Legislation aims to curb police ‘militarization’

A new Senate bill is the first proposed legislation to curb so-called police militarization after the disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, is sponsoring the legislation, which would block state and local police from receiving broad categories of military-grade equipment, including M-16 rifles, MRAP vehicles and camouflage equipment. He also proposes to require local police that have received such equipment in recent years to return it to the Defense Department.

“MRAP” is shorthand for a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, something usually associated with war zones.

The legislation is a test of the strength of the congressional backlash against the much criticized heavy police response to demonstrations in the St. Louis suburb after the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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