The Berkeley City Council voted 5-4 Monday night to let the city’s first responders, including police, join in this year’s Urban Shield exercise.
Berkeley officials are set to vote Monday afternoon, during a special meeting, on whether to allow city police officers to take part in Urban Shield tactical exercises this year.
With questions raised over whether city officials can legally make decisions about police training, Mayor Jesse Arreguín pulled his support from a recent vote on Urban Shield.
City officials have voted, preliminarily, to keep BPD out of Urban Shield despite protests from the city manager’s office and the police and fire chiefs.
Urban Shield may be in need of a course correction, but that does not mean we should simply disengage from it.
The importance of Urban Shield in training police to respond to disasters is exaggerated. Berkeley should exit the program to rebuild good faith between police and people of color.
While it took a majority to turn their back on their citizens on the Urban Shield decision, I am particularly dismayed by City Councilman Ben Bartlett’s vote.
Activists who protested two arrests made after a city council meeting say an elderly man was hit by a police baton in the aftermath.
Jesse Arreguín not only failed to lead the resistance, but actually reversed votes the council had made in December 2015 to pull out of Urban Shield.
With the vote to remain in Urban Shield, and the deployment of the already highly weaponized police force, representative government on Tuesday failed the city of Berkeley.
Berkeley’s mayor, City Council, and every member of its police force should be ashamed of their decision to continue with the poisonous disaster that is Urban Shield.
Police and firefighters will continue participating in Urban Shield for a year while a subcommittee considers alternatives. The decision prompted outrage from a packed room.