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More than nine months after the paramilitary response to anti-police protests sent shockwaves around the world from the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, Barack Obama is taking matters into his own hands.
The president will ban the US government from providing certain types of military-style equipment to local police departments and sharply control other weapons and gear provided to law enforcement, White House officials announced on Monday.
The announcement coincides with the release of a long-awaited report from a task force on policing assembled by Obama in response to the turmoil in Ferguson following the death of teenager Michael Brown in August.
Al Jazeera America
President Barack Obama announced plans to ban the federal government from providing some military-style equipment to local police departments and place stricter controls on other weapons and gear distributed to law enforcement.
Monday's announcement came after the White House suggested last year that Obama would maintain programs that provide the type of military-style equipment used to respond to demonstrators last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, because of their broader contribution to public safety. But an interagency group found “substantial risk of misusing or overusing” items such as tracked armored vehicles, high-powered firearms and camouflage.
With scrutiny on police only increasing in the ensuing months after a series of highly publicized deaths of black suspects nationwide, Obama also is unveiling the final report of a task force he created to help build confidence between police and minority communities in particular. The announcements come as Obama is visiting Camden, New Jersey, one of the country's most violent and poorest cities.
President Obama will ban local police forces from acquiring some types of military-style equipment from federal agencies.
That's one of several recommendations made by a White House task force that Obama is putting into place using an executive order on Monday.
According to a report issued by the White House, the task force recommended banning the sale of some equipment — such as tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and high-caliber weapons and ammunition — after weighing their utility to local police and the "the potential negative impact on the community if the equipment was used arbitrarily or inappropriately."
Local police departments can still buy this equipment on their own. They just can't buy them from the feds or buy them using federal money.
President Barack Obama has banned the US government from giving certain kinds of military-style equipment to local police forces.
The announcement follows criticism that police were too heavy handed in dealing with protests in Ferguson, Missouri, that turned violent last summer.
It means armoured vehicles on tracks, camouflage uniforms and grenade launchers will no longer be given out.
Tensions between police and African-American communities are strained.