Democratic Congressmen to Introduce Police Anti-Militarization Bill

Source: Sahil Kapur/TalkingPoints Memo

Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson proposed legislation on Thursday aimed at demilitarizing domestic police forces, amid national criticism of heavily armed cops going after protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

“Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s,” the Democratic congressman wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter to members of Congress. “Unfortunately … our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces.”

The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act would prevent the transfer of certain military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense to local law enforcement agencies. That includes some automatic weapons, armored vehicles, armored drones, silencers and flash-bang or stun grenades.

Johnson boasted endorsements from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, American Civil Liberties Union and Defending Dissent Foundation.

“Before another small town’s police force gets a $700,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can’t maintain or manage, it behooves us to reign in the Pentagon’s 1033 program and revisit the merits of a militarized America. I hope we can work together on this important issue,” he wrote to colleagues.

Johnson will formally introduce the bill in September when Congress returns from summer recess, his office told TPM

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