CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As protests and demonstrations continue across Virginia and beyond, community members are urging the Charlottesville City Council to demilitarize the city’s police.
More than 200 people have signed the No Militarized Policing in Charlottesville petition as of Friday, June 12, and the number of signatures is growing.
“The idea is to prevent now and any time in the future making the police in Charlottesville look and act like a military,” David Swanson, the creator of the petition, said.
“So, prevent them from having weapons of war from [the military]. Prevent them from having training as a military, or by a military, to treat the public as an enemy in a war, rather than as people they are here to serve and protect,” Swanson said.
The petition calls for Charlottesville City Council to ban “military-style training of police by the U.S. military," as well as the use of private or foreign police forces.
It also calls for the Charlottesville City Council to ban “the acquisition of any weaponry from the U.S. military,” as well as enhanced training and a commitment to limiting use of force.
Swanson said it’s time for the city to make the change.
“Charlottesville has a responsibility to lead, not just bring up the rear on the progress that’s happening across the country in response to Minneapolis, but also in response to events that happened here,” he said.
Swanson also said anyone can sign the petition, and he wants as many people as possible to sign the petition before turning it to City Council.