Entries Tagged 'Mutual Aid' ↓
July 5th, 2012 — Berkeley PD, Federal Law Enforcement, Militarization, Mutual Aid, Police State, UC Police
Solid investigative work and public pressure kept this phase of police militarization at bay! University of California Berkeley has decided it doesn’t need a Lenco Bearcat on campus afterall, and Albany and Berkeley also agree this is not needed in their communities.
Keep up the fight to keep our streets safe! For the full story see the Albany Patch:
June 27th, 2012 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Militarization, Mutual Aid, Police State, UC Police
June 27th, 2012 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Copwatch in the News, Militarization, Mutual Aid, Police State, UC Police
Apparently, the City Council isn’t happy with the BPD, but is the Bearcat already on its way? We’re not just upset about militarization and police department secrets, we don’t want it here:
May 19th, 2012 — Berkeley PD, Militarization, Mutual Aid, Police State
If Berkeley Police Department has its wishes granted by Homeland Security, this will join our local arsenal. What would this be used for?
May 14th, 2012 — Berkeley PD, Berkeley Police Review Commission, Militarization, Mutual Aid, Police State, Surveillance
Berkeley Police Department is currently seeking funding and training from UASI (Urban Areas Security Initiative- a Homeland Security program that trains local police departments in urban warfare.) Berkeley Police are now trying to buy a giant armored vehicle that will be used to suppress protests and terrorize demonstrators. According to their grant application, they intend to share this tank-like vehicle with UC Berkeley Police and Albany Police. Berkeley Police have already come under criticism for their conduct at UCB and Oakland Occupy protests. Without increased accountability, BPD risks becoming a department that is not only out of control, but very heavily armed.
The Berkeley Police Review Commission has been effectively rendered incapable of holding BPD officers accountable for their actions. Until the City Council and the people of Berkeley rewrite the ordinance establishing civilian oversight of the police, it is truly dangerous to give them even more war material with which to suppress dissent.
The Berkeley Municipal Code requires that Police Department (PD) Agreements be reduced to writing and presented to the City Council for approval. The council has a real choice in the matter!
The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) program encourages police “spying’ on persons involved in non-criminal behaviors: taking a photo of a building, buying fertilizer, wearing a headscarf or turban, and then sending a Suspicious Activity Report to NCRIC.
1) We demand that the City Council reject pacts with NCRIC*, the Spying program, and UASI. These programs are set to expire June 30, 2012.
2) We also demand that the Berkeley PD not respond to mutual aid requests for purely First Amendment activities and not respond to, or request aid from jurisdictions that use brutal tactics and/or so-called non-lethal weapons. And of course, no armored vehicles.
FOR INFO CONTACT BERKELEY COPWATCH 510-548-0425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
May 14th, 2012 — Berkeley, Militarization, Mutual Aid, Police State
We Don’t Need a Tank! We Need Police Accountability! Say NO to Mutual Aid
Pacts with Federal Agencies!
STOP THE FEDERALIZATION OF BERKELEY POLICE
BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL MEETING
TUESDAY MAY 15, 2012
6pm Rally on the steps of City Hall
(MLK and Center Street)
Come and Speak out at the Tuesday May 15, 2012 City Council, 7pm Old City Hall
at 2134 M.L. King Jr. Way, Berkeley.
Berkeley is violating its own laws! The Berkeley Municipal Code requires that
Police Department (PD) Agreements be reduced to writing and presented to the
City Council for approval.
NCRIC*, the Spying program, and UASI**, the urban warfare program, are merely
verbal agreements coordinated with the FBI and Homeland Security. These
programs expire June 30, 2012. Being in violation of local law they must not be
renewed or allowed to continue without Council action.
*The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center program encourages police
“spying’ on persons involved in non-criminal behaviors: taking a photo of a
building, buying fertilizer, wearing a headscarf or turban, and then sending a
Suspicious Activity Report to NCRIC.
**The Urban Areas Security Initiative, through Urban Shield conducts urban
warfare exercises with local police departments.
Also ask that the Berkeley PD not respond to mutual aid requests for purely
First Amendment activities and not respond to, or request aid from
jurisdictions that use brutal tactics and/or so-called non-lethal weapons.
May 7th, 2012 — Excessive Force, Militarization, Mutual Aid, Oakland PD, Occupy, Police State, Tasers
We had some good numbers out in the streets from May Day morning to May Day night–and saw broad daylight police Tasering of protestors, to the forewarned “surgical arrests”, to the Alameda County sheriff’s department lined up with their assault rifles, to the sickeningly brutal front line police charges on Broadway that rushed and tackled protestors and nabbed at least one of us while filming and hauled us off to jail. We had new copwatchers in the streets that showed solid bravery, endurance, and camera savvy, as well as veteran copwatchers refusing to be bullied by the numerous agencies (Union City Police? What were you doing rushing down the Oakland sidewalks in full riot gear?)
We could have used more numbers with cameras–as actions in San Francisco were left unwitnessed by our team, and at least one team was broken up with members left isolated following the 9:30pm arrests on Broadway. But overall, we ran a strong, responsible, and fluid monitoring patrol that covered lots of ground throughout the day, supported by an excellent dispatcher. Great job copwatchers and solidarity to Occupy and all May Day protestors!
Come by our weekly meeting tomorrow at 7pm at the Grassroots House and compare notes on positions and what we saw, and plan for the next actions and sign up for neighborhood shifts. See you there.
And, from Dave Id, check out his piece on crowd control violations this May Day, including footage of OPD’s motorcycle “BUMPing” ….Judge Thelton Henderson, we’re counting on you to be watching:
Also, if you haven’t seen the massive Alameda County sheriff’s armored vehicle “Grizzly”, see Anonymous’ photo at: http://twitter.com/#!/YourAnonNews/status/197459134013120512 )
March 14th, 2012 — Federal Law Enforcement, Mutual Aid, Police State, Racism, Rights, San Francisco PD, Surveillance
Coalition for a Safe San Francisco
For Immediate Release: San Francisco, March 13, 2012
Ordinance to Prevent SFPD-FBI Abuse Passes Board of Supervisors with 6 Votes!
Community disappointed by “No” votes from Progressive Supervisors Cohen and Wiener, and look to Mayor Lee for future support
(SAN FRANCISCO, CA – 03/13/12) Earlier today, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to pass an Ordinance introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim titled the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance. The Ordinance seeks to codify pre-existing San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) protocol and Department General Orders (DGO) with respect to the SFPD’s collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The current agreement with the FBI was signed secretly in 2007 without public, Board, or Police Commission knowledge. At present, DGOs and San Francisco values regarding transparency, accountability, and civil rights compliance are not mandated, but may be followed simply at the will of the Officers participating in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
This has been of great concern to City residents who are requesting through this Ordinance that these laws and values be immediately codified so that the City is certain to protect against further harassment and profiling. In particular those from marginalized and targeted communities such as the Arab, Muslim, South Asian, Queer, African American, Chinese, and other immigrant communities are concerned.
An Arab community member who was profiled by SFPD and asked to be kept unnamed for fear of further harassment against him and his family spoke out saying “I am in constant fear for my privacy and security. It is our hope that this ordinance will protect all of us.”
Though the Ordinance passed today on first vote, with six Supervisors speaking out strongly in support of the Ordinance, community members were disappointed by the lack of support from the other Supervisors, particularly Wiener, Cohen, and Chu who represent communities that are often victims of FBI or law enforcement harassment.
Supervisor Wiener dissented with the Ordinance, stating “I am 100% supportive of having those local standards that reflect San Francisco values… the question for me is whether this needs to be legislated… and I don’t think it does.” Although this Ordinance would merely codify the local standards Supervisor Wiener supports, Wiener exercised his “no” vote in front of dozens of disappointed community members showing that for him their concerns do not warrant this legislation. Despite hours of prior community testimony where members of LGBTQ, African American, and Japanese communities also supported this Ordinance, Supervisor Wiener dismissed comparisons between law enforcement profiling of LGBTQ and Japanese communities and the current actions of the FBI against Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities. Other Supervisors voting “no” declined to comment publicly during the vote.
Board President David Chiu disagreed with Wiener’s sentiments and defended the Ordinance, “It wasn’t too long ago that Chinese Americans were detained and interrogated… it wasn’t very long ago that African Americans had their phones tapped, and that LGBTQ individuals in San Francisco were dragged from bars and harassed. Every meeting we start with the Pledge of Allegiance… we have to do our part to make sure we stand for a city with ‘liberty and justice for all’.”
Supervisor Jane Kim thanked the community members and organizations that brought this forward, and responded to the lone concerns voiced by Supervisor Wiener, stating “This ordinance does not make our City less safe, in fact I would argue that it makes our city more safe by codifying the civil rights protections we already hold sacred in San Francisco… If we really believe in these values then they deserve to be codified into law.”
Community members and representatives of the over 70 endorsing organizations see today’s vote as a step in the right direction. “Today is a victory in the initial passage of a law that would help to protect all communities from racial profiling. Now we call on the rest of the Supervisors and the Mayor to stand on the side of justice – support this Ordinance and take a proactive stand for civil rights,” said Nour Chammas of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.
About the Coalition: The Coalition for a Safe San Francisco is a growing grassroots alliance dedicated to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties challenged by overbroad national security policies. These policies have historically impacted communities of struggle and today are disproportionately targeting South Asian, Arab, and Muslim Americans. For additional information, visit www.safesf.org.
Contact: Lily Haskell, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, 415.861.7444; Nasrina Bargzie, Asian Law Caucus, 415.896.1701; Zahra Billoo, Council on American Islamic Relations –SF Bay Area, 626.252.0885; Nadia Kayyali, National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area, 510.207.1040
For more information on the work of the Coalition, see
November 11th, 2011 — Mutual Aid, Oakland PD, Occupy
As police prepare to evict Occupy encampment, many outside agencies say they don’t want to help
Source: The Bay Citizen (s.tt/13Mi6)
By Shoshana Walter
November 10, 2011
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday, a man was shot and killed at Frank Ogawa Plaza, feet away from the Occupy Oakland encampment. Almost immediately after the shooting, the protesters tweeted, “This was unrelated to the occupation.”
Members of Occupy Oakland may have been concerned that the shooting could precipitate a police raid, something they have been bracing for, as City Council members have demanded the immediate closure of the camp. Even Mayor Jean Quan, who allowed protesters to set up another encampment soon after authorizing a raid on the encampment last month, is calling for protesters to leave peacefully.
“Tonight’s incident underscores the reason why the encampment must end. The risks are too great,” the mayor said in a statement Thursday night.
Oakland police have begun to plan another eviction operation, but it appears that this time, they may not be able to rely on other law enforcement agencies. Quan’s indecisiveness has frustrated many agencies that provided mutual aid during the eviction and two subsequent demonstrations. Some of the agencies say they cannot afford to send more police to Oakland, when their own departments are understaffed — and especially if the city is going to allow protesters to return to the camp.
“There are some chiefs and some city councils that I think are upset with having to keep sending officers to Oakland,” said Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. “And their point is: ‘Why are we sending people there when their own mayor can’t make a decision on what to do?’”
The Sheriff’s Department told Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan Wednesday they will charge $1,000 per deputy for a 12-hour shift. Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern said his deputies would only come in for free if the situation prompted an emergency.
“After we assisted Oakland in removing the occupiers who were unlawfully camping in Frank Ogawa Plaza, the government officials allowed them back into the plaza and allowed them to resume camping,” said Ahern. “They’re trying to allow people the right to free speech and it’s a very difficult line that we’re dealing with here. But once they allow it, then they have to understand . . . it’s no longer an emergency.”
Oakland police officers say they understand why other departments are reluctant to help. During a confrontation Nov. 3, demonstrators dressed in black clothing, wearing masks and bandanas, set fire to homemade barricades, threw firecrackers at police and smashed the windows of downtown businesses.
“No one wants to come back,” said one police supervisor. “They sustained injuries, they spent all this money on overtime. We used them for nothing.”
Oakland had already spent more than $1 million on cleanup and police response to the Oct. 25 protests; that figure will increase substantially when the city tallies the costs for the massive demonstration and clashes on Nov. 3. Meanwhile, some neighboring police agencies have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on overtime and equipment.
Of the 17 agencies that responded to the call for mutual aid on Oct. 25, six that replied to Bay Citizen inquiries have spent a total of $425,000, a conservative estimate. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has spent upwards of $250,000, according to a department estimate, while the Berkeley Police Department and San Francisco Sheriff’s Department have spent more than $120,000 combined, according to preliminary estimates. The numbers for those agencies alone, according to police department officials, are likely to go higher.
Oakland police officers, unsure of which agencies they can rely on, are bracing for what they believe will be an inevitable showdown with protesters, who are preparing for a fight.
“We’re going to defend the camp,” said protester Brooke Anderson, who was arrested during an Oct. 25 confrontation with police.
As the encampment enters its second month and the city’s costs rise, Quan is facing more pressure to take action.
On Wednesday, City Council President Larry Reid and four other council members, along with business and religious leaders, attempted to stage a news conference at Lake Merritt to call for the immediate closure of the tent city. A swarm of protesters chanting, “We are the 99 percent” interrupted the event. The council members yelled back, “Occupy Oakland must go.”
On Thursday, Reid said some council members wanted to schedule a “no confidence vote” in the mayor, but it’s unclear whether such a vote, which has no legal impact, will make it onto the council’s agenda.
Quan has also lost key support staff. Nathan Ballard, a democratic strategist and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s onetime chief of communications, decided to end his $20,000 contract as a consultant to the mayor’s office after Quan allowed the Occupy protesters back in the plaza. Ballard is not billing the city for any of the work he had done, including an Oct. 21 meeting during which Quan, City Administrator Deanna Santana, police Chief Howard Jordan and other police officials discussed the imminent police action. City Hall sources said Ballard grew frustrated when Quan would not listen to his advice.
Ballard told The Bay Citizen on Thursday, “Nobody cares as much about the city of Oakland as Jean Quan. And her intentions are good, and I wish her well.”
But he said that Quan needed to do a better job of communicating during the protests. Quan was in Washington, D.C., the day of the eviction and flew back to Oakland that night as the marches were beginning. When she landed, she called reporters to find out what was happening.
“It’s important to have regular communication with your constituents when you’re in a crisis. Daily briefings are important. Press releases are important. Bulletins are important,” Ballard said. “Your constituents deserve real-time information when there’s violence on the streets.”
On Thursday, Quan canceled her weekly media briefing, because City Hall offices were closed due to budget cuts.
After police first evicted the encampment early in the morning of Oct. 25, protesters regrouped and began marching in the street later that day. During those demonstrations, there were several tense confrontations between protesters and police. Television cameras captured officers firing what appeared to be flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets into the crowd. Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull during the clashes. The incident, which is still under investigation, drew worldwide scrutiny of the Oakland Police Department’s tactics.
That has made other departments think twice about sending police to Oakland.
“We’re not authorizing people to do that kind of stuff. Not in our name,” said Maxwell Anderson, a Berkeley City Council member, during a Tuesday night City Council meeting about the mutual aid agreement.
The allegations of excessive police force have raised questions about how the mutual aid system works.
Many of the 17 agencies that responded to the department’s calls for aid that day and night agreed to help on the condition that they be allowed to follow their own policies on the use of force, which may have involved nonlethal munitions that are not in OPD’s repertoire: flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets. It is still not clear which agencies were responsible for using those devices.
Furthermore, while some agencies received a copy of the department’s use of force policy, none of the agencies interviewed by The Bay Citizen received a copy of the department’s operations plan for the night or the department’s crowd-control policy, which strictly forbids the use of rubber bullets, stun guns and stinger grenades, among others.
Defense lawyers, including the mayor’s own personal attorney, Dan Siegel, said they are likely to pursue litigation against the city for excessive use of force. So far, no protester has filed a lawsuit against the city, but an indemnity clause in the countywide mutual aid agreement releases the Oakland Police Department, or the agency requesting help, from liability during a police operation, and dictates that individual agencies are responsible for their own use of force, placing less of a burden on the the department to answer for other agencies that may be using excessive force.
“What that does is creates an incentive unfortunately for the OPD not to be scrupulous,” said Linda Lye, a staff attorney for the the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, who has petitioned the department for access to public records related to the use of force investigation. “The indemnification clause removes the incentive one would want to see in place to encourage OPD to ensure that everyone present in a major enforcement action is abiding by gold standard rules.”
Cities and counties say it’s not clear when or whether they will be reimbursed for the costs of sending officers to Oakland.
“It’s very expensive,” said Lt. Dave Villalobos of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, which was still tallying department costs. “It’s very disruptive not only to our lives but to the agency. If an officer is not on his beat or on patrol or a deputy is not on patrol or in the jail, then someone either has to replace him on overtime, or they have to go short. Because those bodies are in Oakland.”
Oakland council member Libby Schaaf said she understood why many outside agencies are “wondering if their resources are well spent.”
“I think it was a mistake after we expended the resources to clear out the camp, to allow the tents to come back. And I think that the agencies that assisted us in that effort are understandably confused,” she said.
While Santana, the Oakland city administrator, says the state will reimburse outside agencies for their expenses, state officials say Oakland has not taken the appropriate steps to ensure that.
“There have been very few conversations, if any, with the city,” said Jordan Scott, a spokesman for the California Emergency Management Agency.
In order to be considered for reimbursement from the state, Scott explained, the city must first declare a local emergency, then petition the governor to declare a state of emergency.
“They would then be eligible for a certain level of reimbursement,” Scott said. “But at this point, none of that has come through. We’re not going to get involved.”
November 7th, 2011 — Berkeley PD, Mutual Aid, Occupy
COME TO CITY COUNCIL MEETING
NOVEMBER 8th at 7pm
City Council @ 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
(across from Occupy Berkeley!)
The people of the Berkeley have a unique opportunity to let their voice be
heard and to stand up for those who protest this unjust system. Demand that the
Council modify Mutual Aid agreements to ensure that BPD is not used to stop the
exercise of free speech.
We can demand:
a) That our police will only respond where a credible/demonstrable threat to
the health or safety of the people of that area exists and the resources of the
host city are inadequate to manage it. Mutual aid in times of natural or other
types of disasters would qualify for such assistance.
b) That Berkeley officers must abide by the policies of our department and be
accountable to the policies of BPD OVER those policies of the host city.
Whatever is not permitted by Berkeley policies will not be required or
permitted by our officers in a host city.
Despite what Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss has
said publicly, on the morning of the raid of Occupy Oakland, Berkeley police
were equipped with less-lethal munitions and did assist in suppressing free
speech in Oakland. They were not simply doing “traffic control”.
Copwatch wants to know what BPD Chief Meehan intends to do about officers who:
1) Cover badges and have no # on helmut (in violation of PC section 830.10)
2) Use crowd control devices for patrol purposes
3) Violate the department’s policy on the rights of civilians to observe
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact Berkeley Copwatch @ 510-548-0425 or email@example.com