, showing a shift we can’t ignore.

Because of racism in policing, Black communities will always be a testing ground for the militaristic violence we want OUT of our neighborhoods.

This militarization is embedded in the mindset of police officers, and buying all this military gear is part of why they need to be defunded!

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