Fri 9/21: Governor Brown, militarization of police forces has been proven unsafe for civilians. Sign this damn bill already!

Action – Ask Jerry Brown to sign AB 3131

One last hurdle stands before AB 3131 becomes the first Indivisible-sponsored law in the country: Governor Jerry Brown’s signature.

AB 3131 is a commonsense measure that allows the community to have a seat at the table before military weapons (e.g. tanks, grenade launchers, etc) are brought into our neighborhoods by requiring law enforcement to hold an open public hearing prior to acquisition of any such equipment.

Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Governor Brown to sign AB-3131 to make all of us safer.

Contact the Governor: 1-833-522-8923

Background: Does this matter?

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“Militarized police departments see themselves not as public servants upholding the law, but as an army fighting a war against a dangerous and invisible enemy and occupying territory that is hostile to them.”Edward Lawson Jr. of U. of S. Carolina.

The Washington Post researched this question as to whether or not militarization “makes every problem — even a car of teenagers driving away from a party — look like a nail that should be hit with an AR-15 hammer.”

They posited that as civilian law enforcement units receive more military materials — weapons, vehicles and tools — they would become more militarized along three axes of escalation: usage of more military-type language, creation of elite units like SWAT teams, and increased likelihood of jumping into high-risk situations. Then they went looking for facts…

The answer is “Yes”

Using data from FatalEncounters.org, a project that collects data from paid researchers, public records requests, crowdsourcing and information obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, and controlling for race, income, violent crime, and drug-use issues, the Washington Post researchers reached the conclusion that more people die when their police is militarized.

“When a county goes from receiving no military equipment to $2,539,767 worth (the largest figure that went to one agency in our data), more than twice as many civilians are likely to die in that county the following year.”

What actually works? “De-escalation” 

A coalition of 11 national police organizations adopted a de-escalation policy. After a series of controversial police shootings, Salt Lake City’s police department increased de-escalation training and even began recognizing individual officers with de-escalation awards for defusing potentially violent situations. Since that policy was instituted in 2015, no Salt Lake City officer has killed anyone.

Reading

  • Does military equipment lead police officers to be more violent? We did the research. (wapo)
  • Militarization of Police (charleskochinstitute.org) (!!!)
  • Evidence suggests the militarization of police orces leads to more civilian deaths. (lseuscentre)
  • Militarizing the minds of police (thenewyorker)
  • Trump’s plan to give police easier access to military weapons, explained. (vox)

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