Last week we launched a campaign to pressure members of the House Armed Services Committee to include an amendment from Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) in the National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment would have effectively ended the transfer of military equipment to local police departments—a practice that is common through something called the 1033 Program.
The 1033 program is directly responsible for increasing police militarization. A direct link has been made between police receiving military equipment from the 1033 program and them using deadly force against those they are ostensibly meant to “protect and serve.” Police departments that receive military equipment kill more civilians each year. A study found “when a county goes from receiving no military equipment to $2,539,767 worth (the largest figure that went to one agency in our data), more than twice as many civilians are likely to die in that county the following year.”
Sadly, the amendment did not end up being included in the annual defense policy bill. But do not despair. We were only one vote away from it being included, which shows that there is growing consensus that police militarization is harming our communities and we need to disband the 1033 program to stop it.