President Joe Biden is allowing police to become more of a threat to black Americans than former President Donald Trump ever did, at least in one aspect, Black Lives Matter now claims.
A tweet posted Tuesday criticized Biden over federal rules allowing police agencies to receive surplus military equipment.
“Biden is currently sending more military equipment to our neighborhoods than Trump did. You read that right,” Black Lives Matter tweeted.
“Our communities are being terrorized at a greater rate than they had been under Trump,” the tweet said.
Biden is currently sending more military equipment to our neighborhoods than Trump did. You read that right. Our communities are being terrorized at a greater rate than they had been under Trump.
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) April 20, 2021
On its website, Black Lives Matter explained that it wants an end to the policy of allowing police departments to access surplus military equipment under what is known as the 1033 program.
“Over $7 billion has gone to the law enforcement agencies since its creation under the Clinton administration. Disappointingly enough, the flow of military equipment to police under the 1033 Program has accelerated under the Biden administration — and based on recent reporting, police might just receive even more military equipment under the Biden administration than they did with the Trump administration,” the website said.
“No responsible leader should be increasing the weapons police have access to — and if President Biden cares about the countless Black folks who showed up to put him in office, he would recognize that. If we want President Biden to take swift action before his 100th day in office (just 10 days from now), then we need a lot of voices speaking out right away.”
Black Lives Matter suggested there is a correlation between military equipment purchases and civilian deaths, and repeated long-standing BLM claims that police agencies are racist.
“Military-style weapons and equipment have no place in our streets. They have no place in our communities and have no place in our schools or on our campuses. They especially have no place in the hands of police — violent upholders of white supremacy that have no regard for Black life,” the site said.
“With the stroke of a pen, President Biden can put an end to the dangerous practice of enabling and upholding white supremacy through the 1033 Program.”
According to data from the Defense Logistics Agency analyzed by the Security Policy Reform Institute’s Stephen Semler, $34 million in military gear was transferred to police agencies in the first quarter of 2021, the highest number since the first quarter of 2020.
In assessing the program last year, The Washington Post noted that most military surplus items obtained by local police agencies “are mundane items such as coffee makers, electrical wire and cargo containers.”
It also reported that “rifles, helicopters and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles” were also obtained.
Former President Barack Obama sought to limit what police agencies could obtain through a 2015 executive order, according to CNN.
“Militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said then.
“It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message.”
Trump countermanded that order upon taking office.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, the president of the national Major Cities Chiefs Association, said last year there was sound logic behind letting police officers in “one of the most violent nations in the civilized free world” have access to military-type gear.
“It’s not about the equipment, it’s about the proper policy for its use,” Acevedo said.
“Everybody needs to take a deep breath and stop using their emotion and stop painting these issues with broad brushes.”