The practice of transferring military equipment to local police departments is coming under increasing scrutiny by lawmakers incensed over images emanating from Ferguson, Missouri.
The use of military-style weaponry in the St. Louis suburb, deployed in the wake of demonstrations over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, sparked stern condemnations from lawmakers in both parties this week. Now lawmakers say they are going to do something about it.
On Friday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the Senate will “review” the Defense Department program that allows military weaponry to trickle down to police departments small and large across the country. Congress’s “1033” program allows the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement, such as the armored vehicles seen on the streets of Ferguson as well as machine guns, magazines and grenade launchers.