Military Equipment Used by Police in Ferguson Also Found at Arizona Police Departments

Categories: News analysis

arpaio-tank-top.jpg
MCSO
A tank used by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
There's a lot of discussion taking place about the militarization of police amid protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the local police department's controversial shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Peaceful protests have been met with police tear-gassing, aiming rifles at protesters, and arrests, according to reports. It's gotten to the point that even U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says he's "deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles [by police] sends a conflicting message" in the community.

The militarization of police has been an issue the American Civil Liberties Union has reported on well before this incident, and just a few months ago, the organization reported on "massive military-grade weapons caches" at police departments in Arizona.

See also:
-Phoenix Rally Organized in Response to Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson
-ACLU: Arizona Police "Equipped to Wage a War"

"The irony [in Holder's statement] is that the federal government over the past two decades has been supplying these police departments with military-grade equipment," ACLU of Arizona executive director Alessandra Soler tells New Times.

USA Today has reported that Ferguson's police force got all this military gear through the Department of Defense's 1033 program, which is the same program that has allowed Arizona police agencies to acquire 37,467 pieces of military equipment from the federal government.

The ACLU just released a report in June in which it tried to track these pieces of military equipment in a handful of states, including Arizona.

Through records requests, the ACLU found that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has acquired a .50-caliber machine gun, 120 assault rifles, five armored vehicles, and 10 helicopters, mostly through the 1033 program.

The ACLU also found the following at police departments and sheriff's offices around the state:


  • 32 bomb suits

  • 704 units of night vision equipment, e.g., night-vision goggles

  • 1034 guns, of which 712 are rifles

  • 42 forced entry tools, such as battering rams

  • 830 units of surveillance and reconnaissance equipment

  • 13,409 personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or uniforms

  • 120 utility trucks

  • 64 armored vehicles

  • 4 GPS devices

  • 17 helicopters

  • 21,211 other types of military equipment

The ACLU's report seems especially relevant now, with the national news media focusing on what's going on in Ferguson.

This morning, the Reverend Jarrett Maupin II of Phoenix told us he wouldn't be surprised to see something similar happen locally, as he noted the outcry against police after Officer Richard Chrisman's shooting of Daniel Rodriguez in 2010.

"People should know Ferguson is literally on fire, but there are many cities -- including our own -- that are figuratively on fire and waiting for the next Michael Brown to be killed for things to boil over and for violence to erupt," Maupin said.

The ACLU's report, "War Comes Home," includes much more information about police militarization than what's mentioned above.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.


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74 comments
diptibahuguna13
diptibahuguna13

Actually the point is nowadays military surplus weapons like guns etc are available without any licensing and taking precautions because of which such things happen!!

DNichols
DNichols

Arpaio, who gave your B.F.F. Child Murdering Nazi J.T. Ready the six Military Rocket Propelled Grenades found at his Gilbert Home at the time of his Massacre?!!

You?

"Keeping Maricopa County Neighborhoods safe" right you piece of Nazi hugging garbage little Joe?!


To: Justice.

Mick Jones
Mick Jones

Arizona is the laughing stock of the world.

Lyman Smith
Lyman Smith

Who gives a damn. There are enough shit cops who think a badge and a gun is a pass to be a complete abusive dickhead. The LEAST of the worries is equipment. They are fucked enough with or without military equipment. FTP.

Tim Fitchner
Tim Fitchner

It's called a police state and it's coming.

Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman

Might need it when people run out of food stamps and riot

Earle Williams
Earle Williams

Some of MCSO helicopters came through in this process,

mrwally373
mrwally373

everyone here is bitchin about the local PD's, and the use of military tactics / equipment,,..its startin to boil, and we are the frogs in the  pot and its just gonna get worse...all veterans, and current military,and cops as well I think swear to uphold and protect the US from all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC,..the guy was stealing cigars from a QT store, and he started it by not complying with the cops, tryin to take his gun,  then the death of the guy, ghetto mentality kicked in, then the looters...

You should get ready to lock and load because its the mentality of the cops, that citizens are the enemy, and its coming to a theater in your area soon.

herman9119goldberg
herman9119goldberg

Sheriff Joe could straighten this whole mess up in a hurry...................LOL

Robert Savard
Robert Savard

The practice of militarizing our police forces needs to stop.

DNichols
DNichols

Mr. Hendley, I sure would like to know how Arpaio's marching Border Nazi pal child murdering J.T. Ready obtained the six Military  high tech rocket propelled grenade weapons of mass destruction that were found and shown on the evening news by police at his Gilbert Arizona home ?!!


At the time of the Gilbert Massacre Police stated that the grenades all  had Military serial numbers on them and could be traced to where they came from.


Shortly after the incident the U.S. Military halted Military equipment to police due to unauthorized distribution of Military equipment by Arizona Sheriffs to the Public.


While Arpaio claims to be "keeping the neighborhoods safe", are Arizona Sheriffs Bozo's with Real Military War Gear really our biggest threat?!!


If Sheriffs gave Military rocket propelled grenades to Neo Nazi Home Grown Terrorists in Maricopa County neighborhoods, the People, and Voters deserve to know the TRUTH!


Can anyone tell the truth regarding where the weapons of mass destruction found at a Gilbert Home near my home came from?!!!!!


To: Liberty

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

When I read the headline, my first thought was that this was a parody, like an article you might find in The Onion.


Seriously, are New Times readers so completely hopeless at critical thinking as to see any significance in our police having the same equipment that Ferguson has?


Oh my god!  What if they also drink the same brand of bottled water?  Oh!  The horror!


Dustin Agahi
Dustin Agahi

Well the Military taught us how to take these machines out of necessary so bring it on!

Marty Ercoline
Marty Ercoline

don't bite the hand that keeps your family safe.

Marty Ercoline
Marty Ercoline

FANTASTIC!!!! About time we arm our boys in tan with some real weaponry...I feel much safer.

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

And they'll never have to use then here. You know why?

Arturo Bucknastythasuperhater Olmos
Arturo Bucknastythasuperhater Olmos

Jerome Lopez watched too much Red Dawn. The chance of "our army being elsewhere" when al qaida parachutes into Arizona undetected is much lower than reality; which is that they'll probably use it to escalate force, oppress crowds of legal protesters, and to serve warrants on US citizens.

marcy
marcy

It isn't the material, it is the police attitude and the lack of oversight from elected officials who fear cops not endorsing them during an election or getting labeled soft on crime.





Ian Finley
Ian Finley

Yea but imagine when that doesn't happen and our government seeks control of its citizens. This crap will be used to force us to do shit we would otherwise fight against.

Jerome Joshua Lopez
Jerome Joshua Lopez

I'm an advocate for our police having this equipment. Imagine if there was ever an attempt at an invasion while our army is elsewhere? Our police is the next best thing

Frank Vindiola
Frank Vindiola

What good does it do for local municipalities to have this equipment? Fear mongering? A police dept in Connecticut was given grenade launchers from the DOD. Why?

Andy LaRusch
Andy LaRusch

Michael Swann, that was going to be my next point as my brother-in-law is both a decorated Army reserve soldier, and a decorated Pinal County sheriff.

Andy LaRusch
Andy LaRusch

Having a. 50 cal, and using one against civilians is totally different. I wonder if the men and women who fight to own M4's and other assault rifles are also okay with police (highly trained marksmen) having these.

ProfiteerMudSlinger
ProfiteerMudSlinger

You are a liar, plain and simple. Except with those black helicopters flying over your house watching you sitting on your toilet...that's really happening, dnichols.

DNichols
DNichols

SB "Desert Racist Wasteland."


Convicted Racist Sheriff Arpaio presiding over  a large G.O.P. cesspool of politicians he has sponsored/bought, and paid for into the Arizona House, and Senate.


Arpaio is now trying to sponsor in his Racist pal Simcox, oops I mean his Racist pal Douchie as Governor.

marcy
marcy

When did you fail your Logic and Reasoning course?

Charlie
Charlie

@herman9119goldberg Chiefs Jackson and Belmar would feel right at home with Joe.  STL county shit the bed on this one

marcy
marcy

@DNichols

This is the 2nd time I've replied to your ill-informed rant. 


They did not find any rocket propelled grenades in JT Ready's house.



marcy
marcy

@valleynative

Yes, there are plenty of people who are completely hopeless at critical thinking.


Just look at the number of people who falsely claim Michael Brown was "murdered" for stealing cigars.

marcy
marcy

Jerome,

You are an idiot.



marcy
marcy

You ask a reasonable question Frank so let me answer it.


Grenades of the type shot by grenade launchers come in all sorts of varieties, such as illumination grenades, smoke grenades and tear gas.  


Having an M203 grenade launcher doesn't mean you are using it with high explosive grenades.

marcy
marcy

I had a decorated cake once.  


The advantage of it's decorations over those of a reserve soldier or deputy are the cake decorations are edible.

DNichols
DNichols

@ProfiteerMudSlinger 

A "Liar"?!

When have I ever lied?

What is with you and your  black helicopters? do you watch them in your tin foil hat?!

Your a dumb arse.

DNichols
DNichols

@marcy @DNichols 

Six Military Rocket Propelled Grenades with serial numbers on them  each one capable of leveling a house to ruble were found at J.T. Ready's Gilbert Home along with two fifty five gallon barrels of highly flamable acetone.

Ever watch the evening news Marcy?!


Shortly after the Gilbert Massacre, the U.S. Military suspended Military Gear to Police stating abuses involving Arizona Sheriffs.


It was also reported that J.T. Ready was on the F.B.I.'s "Home Grown Terrorist" list.


Please become informed?!

ProfiteerMudSlinger
ProfiteerMudSlinger

Dnichols never concerns himself with facts...they ruin the flamboyancy.

DNichols
DNichols

@ProfiteerMudSlinger 

Profiteermudslinger?!

What a dip sh--t you are.

Please read the facts I have posted, or at least pull your head out and Google the articles about the Gilbert Massacre, so you can shut up?!!


Thanx Profiteer?!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative "Which one of us that mean is really the troll? "


Sober up before you post, moron.

DrugLordRetard
DrugLordRetard

@valleynative Yep, bitching about AZ police forces having the same military equipment as police in Ferguson is equivalent to bitching about them drinking the same bottled water...

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