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Democratic senator to offer amendment halting 'military weaponry' given to police

Democratic senator to offer amendment halting 'military weaponry' given to police
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Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzFor platform regulation Congress should use a European cheat sheet Senate Democrats rebuke GOP colleagues who say they'll oppose Electoral College results 11 Senate Republicans say they will oppose Electoral College results Wednesday MORE (D-Hawaii) is proposing cracking down on the military's ability to transfer weapons to local police departments. 

"I will be introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to discontinue the program that transfers military weaponry to local police departments," Schatz said Sunday on Twitter.

The Democratic senator made the announcement as protests escalated around the nation in response to the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died while in Minneapolis police custody. Clashes between protesters and officers have led police in several cities to fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds. 

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In a series of tweets, Schatz said that "it is clear many police departments don’t train and supervise for restraint and de-escalation, and some officers are just plain racist and violent."

"Combine this with a president who appears enthusiastic about making it worse, and weaponry transferred from [the Department of Defense], and here we are," he said. 

Schatz's proposed amendment isn't the first time lawmakers have attempted to roll back programs that allow for the transfer of military weaponry to local police departments. Schatz and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Legislatures boost security after insurrection, FBI warnings Former Missouri senator says backing Hawley was 'worst mistake of my life' MORE (R-Ky.) introduced legislation in 2015 to prohibit “offensive” militarized equipment, such as drones and armored vehicles, from being given to local and state law enforcement through certain federal programs. 

Former President Obama later that year placed a halt on the so-called 1033 program, blocking the transfer of armored vehicles, grenade launchers and armed aircraft, among other things. 

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The decision came after a string of police shootings of African American men prompted outrage nationwide. Protests in cities such as Ferguson, Mo., also placed a spotlight on the equipment police used when responding to unrest. 

The Trump administration rescinded the restrictions in 2017, giving police departments renewed access to military surplus equipment, including grenade launchers, armored vehicles and bayonets. 

Protests in the days following Floyd's death have resulted in significant destruction of private and public property, prompting cities to implement curfews and some states to mobilize the National Guard.  

GOP Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonBiden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing GOP senator questions constitutionality of an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party MORE (Ark.) said Monday that President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE should use the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to cities impacted by riots.