Officials: Obama Orders Review of Police Use of Military Hardware

Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 06:33 PM

 

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President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police out of concern at how such equipment has been used during racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Two senior administration officials said Saturday that the review will examine whether the programs are appropriate; the amount of training provided for using military equipment, and how well the government audits the use of the money and equipment by local police departments.

Images of police wielding military-style guns and armor have alarmed many Americans following violence that was triggered by the fatal shooting of an African-American teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer in Ferguson.

Obama wants to know whether the programs, begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are appropriate and whether state and local law enforcement are given proper training, the official said.

The review will be led by White House staff including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and relevant U.S. agencies including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury, and it will be carried out in coordination with Congress.

Obama signaled that he would review the programs on Monday at a White House news conference when he said he wanted to make sure police were purchasing equipment that they actually need because there is "a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement and we don't want those lines blurred."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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