STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN WM. LACY CLAY (D) MISSOURI REGARDING PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER TO REMILITARIZE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
Note: The following, in its entirety, is all first-person from Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri
“Three years ago, as the tragedy in Ferguson unfolded, I personally witnessed local police in armored vehicles pointing military-style sniper rifles with night scopes at my constituents who were peacefully exercising their constitutional rights.
That over-militarization increased tensions, incited more violence and established a deadly perception that local police officers had become warriors instead of guardians of public safety.
In response, I worked closely with former President Obama and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel to place reasonable limits on the distribution of military surplus items to local law enforcement. That was in keeping with key findings and recommendations of the President’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing.
President Trump’s decision to rescind these limitations will allow local police departments to receive grenade launchers, bayonets, tracked armored vehicles, sniper rifles and military grade ammunition; along with other surplus Department of Defense equipment that was intended for use on the battlefield, not in neighborhoods.
President Trump’s reckless decision to remilitarize local police is another shameful step backwards as he continues to deepen divisions across this country while appeasing hate, bigotry and intolerance.”