Pallone Statement on Militarized Police Force in Ferguson, Missouri

Aug 15, 2014

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), who recently voted for an amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations bill to prohibit the Pentagon from using funds to transfer surplus military equipment to local law enforcement, issued the following statement in response to the militarized police force in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer started protests throughout the city:

“With the eyes of the nation on Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed African-American teenager was shot and killed by a police officer last week, Americans are witnessing firsthand the effects of long-standing federal policy that transfers surplus combat tools from the Pentagon to our local law enforcement as our wars overseas are winding down.  Scenes of flash grenades and tear gas exploding around protestors; mine-resistant armored vehicles transporting police officers clad in camouflage while toting M-16s and sniper rifles – all in an effort to quell the peaceful protests that began after the death of Michael Brown.  My deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Brown’s family and the Ferguson community, who have every right to peacefully petition their police department.  But the militarization of our police forces is of great concern to me, as such a show of force can needlessly escalate a situation like we are seeing in Ferguson.  I fully support our law enforcement officials using force judiciously to stop looting and prevent violence; but when weapons are used that were designed for our military to fight terrorists, it will antagonize more than it will build trust, which is what we need a lot more of right now.”