Entries Tagged 'Surveillance' ↓
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
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
February 12th, 2012 — Los Angeles PD, Occupy, Police State, Surveillance
08 Feb 2012: The LAPD is fighting crime from a high-tech war room that gives it eyes all over the city. The surveillance hub is now a model for police forces around the world and KCAL9 got an exclusive tour inside from Chief Charlie Beck. “We are targets on our own soil,” says Beck. “We have to be ready.” What began as a grass roots idea following the 9/11 terrorist attacks is now a state-of-the-art real-time analysis critical response center. It’s called RACR, and it’s located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
February 12th, 2012 — Oakland PD, Occupy, Surveillance
More on Cognitech from the SF Chronicle:
February 6, 2012
A Pasadena forensic video enhancement software company has donated its technology to Oakland police to help in capturing the goings-on at Occupy Oakland demonstrations, the company announced in a statement.
At the request of Oakland law enforcement, Cognitech, Inc. officials said they bequeathed the Oakland Police Department the company’s Tri-Suite 11 software system. The software will help enhance and “deblur” the hours of footage police have of demonstrations, double video storage and capture accurate biometric measurements from video to provide police with any possible wrong-doer’s height and weight.
“It is our sincere hope that in donating our forensic video Tri-Suite software to the Oakland Police Department, we are helping to assist the entire community,” CEO Lenny Rudin said in a statement. “Pictures tell the truth and when enhancing these videos and photos forensically, unlawful acts will be seen and analyzed clearly and scientifically, no matter who committed them.”
Occupy Oakland protester Shon Kay, 30, said he thinks such technology won’t deter the movement at all — many protesters assumed that police were employing some form of forensic software already.
However, Kay said he thinks that knowing the police have such technology will just spread more fear and distrust.
“This kind of thing aids their attempt to portray the movement as criminal, by being able to single out the actions of certain individuals and use that as a way to frame everyone that was there,” he said.
“I wish that some private video analytics firm would give us that equipment so that we could analyze what the OPD is doing,” Kay continued. “I think we’d find a lot of criminal activity there.”