Target: Dan Wolk, Mayor of Davis, California
Goal: Applaud city’s initiative to remove armored military vehicles from police arsenal
The city council of Davis, California has recently ordered the city’s police force to get rid of a mine-resistant military vehicle after mass resident complaints. The police will have 60 days to remove the vehicle, worth $700,000, which was provided to the city police for free through a Pentagon military surplus program. The vehicle’s arrival caused an uproar with residents who brought a large crowd to a city council meeting, stating that the vehicle is unnecessary and demanding its removal from the city.
Recent developments in Ferguson, Missouri have made the dangers of police militarization apparent. Unnecessary violence and wrongful arrests against protesters, journalists, and bystanders captured the attention of the media worldwide. Some Ferguson law enforcement officials are now facing lawsuits from citizens who were shot with rubber bullets, pepper sprayed, and beaten.
While the police say that the new vehicle is needed for tactical defense reasons in high risk situations, residents fear that it could be used to quell protests in the city. Council members will now work with the police department to re-purpose the vehicle, and will also take a close look at the police department’s military equipment acquisitions policy.
Militarizing the police force could lead to the police endangering the very citizens they are sworn to protect, like we have seen recently with Ferguson, and in 2011 in New York City with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Especially with growing instances of police violence against citizens, it is imperative that citizens can trust their local police. We applaud the move to demilitarize the Davis, California police force, which has set a positive example for other cities in America.
Dear Mayor Dan Wolk,
The Davis, California police force will be getting rid of an armored military vehicle provided to them by the Pentagon’s military surplus program. Residents were alarmed by the arrival of such heavy equipment, and took up their qualms with the city council, who gave the police 60 days to re-purpose the vehicle elsewhere.
Increasing police aggression toward innocent citizens is cause for alarm in cities across America, and it is important that residents are able to trust their police force. We, the undersigned, thank you for your efforts to keep the Davis police force free of militarized equipment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Charles Howard via Creative Commons