US Spending Millions on Riot Gear, Private Security in Response to Pandemic

Even though arrests have sharply declined during the COVID-19 crisis in the US, the federal government is still buying up riot gear and hiring more and more private security services, some of which are being paid for by congressional budget relief funds.

Amid the trillions of dollars in spending by the US government to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has been millions of dollars for security services and police equipment, including riot gear and disposable handcuffs.

Just 10 days after that contract was penned, two Arizona Democratic congressmen, Reps. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego, reported Galls to the Federal Trade Commission and Attorney General William Barr for “price gouging, plain and simple” on personal protective equipment (PPE) sales. According to their letter, N95 masks and other PPE saw a 600% markup compared to prices just two weeks prior for several large purchases by police and fire departments in the city of Phoenix, Arizona.

In response to the accusations, Galls posted a statement on April 3 promising “no profits” from PPE sales to first responders.

However, the police and military equipment dealer also has a record of fraudulent business practices. In 2016, Botach Tactical’s owner, BarKochba Botach, was convicted of illegally selling a community college security officer a second handgun with a larger-than-legal magazine size by using a legal exemption meant for police officers. The security officer then passed that gun to a family friend,…

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