President Obama is setting new limits on the use of military equipment by police departments following unrest in cities over the deaths of black men at the hands of police. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama put in place new restrictions on the use of military equipment by police departments, following unrest in U.S. cities over the deaths of black men at the hands of police officers. Obama is banning police use of equipment such as explosive-resistant vehicles with tracked wheels like those seen on army tanks. For other types of equipment, such as MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicles and riot shields, departments will have to provide added justification for their use. Obama announced the steps, which are the result of an executive order, during a visit on Monday to Camden, New Jersey, where he is pushing efforts to encourage trust-building between police and the communities they serve. The fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in August was followed by a string of highly publicized fatal encounters between police and black men, including Walter Scott who was shot by an officer while fleeing the scene of a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina. Last month, violent protests erupted in Baltimore after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died after sustaining spinal injuries while in police custody. Protesters in Ferguson felt the methods use by police to prevent the demonstrations from turning violent were excessive, and the Justice Department has since launched a review of St. Louis County law enforcement's response to the unrest. The turmoil in Ferguson and Baltimore also highlighted divisions between black and white Americans. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the protests in Baltimore, 69 percent of respondents said America has a serious issue with race. Nearly three-quarters said there is more racism in the United States than the country is willing to admit. In the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, Obama has been speaking out more about race, including in a speech in the Bronx on increasing opportunity for young minority men and during a panel discussion on poverty in Washington. Obama's remarks in Camden are the fourth time in as many weeks that he has held an event to discuss his ideas for improving life for poor black communities.