Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 4, 2015

McCaskill to Hold Police Militarization Hearings

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCaskill will hold hearings on the militarization of local police in wake of Ferguson events. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With lawmakers on the left and right questioning the militarization of law enforcement after two weeks of violence in Ferguson, Mo., Sen. Claire McCaskill announced she will hold hearings next month on the federal programs supplying local authorities with surplus military gear.

The Missouri Democrat, chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, plans to take a broad look at programs like the Defense Department’s 1033 program that have steered surplus equipment to local police departments.

That DOD program has come under particular scrutiny from other lawmakers.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, last week said he would review the program, which is part of the defense authorization bill, before it gets to the Senate floor “to determine if equipment provided by the Defense Department is being used as intended.”

McCaskill “plans to gather stakeholders from all sides in order to hear several perspectives, including those of local law enforcement,” the release said. “Details of McCaskill’s hearing will be available in the coming days.”

News of the hearing comes after McCaskill last week called for the authorities to deescalate the situation by not using military equipment.

“We need to de-militarize this situation — this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution,” McCaskill said last week. “I obviously respect law enforcement’s work to provide public safety, but my constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right.”

The unrest was sparked by the fatal Aug. 9 police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager.


Related stories:

Authorities Prepare for Ferguson Protests in Washington

In Wake of Ferguson, New Focus on Civil Rights, Militarized Cops

Norton Questions Mostly White Ferguson Government

Behind the Camera in Ferguson

Washington Leaders Praise Police Tactic Changes in Ferguson (Video)

As Ferguson Police-Protester Clashes Escalate, Congress Wades In

Obama Calls for Calm, Healing

CBC Members Call for Full DOJ Investigation

Obama Dispatches Holder to Ferguson

Democrats Call for Judiciary Hearings on Ferguson Violence

CBC Members call for DOJ Investigation

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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  1. Warrior93

    Aug. 21, 2014
    8:19 p.m.

    It’s time for the president and congress to end the 1033 program. Violent crime rates in America have plummeted the past 20 years and are near record lows. Yet, non-military government agencies and police departments across the country are armed like never before. Making the issue worse, the DOD provides no training and restrictions on when the equipment they distribute can be used. The line between law enforcement and the military has been crossed and Americans don’t want their neighborhoods to look like a war zone. They also don’t want the DOD to have a budget so large that they are capable of ordering enough equipment to supply anyone outside the military. It’s time to end this madness and return sanity to our once great constitutional republic.

  2. Jesse4

    Aug. 21, 2014
    8:37 p.m.

    The issue is a politician’s dream. It doesn’t involve tackling any problems, or addressing any real issues, but it gives them something to yap about that won’t offend any groups except maybe the police, who are few in number. It’s a nice distraction from the real issues.

    • erick

      Aug. 25, 2014
      2:43 p.m.

      The real issue is the CLASS WAR being waged by the 1% financial class against the 99% working class.

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    Just another photo op………

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