A big part of this issue has to do with what is called, The Department of Defense Excess Property Program, or DoD 1033.
According to their website,
"The 1033 Program provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety." (http://www.dps.mo.gov/dir/programs/cjle/dod.asp).
However, this is not a situation of either a counter-narcotics or counter-terrorism operation, but a protest over the use of excessive police force in a case where it is alleged that the perpetrator, Michael Brown had already been shot, and his hands raised with no weapon and yet was shot multiple times by the officer in question.
According to the National Institute of Justice,
Police enforce social order through the legitimized use of force. Use of force describes the "amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject" . The levels, or continuum, of force police use include basic verbal and physical restraint, less-lethal force and lethal force.
Police officers should use only the amount of force necessary to control an incident, effect an arrest, or protect themselves or others from harm or death. (http://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/officer-safety/use-of-force/Pages/welcome.aspx)
In the case of Michael Brown, the allegations of shooting him while his weaponless hands were raised is most definitely excessive force.
So too is the show of Military tanks and tear gas on those protesting this excessive action by the police of Ferguson MO.
According to Newsweek, local police have been “quietly” armed with these military weapons since around 1990, due to the following issue:
Faced with a bloated military and what it perceived as a worsening drug crisis, the 101st Congress in 1990 enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Secretary of Defense to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition, that the Secretary determines is— (A) suitable for use by such agencies in counter-drug activities; and (B) excess to the needs of the Department of Defense.” It was called the 1208 Program. In 1996, Congress replaced Section 1208 with Section 1033.
Please end this surplus Department of Defense 1303 military equipment program at a National level, in order to end this excessive force issue in each of the United States of America.