"Shutting down public protests of escalating police violence with armored vehicles intended for the battlefield is turning our cities into war zones."
Ian Schlakman - Green Party candidate for United States House of Representatives in Maryland's 2nd District - calls on Congress to end the practice of giving surplus military equipment to local authorities for arming small-town police forces.
"We should not be militarizing our police forces. In Congress, I would introduce legislation to end this practice. Events currently unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri show exactly what happens when small-town police use the military-grade equipment they are given by the federal government. Congress started this program and it needs to end it."
In Ferguson, several days of public protests over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager have escalated into a police siege including military-style equipment and weaponry.
"Local police forces are being equipped beyond what is necessary to maintain order in small, typically peaceful communities," said Schlakman, referencing a recent New York Times investigation that notes that local officials make requests for surplus military equipment based on 'worst-case scenarios' but actually use it in day-to-day operations such as raids on unlicensed retail shops.
"Shutting down public protests of escalating police violence with armored vehicles intended for the battlefield is turning our cities into war zones. In Congress, I will work to put a stop to this increasing militarization."