Rand Paul: Line between police, military being blurred

Rand Paul: Line between police, military being blurred
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.) is urging President Trump to reconsider his decision to lift Obama-era limits on the transfer of surplus military equipment to local police forces.

In an op-ed published Monday in The New York Post, Paul called the president's decision "a mistake," arguing that the line between local law enforcement officers and soldiers is "eroding."

"To support our local police, we must first realize they aren’t soldiers. But today the line between the two is being eroded," he wrote.

"Given these developments, it’s natural for many Americans — especially minorities, given the racial disparities in policing — to feel like their government is targeting them. Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice isn’t paying close enough attention," Paul added.

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He also announced plans to introduce a measure when Congress returns from its recess that would bar the transfer of military equipment from the federal government to state and local law enforcement agencies.

That ban, he writes, would only apply to offensive equipment and would allow the federal government to give defensive equipment, like body armor, to local and state law enforcement agencies.

That the federal government is willing and able to give such surplus military equipment to local police departments signals a massive overreach of power and erodes trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they're charged with policing, Paul writes.

Trump signed an executive order Monday lifting limits imposed by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE after police in Ferguson, Mo., used military-style equipment to confront protesters in 2014.