While many Americans have learned of police militarization and the misconduct it can enable for the first time thanks to recent events in Ferguson, the billionaire Koch brothers have funded opposition to militarized police for decades. Often vilified by the left as a paramount negative influence in American politics, the Kochs have a long history of support for what is sometimes considered a liberal cause célèbre — as explained by Mark Holden of Koch Industries:
"We need to address issues such as overcriminalization, excessive and disproportionate sentencing, inadequate indigent defense that is inconsistent with the Sixth Amendment, and the militarization of police. We have deep respect for the moral dignity of each and every person and because of this, we've worked for decades to support those who defend the full range of individual rights." [The Daily Beast]
This support has included funding of police brutality expert Radley Balko, author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces, during his time at the libertarian Cato Institute and Reason Magazine. Both organizations continue to address police militarization and criminal justice reform since Balko's departure for TheWashington Post, with Cato maintaining a long-term Project on Criminal Justice.
David Koch also supports gay marriage, legalizing marijuana, and an end to American wars in the Middle East.