RIA NOVOSTI 10/15/14
NEW YORK, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – The Pentagon should ditch plans to gift 13,000 armored Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles to US police and avoid further militarization of American communities, Friends Committee on National Legislation analyst Michael Shank told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“Given that the Pentagon has 13,000 MRAPs to give away, the time is now to change the way we police America before hundreds of thousands of more pieces of military gear go to main streets across America,” Shank stated.
“The Pentagon transfers military-grade equipment used in US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere to police forces and has gifted over $5 billion-worth of gear to US police since the late 1990s, when the scheme started,” Shank continued.
Shank added that in addition to MRAP vehicles, the arsenal of military transfers includes armored personnel carriers, tanks, Humvees, grenade launchers, armed drones and assault weapons.
Police in the US state of Missouri were blasted for using military-grade weapons to quell protests after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, on August 9.
Tensions in St. Louis are also high after another black teenager, Vonderrit Myers, was shot dead by a police officer, also white, last week. Police said the 18-year-old Myers shot at the officer, whereas the parents of the killed say he was a victim of racial profiling.