Press Release: Mayor Issues Press Release Re Protests

From Charles Burress
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 12:22:00 AM

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates this afternoon released the following statement about the recent protests in Berkeley:  

“I believe Berkeley citizens share in the nationwide concern over the events in Ferguson and New York City and recognize the need to address problems in police-community relations. I fully support the right of citizens to peacefully protest and exercise their First Amendment rights, but the violence we’ve seen the past two nights in Berkeley is unacceptable. 

“While the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators were non-violent, we have had numerous reports of masked demonstrators as the main perpetrators of the damage and destruction. We don’t know who they are, but they are not welcome in Berkeley. 

“We have also received accusations of police use of unnecessary force. Berkeley has one of the best police departments in the nation with an exemplary record of conduct. It’s possible that one or more officers may have exceeded what was required under the circumstances and could face discipline, but that determination requires an impartial review that we have not had an opportunity to complete yet. 

“Free speech and public dialogue are the cornerstone of Berkeley history. I urge protest organizers to communicate with City officials, as we have successfully done in the past, so that police can play a supportive role in diverting traffic from the protest route and helping to avoid possible confrontations with peaceful demonstrators. I hope tonight’s protest will follow in this tradition of Berkeley and be non-violent.”