Public Records Requests in Miami-Dade, Bay, Holmes and Duval Counties part of nationwide ACLU investigation of militarization of law enforcement.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, (786) 363-2737
Tom Rosenthal, email@example.com, (212) 549-2582
MIAMI – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida today filed public records requests in Miami-Dade County, Bay County, Holmes County and Jacksonville to determine the extent to which local police departments are using federally subsidized military technology and tactics that are traditionally used overseas.
The four requests were among the over 250 requests sent simultaneously by ACLU affiliates in 23states as the start of a nationwide investigation into the militarization of law enforcement, which erodes civil liberties and encourages overly aggressive policing.
“Floridians deserve to know whether or not these military-style resources and tactics are deployed only with rigorous oversight and limits that safeguard the rights of the citizens that police are supposed to protect,” said Maria Kayanan, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU of Florida. “We all have a right to live without fear of military-style intervention in our daily lives, and the increasing militarization of police is a threat to that right.”
The public records requests filed today by the ACLU of Florida seek information about:
- SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Teams, including:
- Number and purpose of deployments
- Types of weapons used during deployments
- Injuries sustained by civilians during deployments
- Training materials
- Funding sources
- Cutting edge weapons and technologies, including:
- GPS tracking devices
- Unmanned aerial vehicles (“drones”)
- Augmented detainee restraint (“shock-cuffs”)
- Military weaponry, equipment, and vehicles obtained from or funded by federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense and/or Homeland Security
“Equipping state and local law enforcement with military weapons and vehicles, military tactical training, and actual military assistance to conduct traditional law enforcement erodes civil liberties and encourages increasingly aggressive policing, particularly in poor neighborhoods and communities of color,” said Kara Dansky, senior counsel for ACLU’s Center for Justice. “We’ve seen examples of this in several localities, but we don’t know the dimensions of the problem.” Once the information from all of the public records requests has been collected and analyzed, the ACLU will use the results to recommend changes in law and policy governing the use of military tactics and technology in local law enforcement.
More information on the investigation is available here: http://www.aclu.org/militarization