A Cautious Offensive Against Siege Tactics by Police

It will probably strike a lot of people as too little, too late, but the Obama administration is taking steps to de-militarize police in dealings with the citizens they are supposed to be protecting, per this report from the New York Times‘ Mark Landler:

President Obama on Monday announced that he would tighten standards on the provision and use of military-style equipment by local police departments, but he stopped short of curtailing the transfer of such hardware or weapons to the local authorities.

Obama also offered still more federal carrots–but in a form designed to reduce the odds of incidents like the one that led to the death of Michael Brown:

The government also announced a $263 million program that will provide up to 50,000 body cameras for the police. The video footage from these cameras could help clarify disputed incidents like the deadly encounter between the teenager in Ferguson, Michael Brown, and the police officer, Darren Wilson.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in what is likely to be the last major initiative of his tenure as head of the Justice Department, is about to spread the word:

The White House’s moves came on a carefully orchestrated day of meetings to telegraph a robust White House response to the unrest in Ferguson. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was to travel to Atlanta on Monday evening to meet with law enforcement officials and community leaders, the first stop on what officials said would be a nationwide tour.

I’m sure that will go over real well with the older white folks in Georgia I wrote about earlier today.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.