The Davis City Council in California has told its police department that it has 60 days to come up with a plan to get rid of its mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle, after the city received pressure from local residents who feared their police are becoming too militarized.
The vehicle, worth nearly $700,000, was acquired by the Davis Police Department for free a few weeks ago through a U.S. military surplus program. Its arrival sparked immediate controversy within the community, bringing a large crowd to Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, a local CBS affiliate reported.
“I would like to say I do not suggest you take this vehicle and send it out of Davis, I demand it. I demand it!” shouted a man dressed in a “Tank The Tank” T-shirt, the station said.
“My understanding is that these vehicles were designed to help reduce casualties and fatalities among our military personnel in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where they were being blown up by mines and being ambushed… I don’t think these things are happening very often in Davis,” said one resident during the public forum, the NBC affiliate reported.
“There is a legitimate need, a very obvious tactical need for this vehicle,” said Police Chief Landry Black. The plan was to use the vehicle for rescues and covering officers during high-risk situations, the station reported.
But residents fear the vehicle could be used to quell protests, especially in light of clashes between police and demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri. Others mentioned the 2011 police response during the Occupy Movement, the station said.
Council members agreed to meet with the police department and work on a solution in re-purposing the vehicle and will also take a closer look at the acquisition policy, the station reported.