Black Lives Matter
Local police forces patrol Ferguson, Missouri in response to protests organized by the Black Lives Matter movement (Flickr.com)
Black Lives Matter reached greater visibility when it became an integral organizing force behind the response to the 2014 death of Michael Brown, a teenager who was killed by Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department. On August 9, Wilson confronted Brown as he and a friend walked in the vicinity of his neighborhood, approximately ten miles from St. Louis. After Brown was shot and killed by Wilson, observers reported that Brown's body remained unattended to for hours. His death and the treatment of his corpse ignited mass protests and unrest in the town. Protesters regularly gathered on Florissant Avenue, Ferguson's main commercial strip, where police, civilians, and media converged. During the protests, local police forces were uniformed in military-style protective gear equipment and used tear gas, tanks, and assault weapons to disperse the crowd. Critics of the police response noted that small police departments had access to surplus military vehicles and accessories through the Pentagon's 1033 program. In response to the public outcry over the use of this equipment, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13688, Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition on January 16, 2015, which limited this practice by banning certain equipment from the program and restricting the use of others. President Donald Trump reversed this move when he issued Executive Order 13809, Restoring State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement's Access to Life-Saving Equipment and Resources on August 28, 2017.