LOS ANGELES (May 30, 2016) – Dedicated activists in Los Angeles forced the end to federal militarization of law enforcement on a hyper-local level, demonstrating the power of a bottom up approach when confronting federal power.
After 18 months of pressure and activism, the Labor/Community Strategy Center reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles School Police Department to de-miitarize school police. As reported by Counter Punch, they agreed to return all military grade weapons procured from the federal 1033 Program, withdraw completely from the program and to apologize for the policy that brought the weapons to LA schools in the first place.
Weapons the LA School Police will return to the feds include a tank, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP), three grenade launchers and 61 M-16 rifles.
Eric Mann was involved in the activism and wrote the article for Counter Punch.
“The LAUSD and the LASPD are the first government agencies that we know of— a police force of 500 officers and staff— to return all the weapons, withdraw from the program altogether, give a complete inventory of every weapon received and returned, and to issue a public apology a civil rights organization and the Black and Latino students and communities whose lives were threatened by the program. The precedent can be explosive. We have shown that even if by one bullet alone—let alone a tank, 3 grenade launchers, and 61 M-16s— we can reduce the police arsenal of weapons…