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Why America’s police look like soldiers



Why are the police bringing military assault rifles to protests? And where did they get them?

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Across the country, Americans protesting racial injustice and police brutality – the overwhelming majority of them peacefully – have been met by police forces that look more like an army. Officers have shown up to protests with riot gear, armored trucks, and military rifles. This is what America’s police now look like, and it’s the result of a decades-long buildup of military equipment among the country’s police departments. It began as a Reagan-era program to give police departments more resources to fight the War on Drugs, and has escalated ever since. Today, the idea of a militarized police force is baked into how American police see themselves.

Read more about the history of police militarization:
https://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/overkill-rise-paramilitary-police-raids-america

More on the history of the 1033 program:
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR2400/RR2464/RAND_RR2464.pdf

And read more of Arthur Rizer’s research here:
https://www.rstreet.org/2020/05/26/the-evolution-of-modern-use-of-force-policies-and-the-need-for-professionalism-in-policing/

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