President Trump is planning to fully militarize local police forces, allowing them to take and use armored vehicles, high-caliber weapons and other kinds of heavy equipment that were once used in the U.S. military, USA Today reported Sunday.
The Obama administration initially banned the practice after Ferguson police used military equipment and tactics against protestors following the shooting of Michael Brown three years ago.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they’re an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said in announcing the ban in 2015.
USA Today added:
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to address the annual meeting of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, and he may outline the program changes there.
The action would restore “the full scope of a longstanding program for recycling surplus, lifesaving gear from the Department of Defense, along with restoring the full scope of grants used to purchase this type of equipment from other sources,” administration officials wrote in a document obtained by USA Today.
“Assets that would otherwise be scrapped can be re-purposed to help state, local and tribal law enforcement better protect public safety and reduce crime.”
Trump encouraged officers to rough up suspects during a rally last month.
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddywagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,” Trump said.