Tag Archives: MRAP

Police Departments Upset with Obama for Seizing MRAPs, Bayonets, Grenade Launchers

An executive order signed by Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama in an effort to de-militarize law enforcement agencies in response to the unrest in Ferguson is frustrating police officials across the country.

According to WMAZ-TV, President Obama’s order mandates that local police departments who have obtained grenade launchers, tracked armored vehicles, and bayonets through the Department of Defense’s 1033 surplus military equipment program must return them by April of 2016.

Walton County, Ga. Sheriff Joe Chapman, whose department had to return an armored personnel carrier, said, “It takes a layer of protection away from my deputies. There are nuts out there with weapons they shouldn’t have and my deputies have to go up against these people every day. It limits us. It puts at a disadvantage.

[RELATED: Billionaire Koch Brothers Fund Campaign Against Police Militarization]

Oakland County, Mich. Sheriff Michael Bouchard told Detroit Free Press, “We’re actually taking away a proven asset from law enforcement all over the country, destroying on many levels our ability to handle a very big situation, any situation like Paris. Those are going to be handled by the local police and this is the type of equipment needed.

According to WFMJ-TV, Mahoning County, Ohio Sheriff Jerry Greene said, “At a time when police are facing war zones on the streets with criminals and terrorists using semi automatic weapons to murder unarmed men, women, and children, or detonating bombs like in the attack at the Boston Marathon, law enforcement should be given every tool in the arsenal to help keep communities safe. In many ways, I feel like law enforcement is being thrown under the bus as you know we are living in a different world with the things happening with ISIS and all of that, first responders do need to be prepared.”

In comments cited by CNN explaining his rationale behind issuing the executive order, President Obama said, “We’ve seen how militarized gear [used by local police] can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them. It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message.

In December of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing how local law enforcement agencies were obtaining battlefield-ready military weapons and training from the DOD. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Truth in Media Project Exposes The Root of Police Militarization

Cincinnati, OH- Wednesday, December 10, 2014 Ben Swann and the Truth in Media Project will release their latest crowdfunded investigation. This story will expose the root of police militarization and why even if the Department of Defense 1033 program comes to an end, militarization will not.

Sign up below to have the episode sent directly to your inbox on December 10th.

Davis, CA City Council Votes to Dispose of Its Military-Style MRAP Vehicle

The police crackdown on protesters in Ferguson, MO shocked the nation, and the political consequences are beginning to take hold. Two weeks ago, the Davis, CA Police Department received a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle through the Department of Defense’s surplus military equipment program. However, residents of Davis, a city near Sacramento, responded with widespread protest, circulating a petition demanding that officials get rid of the tank-like armored truck that was built to sustain blasts from improvised explosive devices and mines on faraway battlefields in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. CBS Sacramento is reporting that the Davis City Council passed a resolution last Tuesday ordering police to get rid of the vehicle within 60 days, citing concerns that it could be used against peaceful protesters.

Davis Police Chief Landry Black pushed back, saying that the department might need the MRAP, considering the fact that police have seized high-powered weapons from suspects in the past. Robb Davis parried in a powerful speech that can be seen in the above-embedded video, saying, “This symbolizes the most destructive force on the planet which is the US military. I think we have to acknowledge that.” He also said to Chief Landry Black, “I appreciate the trust that you’ve built in this community… this will hurt it.”

Citizens’ concerns over civil rights won the day, as Tuesday’s council meeting was packed with protesters who demanded that the military vehicle be given away or destroyed as soon as possible. Local residents gathered 299 signatures on their petition expressing opposition to the MRAP being used by police in Davis.

Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis acknowledged that the city does need to be prepared for events like mass shootings, but said, “I don’t think there’s going to be a scenario by which this vehicle will be acceptable to me or to this community.” He proposed a motion “that we look at the solutions [to mass shootings] that do not represent repurposing of a military vehicle to face them and we hold public participatory forums to publicly share ideas on the options.”

Councilman Brett Lee was the only member of the body to vote against the resolution, saying, according to Davis Vanguard, “To just return it, without actually having had [a discussion on whether or not the vehicle is necessary]… if we return it, then we don’t have the ability to get it back. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Davis Mayor Dan Wolk expressed concerns that acquiring the MRAP sends the wrong message to the community following an embarrassing 2011 incident, captured in a photo which became a viral internet meme, in which a UC Davis police officer pepper sprayed seated Occupy Wall Street protesters. He referred to the pepper spray fiasco as “an overreaction by the police and law enforcement.”

Local activists are hailing the vote as a victory for civil liberties and a first step in fighting back against police militarization. However, protesters plan to continue to pressure the council to make sure that the MRAP is disposed of within the agreed-upon 60-day period.