On Wednesday, American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in 24 states filed over 177 public records requests with law enforcement agencies to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments.
Requests will include information on SWAT team weapons, deployment, injury rate, and funding. According to an ACLU statement:
ACLU cites ten cases where the use of excess force and weaponry demonstrate the need for investigation. In one case, police blinded themselves with a flash bang grenade and then mistakenly shot a sleeping nine-year-old.
Police in Paragould Arkansas had to pull back from a plan to patrol streets in full SWAT gear after public pressure mounted. The Paragould Police Chief had said he expected most people stopped would be innocent of any crime, but claimed it was the civilian's responsibility to "prove" innocence.
In 2012, police in New Hampshire received federal funds for a counter-attack vehicle, citing "terrorism" to the Department of Homeland Security, and asking "what red-blooded American cop isn't going to be excited about getting a toy like this?"