Berkeley Must Say NO to Mutual Aid Pacts that Turn BPD into Homeland Security
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