Outrage after resurfaced report shows Los Angeles SCHOOL police acquired grenade launchers and armored vehicles
Many users took to social media to illustrate that this is why police funding reform was needed, asking why military weapons were necessary for protection of school students
Protests against police brutality will enter the third week since they started in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American, at the hands of the Minneapolis police after former police officer, Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him despite pleas from Floyd that he could not breathe.
Protests have since spread to all 50 states and internationally, with one major demand: defund the police. Protesters are arguing that incremental police reform has failed and that a better solution would be to more effectively address underlying factors that contribute to crime, like poverty and homelessness. Activists argue that this can be achieved by cutting often tremendous budgets for police forces and reallocating these funds toward social services such as housing and youth services.
Amid the George Floyd protests, a 2014 Los Angeles Times report has reemerged on social media. The report detailed that the Los Angeles Unified school police officials had agreed that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. The Los Angeles School Police Department agreed to return three grenade launchers but intended to keep 61 rifles and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle it received through the program.
Many users took to social media to illustrate that this is why police funding reform was needed, asking why military weapons were necessary for school police. One user tweeted, "I'm sorry, why does a school police department need F**KING GRENADE LAUNCHERS AND ARMORED VEHICLES? They’re there to protect students, not fight the freaking Taliban." Another wrote, "So this headline stunned me a bit. Why the HECK would even the most troubled K12 public school district need *checks notes* THREE Grenade Launchers and a *checks notes again* Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Armored Vehicle??"
One user opined, "Why the f**k do school police need grenade launchers (let alone 3 of them)? Actually why the f**k is there a school district police force in the first place?" Another tweeted, "This is what “defund the police” means. LA school police — *school police* — bought grenade launchers and an armored vehicle. To oversee *teenagers*. These police are paranoid fantasists. They do not need and should not have these weapons."
One user wrote, "This is why people are talking about defunding the police...if these [school police] have grenade launchers, wtf do the other police departments have?"
In response, the official Twitter account for the Los Angeles School Police Department wrote, "That equipment was donated to us. All equipment was returned and never used. Originally we accepted the armored vehicle to use it as a rescue vehicle in case of an active shooter situation; to enter a dangerous situation and rescue students and staff members."
When a user tweeted, "@LASchoolPolice Maybe you should give back the rifles and the armored vehicle too," the Twitter account for the Los Angeles School Police Department responded, "This was donated to us through the 1033 program. All weapons and the vehicle were returned."