Does the Militarization of Police Lead to More People Killed?

Celisa Calacal's picture

Black Lives Matter activists protesting police violence and the killing of Michael Brown were met with heavily armed officers during the Ferguson protests in 2014. Indigenous people and environmental activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline faced a similar scene in 2016 when militarized law enforcement used violent tactics against the peaceful demonstrators.

Scenes of heavily armed police forces are becoming more common across the country. New research from the Washington Post finds that this militarization results in more individuals killed each year by law enforcement. The study found that twice as many people are more likely to die in counties that receive an influx in military equipment. Additional research conducted in 2016 also found that police are more likely to be attacked when they are militarized, which raises the question of how beneficial it is to pad police forces with military-grade weaponry.

 

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