Metro Atlanta police react to militarization claims - FOX 13 News

Metro Atlanta police react to militarization claims

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The disturbing images coming out of Ferguson have many asking why police were so heavily armed and whether it's necessary to use that kind of equipment on our own people.

A Doraville law enforcement agency is caught up in the debate after a controversial YouTube video surfaced and landed on national television.

A video was uploaded to YouTube of a Punisher comic book character logo and heavy metal music dubbed over visuals of a Doraville Police Department armored personal carrier. Doraville Police Chief John King says the video was hijacked for YouTube.

“The music and the editing are not consistent with our values,” said King. “That is not the message of the Doraville Police Department.

Chief King told FOX 5's George Franco the altered version of his training video only adds fuel to the fire of Ferguson, Missouri. King says St. Louis and other police agencies nationwide have equipped themselves with surplus military gear, as well as weapons, at greatly reduced prices under a congressional program from the 1990's. King says he doesn't want his officers resembling soldiers.

“I'm very sensitive to the idea that my police officers are police officers first,” said King. “Our daily police functions are the traditional black and white police car standard uniforms.”

SCLC CEO Charles Steele Jr. is headed to Ferguson to meet with the parents of the man shot and killed by a police officer. Steele believes a stumbling block to better police-community relations in St. Louis, and elsewhere, is the militarization of police.

“What's the big lesson? Don't wait for a crisis before you start having a relationship with the community,” said King.

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