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Press Release: Berkeley Residents Urge Police Reforms

From George Lippman
Monday June 18, 2012 - 11:07:00 PM

The Coalition for a Safe Berkeley will ask the City Council on this Tuesday, June 19, to bring police practices in line with constitutional standards. The Council will hold an historic workshop on protecting civil rights and civil liberties in local law enforcement. Following the workshop, the Council will vote on changes proposed by community groups. 

Five organizations will address the Council on police department inter-agency agreements and internal policies:  

Coalition for a Safe Berkeley American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Berkeley Police Review Commission (PRC) Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) 

According to George Lippman, member of the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, “This dialogue between Council and community is historic. The community calls for police resources to focus on crime-fighting, not gathering and sharing intelligence on civil disobedience and political and religious dissent. Berkeley residents will also speak against BPD collaboration with the ICE mass-deportation program, ‘Secure Communities.’ Council members must then take a moral stand on whether to uphold Berkeley’s values of civil rights and civil liberties in policing.” 

The Coalition’s mutual aid proposal would prevent recurrence of last fall’s multi-agency crackdown on Occupy encampments around Northern California. The Coalition also urges first-in-the-nation regulation of local police sharing non-criminal “suspicious activity reports” with national law enforcement networks. ABC TV News and the Bay Guardian have each covered these proposals favorably. 

“Berkeley Police attempted to get an armored tank, without letting the elected City government know. The BPD proposal stated it needs this tank for public events like the Solano Stroll. I keep picturing a tank at the Solano Stroll, and wonder: Who does BPD imagine is on the other side of the gun sights?” says Sharon Adams, a member of the National Lawyers Guild-SF Bay Area Executive Board. 


Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 

Time: 5 p.m. 

Place: City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, Old City Hall 

2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way 

Berkeley, CA 94703