Demilitarizing the Police: Senate Bill Necessary to Move Forward on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 passed by the House (H.R. 7120)
by Robin Hathaway and Tilly Gaillard
Email Script for your Senate members
I am ___ your constituent who lives in ______ but votes absentee in ______ (zip code, city, state). I am writing you to create a Senate bill comparable to H.R.7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, passed previously in the House.
Since 1990 the Defense Logistics Agency has overseen the free distribution of approximately $7 billion worth of surplus military supplies and equipment to nearly 3,000 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in a program known as “1033,” which refers to the numbered section of the 1997 Defense bill that granted authority to the Secretary of Defense to transfer defense material to non-military law enforcement. In other words, the Defense Department has been providing weapons meant for war to be freely disseminated across America available and used against Americans. Between 2006-2015, 8,000 military vehicles, 471 helicopters, 83,000 M16 or M14 rifles, 57 grenade launchers, and more than 5,000 bayonets moved into law enforcement hands thus militarizing civilian agencies within our country. This is clearly dangerous for our democracy.
In October 2014, after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, there was ensuing unrest where local police deployed military weaponry against U.S. citizens. It was at that moment that lawmakers should have mandated a moratorium on the 1033 program, and it was clear that the misuse of such equipment could do irreparable harm to citizens and community trust in law enforcement agencies.
By the end of the Obama Administration, the Pentagon stated that 126 tracked armored vehicles, 138 grenade launchers, and 1,623 bayonets had been returned to the federal government.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump reversed the progress made under Obama, and once again the government allows for indiscriminate distribution of military warfare equipment to law enforcement agencies across the country. I believe that allowing military weaponry to be used across this nation without guidance, regulations or policies is inappropriate, irresponsible, hazardous, and un-American. It also has lead to fraud and waste and even military equipment passing into civilian society totally unregulated. This contributes to fear and mistrust among the population, with reason!
Therefore, as your constituent, I strongly urge you to cosponsor and support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to stop the dangerous transfer of military supplies without proper safeguards and supervision.
Call script for Senators:
I am______ your constituent ________________________ I live in _______________ and vote in _____________________. I am calling because it is time to create a Senate bill comparable to H.R.7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, passed previously in the House.
You can see by the continuous protests all over this country that many things need to be changed. One of them is taking dangerous, inappropriate military equipment off of our streets, out of our communities. The Defense Logistics Agency has overseen the free distribution of approximately $7 billion worth of “surplus” military supplies to 3,000 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in America.
In January 2015 President Obama issued Executive Order (EO)13688 to stop the dissemination of much of this “warfare” equipment and to insist on supervision, evaluation, accountability, and transparency for equipment still distributed. Trump revoked Obama's EO in August 2017.
It is important to reinstate those protections and I ask you to find other Senators who understand this and create a comparable bill to HR and re-instituted these changes and protections. It is obviously time to pay attention to police enforcement of law and order and time to reduce the level of violence possible with weapons of war on our American streets.
Therefore, as your constituent, I strongly urge you to propose legislation for a bill comparable to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to stop the dangerous transfer of military supplies without proper safeguards and supervision. Thank you, ______________________