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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Law Enforcement Nationwide Militarizes To Circumvent Posse Comitatus Act

500 American Communities Are Now Armed With Military Tanks and Military Vehicles, and Have Reportedly Lied on Their Applications to Get Them for Free

The Speaker

Military surplus equipment, including vehicles–most familiarly the  Mine-Resistant Ambush-Proof (MRAP) BearCat–are becoming common tools of community law enforcement in the US. These battlefield tools are now owned by over 500 communities nationwide. At a cost of around half a million dollars each vehicle–although the first one is often free–police departments seek grants by applying for various federal programs–applications council members have admittedly lied on.

BearCats are heavily-fortified MRAP vehicles usually used by specialized military tactical teams. The vehicles are build to withstand mines and bombs in combat zones. They are equipped to be mounted with weapons the US military specifically refrains from using on people–and sometimes come equipped with these weapons, such as the belt-fed, .50 caliber turreted machine gun atop Richland County, South Carolina’s “Peacemaker.”

Columbia Police Department SWAT Commander Captain E.M. Marsh, who received a new $658,000-valued MRAP for free before Veterans Day last year, said around 500 similar vehicles went to agencies around the country. Five hundred vehicles at that price adds up to $329 million of tax-funded Department of Defense (DOD) spending. In 2013, the US government is considering requests from 750 additional communities, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to Mark Wright, spokesman for the Defense Department, the Pentagon is planning to give away 11,000 MRAPS, each of which is priced at between $400,000 and $700,000 new, and there is “vigorous interest” from police departments, commented Wright.

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