US Republican Senator Rand Paul (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump’s decision to reverse a ban on equipping police with military gear will “subsidize militarization” of the force, Republican Senator Rand Paul says.
“The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm,” Paul wrote in a tweet on Monday.
“Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security,” he continued.
Earlier in the day, Trump signed an executive order to undo former President Barack Obama’s ban on the transfer of some surplus military equipment to police departments.
Obama blocked the program in May 2015, amid outcry over police’s battlefield-style response to rioting in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.
Before the new directive’s announcement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Fraternal Order of Police that the aim was to enhance public safety by providing police with “assets that would otherwise be scrapped.”
Paul, however, rejected the AG’s argument.
“I will oppose this move by the AG and administration. And I will continue to fight for our civil liberties and criminal justice reform,” the former Republican presidential hopeful noted.
The ban was part of Obama’s efforts to ease tensions between law enforcement departments and minority communities in reaction to the protests over police violence across the US.
The former president argued that the heavy use of war zone equipment fuels a sense of fear and anger against police and makes it look like an “occupying force.”
"The police involved were equipped as if they were going to war, even though they were supposedly there only to protect the community and help maintain peace," Newsweek reported at the time of the nationwide unrest.
According to Sessions, the ban prevented police departments from getting “life-saving gear like Kevlar vests and helmets and first responder and rescue equipment.”
“Those restrictions went too far,” he told the police convention on Monday.

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