Subject: Why do our local police need a tank? ACLU Launches Nationwide Police Militarization Investigation
Subject: Why do our local police need a tank?
Dear friends across the US,
When our local police throw a “flashbang” grenade onto a sleeping seven-year-old child, something’s gone horribly wrong. Our police are being given military equipment they don’t need and they are using it on citizens. A campaign is on to expose this scandal -- sign now and share to force our local cops to come clean:
Sign the petition
Aiyana Stanley-Jones was seven-years-old when a Detroit police SWAT team surrounded her house and threw a “flashbang” grenade through her window which landed on her blanket. Then they stormed the home she was staying in with her grandmother and shot Aiyana in the head. The military pyrotechnics made for good footage for the television crew that recorded the incident for a police reality show.
What happened to Aiyana is horrifying and it's a sign of a frightening trend sweeping America. Our cops are outfitting themselves with military style weapons and using war tactics in our neighborhoods often to tragic results -- worse yet, this is being encouraged by the federal government. Little is known about the reach of these programs but now we can do something to change that: the ACLU launched an effort this week to expose the true scope of the militarization of policing in America and the impact it is having on our communities.
They filed legal requests with 255 law enforcement agencies around the country to disclose just how many tanks, armored personnel carriers and battlefield tactics they’re using and how they’re being used. But unless the police feel public pressure, many could refuse to respond. So let’s put some heat on the heat -- sign the petition now demanding our police departments comply with these requests and share with others:
In the late 1960s, as a way to deal with urban riots, the Los Angeles Police Department started developing and deploying elite police teams designed to perform like Army Rangers or Navy SEALs to defuse highly explosive and complicated situations where public safety was at risk. In the last generation, these so-called SWAT teams have spread to police departments around the country. But now, they’re not just used for uniquely dangerous situations, they’re deployed every day in our neighborhoods for tasks like serving warrants on non-violent offenders, introducing terrifyingly violent force into situations that never call for it.
What’s more, beginning in the Reagan Administration, the military started training police forces in warfighting tactics, and the Pentagon started supplying them with surplus military equipment. Police in New Hampshire recently received a BearCat armored counter-attack vehicle, admitting they’d lied on the application to get it but noting "what red-blooded American cop isn't going to be excited about getting a toy like this?"
The militarization of our police is having devastating consequences. Aiyana is not the only victim. Using military equipment and tactics in our communities create overly aggressive policing that raises the risk of violence. And it’s being done largely in secret. It’s time we knew more. Let’s back the ACLU’s effort to expose this disturbing trend. Sign now and share with others. When we reach 50,000 signatures, our petitions will be presented to every police department that resists coming clean:
Avaaz members have come together time and again across the world to push back on abuses by law enforcement. Just this month, we helped force law enforcement authorities in Somalia to punish a rapist instead of his victim. Now let’s come together again with the leading civil liberties organization in the US to kick military policing off of our streets.
With hope and determination,
Ian, Alice, Ricken, David, Luis and the whole Avaaz team
The Militarization of Policing in America (ACLU)
ACLU Launches Nationwide Police Militarization Investigation (Huffington Post)
What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones? (Mother Jones)