Police Departments Have Received Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Military Equipment Since Ferguson – By John Templon (Buzzfeed) / June 4 2020
The Defense Department’s “1033” military-equipment program has come under heavy scrutiny, but local law enforcement are continuing to receive supplies.
Police wearing full-body riot gear are driving armored vehicles through the streets of America’s cities in response to the protests across the nation sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The scenes recall the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over another police killing, when public outcry over what appeared to be a massively disproportionate show of force brought scrutiny to a federal program that transfers unused military equipment to local law enforcement. The Ferguson Police Department was a beneficiary of that Department of Defense arrangement, known as the 1033 program.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images – Police tactical vehicles are seen parked at the police command center after protests and riots along Florissant Avenue in response to Michael Brown’s shooting by a police officer, Aug. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri.
But despite pledges from public officials including then-president Barack Obama to review and restrict the program, the spigot of battlefield-caliber heavy equipment never stopped flowing.
Since Ferguson, in fact, local law enforcement agencies have received more than $850 million worth of equipment through the DoD program, according to a BuzzFeed News analysis of federal data. The 1033 program is broad and includes a wide range of supplies (some of the gear is as benign as coffee makers), but the haul also includes heavily armored personnel carriers, aircraft, ammunition, and other military equipment.