On Tuesday, shortly before the Derek Chauvin verdict was announced, the organization Black Lives Matter said that President Joe Biden “is currently sending more military equipment to our neighborhoods than” former President Donald Trump did.
The statement was part of a thread urging people to sign a petition demanding “that Biden demilitarize our neighborhoods” and end the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), known as the 1033 Program. BLM’s statement came as the nation and the world waited with bated breath for the historic verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin, who was ultimately convicted Tuesday on all charges of murder and manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
“Biden’s first 100 days are up in 10 days. By then we need him to #End1033, which transfers military equipment into the hands of police across the country– including school & campus police,” BLM tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Another example? The military you see out on your streets ahead of the Chauvin verdict.”
“Biden is currently sending more military equipment to our neighborhoods than Trump did. You read that right,” the organization added. “Our communities are being terrorized at a greater rate than they had been under Trump.”
According to the LESO’s website, the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 1997 from which the program originates “allows transfer of excess Department of Defense property (equipment) that might otherwise be destroyed to law enforcement agencies across the United States and its territories,” including to school law enforcement.
Furthermore, the program since its founding has transferred more than $7.5 Billion worth of property, according to its website. In Fiscal Year 2020 alone, a reported $252 Million worth of property (based on initial acquisition cost) was transferred to law enforcement agencies, of which more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies have enrolled in the program.
According to BLM’s petition, “the flow of military equipment to police under the 1033 Program has accelerated under the Biden administration” and “based on recent reporting, police might just receive even more military equipment under the Biden administration than they did with the Trump administration.” The organization could be referring to the reported plans of Biden to bring back Obama-era restrictions governing the transfer of military equipment to police on January 26 that never happened, which the Security Reform Policy Institute believes is the result of reported lobbying from the the National Association of Police Organizations.
The petition argues that “military-style weapons and equipment have no place in our streets,” communities, schools, or campuses, adding that “they especially have no place in the hands of police — violent upholders of white supremacy that have no regard for Black life.”
The effort calls on the president to end the 1033 Program, which BLM said enables and upholds white supremacy, “with the stroke of a pen” before his first 100 days are up.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.
Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.
“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”
Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”
The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”
The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”
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