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US rethinks giving excess military gear to police

WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, Washington has sent military equipment to U.S. police departments. But federal officials are now reconsidering the idea in light of the violence in Ferguson, Missouri. Attorney General Eric Holder says that when police and citizens need to restore calm, he's concerned that using military equipment and vehicles sends "a conflicting message." Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says police responses like the one in Ferguson have "become the problem instead of the solution." Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia says he'll introduce legislation to reverse police militarization. The Senate Armed Services Committee will review the program to determine if the Defense Department's surplus equipment is being used as intended. The American Civil Liberties Union says police agencies have become "excessively militarized" as officers use battlefield equipment and training on city streets.

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