Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Past Time to Demilitarize Police and Sheriff’s Departments

militarized police - pexels-photo
Militarized police (photo: pexels.com)

*In June 2016 following the mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida nightclub, George Hofstetter, President of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, issued a terse statement.

He boasted that law enforcement in Orlando was able to take the shooter down because the officers had a big array of military weapons, armature, and equipment at the ready. The problem is that military weaponry is costly, deadly, and in the hands of a lot of officers. That weaponry can be used not just against crazed mass shooters but against civilians deemed threats as well.

In the past decade, the L.A. County Sheriffs has gone on a big spending spree to arm itself to the teeth with automatic weapons, body armor, high tech sniper rifles, assault rifles, and mini tanks. The department is not an ordinary police department but a department that can conduct high-tech, modern military-style policing. It has the trappings of a paramilitary force.

The LAPD for years has taken fierce heat for abuse, misconduct, and dubious killings. It is the target of nearly all the mass protests and demonstrations. It has been the subject of multiple blue-ribbon commission investigations over its repressive police methods and abuse. Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Department has flown way under the public and media radar scope and escaped public scrutiny. Despite a handful of budget cuts over the past year, the department is still by far the single biggest agency soaking up county spending. It rakes in more than 10 percent of the county’s overall $35 billion-plus annual budget. It quietly spends a lot of those dollars on weapons of military destruction.

This article continues at The Hutchinson Report.

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