Regulate Military Police Equipment In Berkeley
Support Councilmembers’ Harrison, Bartlett & Taplin’s legislation to regulate police use of military equipment (item 32 on this Tuesday’s Council Agenda)
The Berkeley PD continues to amass military grade equipment such as tank-like armored vehicles and assault rifles disproportionately targeting people of color. Urge Berkeley City Council to vote for strong accountability and transparency around how this equipment is acquired and used!
1. Go to bit.ly/berkeleypolice to sign petition and write to the Council
2. Speak at the Council meeting at 6pm on Tuesday, April 27th at 6pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82895393673
- There is no duplication between this ordinance and the reporting requirements of the Use of Force policy. The ordinance and use of force policy report on different things, using different categories. The Police Review Commission thoroughly considered this question in January. It unanimously concluded that there is no duplication and recommended retaining the ordinance reporting provisions as written.
- Berkeley is boldly Reimagining Public Safety – this ordinance is one step toward that reimagining. After last summer, Berkeley joined other cities to undertake a re-envisioning how to strengthen community safety and address the reasons that communities so often see police as occupying forces. Transparency and oversight of the equipment BPD deploys is a simple step in that direction.
- The impacts on Black and Latino households of the racial disparities in policing in Berkeley are likely amplified when officers deploy militarized weaponry. We know that, especially for young people, the experience of police officers using militarized gear is frequently traumatic, with impacts that are long-lasting.
- Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) have the potential for inflicting severe damage, whatever their intent, according to scientific consensus. Acoustical engineer Tyler Tracy explains in a recent article that LRADs can cause permanent hearing damage to people in their path, and the danger zone or path can change rapidly as LRADs are either hand-held or mounted on vehicles. There is no logical reason to exclude them from a list of controlled equipment.
- It’s important for the community and Council to know how often and where militarized equipment is being deployed. Is deploying an armored vehicle at a Juneteenth celebration a rare event, or is it frequent? Does BPD only deploy assault rifles with the Special Response Team (SWAT), or in other operations? Is this equipment experienced as military used in the Hills, or only in the Flats? This ordinance will provide data to help the public answer these questions. If deployment is unusual, then reporting will be minimal. If deployment is frequent, that is important for the community to know.
California Healing Justice