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police militarization

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Committing Highway Robbery to Fund Police Militarization


The militarization of local police in the United States is not being fueled just by the federal government providing military equipment, including machine guns, grenade launchers, and armored vehicles, to local police departments. The police are also funding the rise of SWAT with billions of dollars obtained through asset seizures that amount to highway robbery under the guise of law enforcement.

In an October 11 Washington Post article, Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Steven Rich offer some revealing details concerning how state and local police have raised billions of dollars since 2008 via asset seizures associated with the US Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program that allows state and local police departments to take 80 percent of the proceeds of seizures conducted in cooperation with US government agencies. In addition, much more police revenue has been gained through asset seizures outside the program and without direct US government involvement.

What do the state and local police do with the money obtained through asset forfeitures? As the Post article explains, much of it is pumped into expanding surveillance and police militarization...
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