Letter to the editor: Militarizing police

To the editor:

Recently, Lawrence’s city government commissioned Allegro Training & Consulting to conduct a survey on community interactions with local police. The study found that marginalized communities were more likely to have negative interactions with Lawrence police than other Lawrence residents. Allegro Training & Consulting also strategized a plan of “restorative justice” to rebuild local law enforcement’s relationship with members of Lawrence’s marginalized communities. However, one of the community’s least represented in the study was the voice of Native Americans.

As America gathered in the homes of family over turkey, stuffing, and football on Thanksgiving 2016, Native Americans were being brutally assaulted by law enforcement officials in North Dakota for advocating for clean drinking water. Two years earlier, law enforcement employed militaristic tactics following the uproar after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. People began to wonder when the police started to resemble the U.S. military.

Since the creation of the federal 1033 program, a program that transfers military equipment to law enforcement agencies, over $6 billion in military gear has been transferred to law enforcement agencies across the country. Weapons including grenade launchers, assault rifles, armored vehicles, bayonets, etc. Nations indigenous to American soil should always be foregrounded and consulted in issues of restorative justice, and a large demand of tribal nations has been to demilitarize law enforcement. Join indigenous nations and demand Rep. Lynn Jenkins, Sen. Pat Roberts, and Sen. Jerry Moran co-sponsor the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

Marcus Ruff,

Lawrence

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