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President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police out of concern at how such equipment has been used during racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. A senior Obama administration official said on Saturday the president has ordered a review of federal programs and funding that enable state and local law enforcement to purchase military equipment. Images of police wielding military-style guns and armor have alarmed many Americans following violence that was triggered by the fatal shooting of an African-American teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer in Ferguson. Obama wants to know whether the programs, begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are appropriate and whether state and local law enforcement are given proper training, the official said.
Several thousand people demonstrated on New York's Staten Island Saturday to protest the death of a black man placed in a chokehold by police. Eric Garner, 43, a father of six who was suspected of illegally selling cigarettes, was wrestled to the ground by several white police officers after resisting arrest on July 17. Classified as a homicide by the New York medical examiner's office, his death set off intense reactions and several protests in New York reminiscent of those in Ferguson, Missouri, over the August 9 police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. "I can't breathe" and "no justice, no peace," chanted the demonstrators, who converged on Staten Island, one of five New York City boroughs, by bus and ferry.