A day before a subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill is slated to look into police militarization, a short film has been released, documenting how the Pentagon has flooded small town police forces with tanks and equipment capable of waging war.
This issue came to the fore last month when protests in Ferguson, Missouri, turned violent after local officers showed up in full SWAT gear following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri will chair a subcommittee hearing tomorrow on Capitol Hill looking into police militarization.
Some facts supplied by Brave New Films, which produced the film, has produced a series of short videos, and touts its “quick-strike capability that informs the public, challenges corporate media with the truth, and motivates people to take action on social issues nationwide”:
• Pentagon’s Excess Property Program (1033 Program) has supplied police departments across the country with more than $4.3 billion in gear since 1997. This includes $449 million in 2013.
• St. Louis County, where Ferguson is located, received two military vehicles, a trailer, a generator, 12 5.56-millimeter rifles and six .45 caliber pistols from the Pentagon.
• Military style police raids have increased in recent years, with one count putting the number at 80,000 such raids last year.
• In SWAT-style raids, people of color are most affected – 37% were Black, 12% Latino, and 19% White. Race was not known for the remainder.