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Our Communities Are Not warzones
By ACLU / aclu.org
Aug 26, 2014

Our communities are not warzones

Update: On August 23rd, President Obama called for a review of federal programs that fund and incentivize wartime arsenals for local police forces. Help us keep up the pressure: tell the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice to stop funding the militarization of police.

On August 9th, local police fatally shot an unarmed African-American 18-year-old named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the days that followed, there have been massive protests in Ferguson and heavily armed SWAT teams are roaming the streets in response. Our communities are not warzones.

And yet the police, armed to the teeth, treat us like the enemy, especially if we're black, young, poor or homeless. Tanks are rolling through our towns. What will it take for police to start protecting communities of color, not waging war on them?

The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice are funneling billions of dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies every year to help them purchase military weaponry and equipment. What business do DOD, DHS, and DOJ have funding a war here at home?

With our country’s long history of aggressive policing in communities of color, it shouldn’t surprise us that these wartime tools and tactics are hitting poor and black neighborhoods hardest. To start undoing the damage, the feds need to stop funding this war.

Good policing is about trust, which has been severely eroded through the use of excessive force and police brutality. If police forces across America continue to militarize and treat communities of color as the enemy, they will increasingly be seen as an occupying army.

Stopping the funding and incentivizing of police militarization is a crucial first step to ending this war.

Tell the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice: Stop funding the siege on communities of color.

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Our Communities Are Not warzones