The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas today condemned President Donald Trump’s promised executive order allowing the federal government to give police departments certain military equipment—such as grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons, and armored vehicles—through the Department of Defense 1033 program and other federal programs.
President Barack Obama had stopped the federal government from providing these weapons and vehicles to police through the 1033 program and others in a 2015 executive order.
A 2014 Freedom of Information request by the ACLU of Arkansas revealed local law enforcement agencies in the state had obtained more than $23 million worth of military equipment through the DOD’s 1033 program, including 18 mine resistant tanks, 898 rifles, and 4 hydraulic rams.
Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas executive director, had this reaction to the president’s executive order:
“Weapons of war have no place in our neighborhoods or in the hands of local police officers, especially when the federal government provides no oversight or accountability for this inventory or its usage. Encouraging local law enforcement agencies to use military-grade weaponry against their own citizens does nothing to improve safety or strengthen the relationship between communities and the police. We urge local law enforcement agencies in Arkansas to refuse to participate in this dangerous and counterproductive program that puts our communities at risk.”