It looks like police may not get a free pass on using military gear against rioters.
You may recall that militarized police responded to the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri. Now, Congress is holding hearings on that situation.
According to The Guardian, police forces that use military gear earmarked for counterterrorism to handle public order disturbances could be required to repay millions of dollars in grants.
“We have a range of remedies should [the DOJ] find non-compliance, including recoupment of funds,” Brian Kamoie of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during a hearing.
As noted in the report, Paul called the policing tactics that occurred in Ferguson “thoroughly un-American.” He called for an immediate end to a Pentagon program that has provided 12,000 bayonets, 5,200 humvees and 617 mine-resistant armored vehicles (MRAPs) to civilian forces, The Guardian noted.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) also chimed in. She reportedly said local police forces have more MRAPs than the National Guard. She also claimed 36 percent of surplus equipment received directly from the military is new or unused.
“What in the world are we doing buying stuff that is not used?” she asked. “I want to make sure we are clear about how out of control this is.”
What do you think? Should police be required to repay the federal government if they use military gear in riot situations? Should they be given such equipment in the first place?