Donald Trump plans to repeal restrictions earlier placed by Obama on the police. The federal government will now resume allowing easy access to grenade launchers, bayonets, tanks and other equipment to the local law enforcement.
Trump is expected to sign an executive order coming Monday and will repeal all the restrictions that Obama placed in 2015, on the access of the military surplus items. Obama’s restrictions were provoked by the response the police took to handle the August 2014 unrest in Ferguson. Besides being a peaceful demonstration, the police arrived with armored vehicles and were pointing snipers at demonstrators in a broad day light.
Trump’s decision that has already spurred criticism was announced by the Attorney General in an address to the police.
A Pentagon official failed to have a convincing reason why the police had to use a bayonet during the hearing in 2014. According to some enforcement officials, the bayonet can be used as utility knives. The grenade launchers can be used for tear gas.
Obama’s order had it that the police officers should get permission from their local authorities and have proper training to prove their competence to use such equipment. Trump’s executive order will lessen the requirements for the enforcement officers to acquire helicopters, drones, planes, armored and tactical vehicles, batons, riot helmets, and explosives.
The former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta put it clear that the law was to make sure that the police department had a guardian mentality rather than a warrior mentality. She says that the officers should not treat communities as war zones.
Gupta continues to say that the police don’t have to use the bayonets and grenade launcher to safeguard the community. She says that they have to receive appropriate training before using the equipment. Moreover, she adds that the federal government has to be accountable for the utilization of the certain military equipment.
Gupta in a statement says that these enforcement guidelines on the police have to do with the creation of trust in the community they serve and more specifically that of color. By doing so, the risk of community violence will be reduced.
This administration believes that Obama’s restriction implied that the police were not worthy.