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Berkeley’s police are collaborating with some very unsavory federal police agencies. In the process, our civil rights and civil liberties have been put in jeopardy. Which side is Berkeley on? Do we really want to be part of a national police network headed by “America’s top cop,” the arch-racist attorney general, Jeff Sessions? The City Council needs to decisively sever Berkeley from a militarized surveillance state that is spreading its tentacles everywhere.
On Tuesday, June 20, more than 500 Stop Urban Shield activists became ungovernable at the end of a six-hour Berkeley City Council meeting once it was clear that the Council would not pull the Berkeley police out of Urban Shield 2017. As Mayor Jesse Arreguin and other councilors discussed tepid motions and then began voting, the crowd drowned them out chanting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
On Tuesday evening, Dec. 17, 2015, the Berkeley City Council voted to keep sending officers to the annual Urban Shield war games and weapons expo, even after one vocal citizen held up the expo’s best selling T-shirts and read their inscriptions: “Black Rifles Matter,” “This (barrel of a gun) is my peace symbol” and “Destruction cometh. And they shall seek peace. And there shall be none” (Ezekiel 7:25-27, King James Bible).
Berkeley Copwatch co-founder Andrea Prichett spoke to KPFA about justice for Kayla Moore and organizing for the long haul, to make police obsolete. Berkeley Copwatch has been taking action against police violence in Berkeley since 1990. The Copwatch organizing model and investigative techniques have spread across the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. This week Berkeley Copwatch posted a list of local campaigns to create real change in Berkeley.
The Block Report is in a rebuilding phase after being unjustifiably banned from the Pacifica airwaves under a plan engineered by former Pacifica lawyer and current Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel. One of the main campaigns we are working on right now is to expose Siegel’s pro-police history to the left leaning crew that supports him in his Oakland mayoral campaign.
Tracy Rosenberg is the executive director of Media Alliance, an action and resource organization in Oakland advocating just, accountable and diverse media. She has been a listener representative on the KPFA Local Station Board since 2007 and a member of the Pacifica National Board of Directors since 2010. We asked her to comment on the situation from her perch as an insider. Here’s what we talked about.
Along with family members of Kayla (Xavier) Moore, Berkeley Copwatch has been trying to investigate the Feb. 13, 2013, death of Kayla Moore in police custody. We are troubled to see that Berkeley police officers are not only keeping track of us and our activities with regard to Kayla’s death, they are attempting to intimidate us.
Angry and grieving family members rallied at the Fruitvale BART station to mark the 15th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. One speaker, Norman Curry, spoke of how his mother was shot point blank by an officer who called her by name, “Anita (Gay).”
On Aug. 20, 2008, Nadra Foster was beaten mercilessly - her arm still paralyzed - by Berkeley police inside of “progressive” radio station KPFA where she had volunteered for over 10 years. Monday, March 22, THE CHARGES AGAINST NADRA WERE DROPPED! Now let's get the charges dropped against Holly Noll, the last of the Oakland 100, on her next court date, April 5. Cisco Torres of the San Francisco 8 too! All power to the people!
Support both of these cases. In both cases of the police and courts have no evidence. These are bogus charges to waste the defendants’ time and resources. We as the community must stand behind these two warriors as they are attacked individually and the community is attacked through them. What's the call? Free ‘em all!