The House of Representatives has voted down Amendment Which would have banned the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.
The amendment’s failure came as a surprise Thursday of lawmakers refusing to make minor reforms to address police brutality.
NS Amendment For the National Defense Authorization Act, introduced by Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), aims to reform the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which allows the military to transfer its “extra” assets to police departments across the country. If passed, the amendment prohibits the transfer of certain types of combat gear — including firearms, military vehicles and aircraft — and requires the military to recall some it already supplied to police Was.
“This is completely unacceptable and these Democrats who twice supported this provision in the George Floyd Justice in Policing bill should be held accountable for siding with police unions today rather than with their own constituents, who are fighting the war. Calling to obtain weapons and military equipment. streets,” said Yasmin Tayeb, a human rights lawyer and progressive strategist who is part of a coalition effort to end the 1033 program.
A day before the vote, the National Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to House leaders on both sides urging them to vote against Johnson’s amendment, falsely claiming that the equipment sent to the police was “demilitarized” and that there were no examples of equipment. are not misused.
Language in Johnson’s amendment had already been approved by the House as part of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a police accountability bill. died in the Senate After failed bipartisan talks earlier this week. The bill was named after the man who was murdered last year by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking nationwide protests.
More than a year after Floyd’s death, Congress has failed to make meaningful legislative changes to the police system. Democrats have blamed Republicans for the stability, while refusing to eliminate the filibuster, which could potentially allow them to pass reform along party lines. With the collapse of the Police Accountability Bill, the NDAA – which is supposed to have essentially passed legislation – had the best chance to address the 1033 program in the near future.
When President Joe Biden came into office earlier this year, he Signal He will sign an executive order on January 26 reinstating minor improvements to President Barack Obama’s 1033 program. But 26 January came and went without the President taking any action on the issue. A few days later, the National Association of Police Organizations suggested The result was the result of his lobbying efforts.
Under 1033, the army sent over $7 billion Cost of equipment for police departments across the country. that involve 335 helicopters, 1,126 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, 2,921 Humvees and about 60,000 assault rifles. Just in the last one year, approx. $90 million in military equipment Has flown from the army to the police. With the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Army likely to have more equipment soon To take off on local law enforcement. By July, the army had caught 984 C-17 Cargo Aircraft Loaded of material from Afghanistan.
Police departments receiving military equipment often claim that they only use it in extreme, worst-case scenarios. but documents received by It was shown earlier this year that police departments routinely respond to protests with military equipment and request routine police actions such as stopping traffic, issuing search warrants, or responding to threats of suicide or domestic violence. Documents also show that the Pentagon immediately seals these requests. In 2017, the Government Accountability Office created a fake federal agency To test the military’s security measures on the transfer of its equipment to law enforcement agencies. The counterfeiting agency was able to obtain equipment worth $1.2 million.
There is evidence that the influx of military equipment makes police officers more violent: a 2017 Study A “positive and statistically significant association” was found between the 1033 transfers and the deaths caused by shootings by police officers.
Getting rid of 1033 is popular among voters: a majority of Democrats and Republicans support making it illegal for government agencies to transfer military weapons to police departments, 2020 data for progress survey met.
Johnson’s amendment was one of the four proposed amendments For NDAA which sought to abolish or ban 1033. The amendments offered a variety of solutions ranging from complete Elimination of program narrow Attempt To limit transfers. johnson Amendment, which would have banned transfers but included some carvings, was the only one to get the vote. Unlike some other amendments, Johnson’s amendment was explicitly retroactive, meaning the military would be required to withdraw equipment that has already been sent to police departments.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) has publicly supported efforts to reform 1033, but advocates familiar with the process say he has tried to protect weaker Democrats from voting on the issue. worked for privately. Smith’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The amendment demonstration was the latest in a years-long effort to limit the transfer of military equipment to the police. johnson is presenting law alone on this issue since 2014. Following protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, Obama signed an executive order that placed some limits on the program. The executive order prohibited the Pentagon from handing over certain types of equipment such as weaponized aircraft and grenade launchers – which the Pentagon had not provided since 1999. The order also required police that requested armored vehicles to submit a letter of justification, a declaration that they were appropriately trained, and a declaration that their local governing body signed the request.
President Donald Trump reversed the ban on the transfer of certain types of equipment shortly after entering office. He couldn’t touch the paperwork requirements because by then Congress had passed them into law.
But the documents received show that the paperwork is not much secure. Many agencies were able to testify that they were properly trained to operate military equipment by writing “yes” to questions. And the Pentagon does not appear to have closely scrutinized law enforcement’s letters of justification. The sheriff of Boone County, Indiana — which is landlocked and more than 300 miles from the Canadian border — received the MRAP in 2019 after claiming the vehicle was needed for a “border patrol.”