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Military-grade weapons used by U.S police

Several U.S federal programs are helping local law enforcement to acquire heavy weapons. This is done either by making funds available or by providing the equipment directly.

One program at the Pentagon transferred surplus military equipment worth nearly half a billion dollars to local police last year. Grants provided by the Department of Homeland Security total another $1 billion, and the Justice Department provides hundreds of millions more.

According to the Washington Post, President Obama requested a review of these programs after Brown’s death.

iHLS Israel Homeland Security

An administration official told The Washington Post that the review would be led by White House staff and would include several cabinet departments.

“This equipment flowed to local police forces because they were increasingly being asked to assist in counterterrorism,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement when the review was initially reported. “But displays of force in response to mostly peaceful demonstrations can be counterproductive. It makes sense to take a look at whether military-style equipment is being acquired for the right purposes.”

Critics have long argued that the Obama administration should place more rigorous requirements on police departments asking for money or equipment.