Target: United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Goal: Stop the militarization of police forces following unnecessary violence at protest
A small suburb in Missouri is outraged after a peaceful protest following a young man’s death was met with unnecessary violence, force and intimidation by the town’s police force.
Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old from Ferguson, Missouri, plead for his life before being violently shot to death by an officer from the town’s police force. The predominantly African-American suburb, located north of St. Louis, is controlled by a predominantly Caucasian police force who, according to its residents, use a military-like mentality to handle criminal offenses in the area. When residents and journalists gathered peacefully to protest Brown’s death, they were attacked by police officers wielding rifles, firing tear gas, riding in military tanks and shooting rubber bullets.
Although there were reports of looting, the church-organized gathering was largely nonviolent and peaceful, with protesters marching with their hands above their heads to assure police that they were not armed or dangerous. The unsettling trend of the militarization of America’s police forces are due in part to a federal program (From Warfighter to Crimefighter), spearheaded by the Pentagon, which allows the Department of Defense to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars worth of high-powered military equipment to police forces all across the country.
From the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson to the murderous choke hold dished out to Eric Garner in New York, police forces across America are assaulting, killing and intimidating innocent people, with no accountability or punishment. To say this is unacceptable is an understatement, as the Pentagon encourages local police forces to adopt a shoot-to-kill mentality and exercise unnecessary power against the harmless.
This national epidemic of the militarization of police must end now. Sign the petition to urge Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, to stop the distribution of military grade products to police forces in our country.
Dear Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel,
I am shocked, appalled, and utterly disappointed in the actions that the Pentagon has played in the deaths of innocent people in our country. A peaceful protest of 18-year-old Mike Brown’s death, in Ferguson, Missouri, was not the place for military grade weapons, tanks, teargas canisters or bullets. Despite claims from Ferguson’s police force, the detainment of journalists and attack on the citizens of Ferguson was highly unnecessary and is an unfortunate example of the militarization of our country’s police forces.
These men and women were not going into battle nor were they threatened, to any extent, that justified their firing shots into a crowd of people to protect themselves. This extreme megalomania is a sad reminder of how our people’s basic right to peaceful assembly and free speech has been undermined tenfold. With that being said, I urge you to understand how detrimental police actions have been towards freedoms of assembly, press, and speech. I also encourage you to stop putting deadly, military grade weapons, into the hands of police officers and start holding officers accountable for brutality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: soldiersmediacenter via everystockphoto