By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, July 20, 2020
By unanimous vote, the City Council of Charlottesville, Va., on Monday evening voted to ban militarized policing. Specifically, the City Council resolved that “the Charlottesville Police Department shall not acquire weaponry from the United States armed forces,” and “shall not receive military-style or ‘warrior’ training by the United States armed forces, a foreign military or police, or any private company.”
The wording of the resolution came directly from a petition I had drafted and gathered over 1,000 signatures on. During the meeting, members of the public objected that the wording needed to be stronger, specifically that the Police Department should not be allowed to acquire military weaponry from anywhere (not just from the U.S. military) and that the Police Department should end its policy of giving preference in hiring to former members of the military, thus acquiring police officers with military training despite the ban on military training. A number of City Council Members said that such concerns would be addressed in the weeks and months ahead, that Monday’s action was “intended to be a beginning” (in the words of City Council Member Sena Magill) and “not the end of the discussion” (in the words of City Council Member Lloyd Snook).
In my view, this step is an excellent beginning, and the conversations now happening may generate further progress. It is to be hoped that even what Charlottesville has already done will inspire other localities to take similar initial steps toward demilitarization.
Here’s the packet for Monday’s meeting. For the resolution as passed see pages 75-76.
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