How America Turned Its Police Into an Army

From the collections Economics Has A Race Problem, Race and Economics From INET, Economics of Race


Giving police military weapons doesn’t make anyone safer, argues Toledo University’s Olugbenga Ajilore. It just makes police treat people more like enemy combatants than co-members of the community.

Ajilore discusses the extensive social costs of the increased acquisition of military style-weapons by local law enforcement agencies in the U.S., which has accelerated over the past 10 years, as federal programs have granted access to surplus military items for combating terrorism and drug activity. He cites his research examining the impacts of increased police militarization—including more frequent use of lethal force, and the disproportionate effects on ethnically-fragmented communities.

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