Most Americans think it's unnecessary for the police to use military weapons as tools for law enforcement, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
According to the new poll, 28 percent of Americans think it's necessary for police to use military weapons and armored vehicles, while 51 percent think use of such items is going too far.
Democrats in the poll said by a 63 percent to 21 percent margin that they think militarization of local police is going too far, and independents said so by a 52 percent to 26 percent margin. On the other hand, Republicans were more likely to say that police use of military weapons and armored vehicles is necessary than that it's going too far, 44 percent to 34 percent.
A Reason-Rupe poll, which mentioned drones in addition to weapons and armored vehicles, had similar findings in December. In that poll, 37 percent said that such militarization is necessary and 58 percent said it's going too far.
Police militarization has come under fire recently in part because of the reaction of police in Ferguson, Missouri, to protesters there after the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white officer Darren Wilson. Officers have used tear gas and armored vehicles among crowds of protesters, and some officers have carried assault rifles.
President Barack Obama spoke on Monday about the Pentagon program that allows local police departments to purchase many of those weapons, saying, "I think it's probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars, to make sure that what they are purchasing is stuff they actually need."
And Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) announced last week that he would introduce legislation to scale back that program.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Aug. 16-17 among 1,000 U.S. adults, including 117 black respondents, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.
08/26/2014 7:49 AM EDT
The Toll On Michael Brown's Family
USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:
Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.
In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.
"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."
08/26/2014 7:44 AM EDT
New Audio Allegedly Captures Moment Michael Brown Was Shot
New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.
CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.
08/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: America, It's Time To Deal With Policing
08/25/2014 12:53 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: All Of Us Are Required To Respond
Rev. Al Sharpton: All of us are required to respond to this #MikeBrownfuneral— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) August 25, 2014
08/25/2014 12:48 PM EDT
Benjamin Crump: We Will Not Accept Three-Fifths Justice For Michael Brown
08/25/2014 12:28 PM EDT
Funeral Program Includes Tribute From Michael Brown's Parents
USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father
08/25/2014 12:22 PM EDT
Michael Brown's Stepmother: He Prophesied His Own Death
Stepmother of #MichaelBrown said the late teen "pretty much prophesied his own death and didn't realize it."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 25, 2014