By this weekend, the show of military force by local police in Ferguson, Missouri, had prompted a response from Congress. The chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) promised to review the Pentagon program that since the 1990s has transferred $4 billion in surplus military equipment to police forces. But many concerned with the policing of communities of color are also saying that demilitarizing local police really isn't the point--or, as comedian John Oliver says, it "would just change the optics." Writing for MSNBC, Columbia University professor Dorian Warren, a board member of Race Forward, which publishes Colorlines, explains:
"...the demilitarization argument does nothing to challenge or change the fact that 'nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012,' according to FBI statistics. ...That's everyday local policing, and has nothing to do with the militarization of local police forces....The choke-hold that killed Eric Garner or the multiple gunshots that killed Michael [Brown] were not military-grade weapons.