Public Comment

Police Review Commission Report on Black Lives Matter Protest

Andrea Prichett, Berkeley Copwatch
Saturday November 28, 2015 - 07:45:00 PM

Dear City Council Members,

I am writing to you in advance of the December 1st City Council meeting at which you will receive a Police Review Commission report on the police response to the Black Lives Matter protest of December 6, 2015. The Police Review Commission has done an admirable job of reviewing the evidence provided to them by the BPD and its report on the protest response. However, the PRC has been unable to hold any individual officers accountable for their wanton aggression against non-violent demonstrators. Cops who assaulted people who were within their rights to be present on the street will not suffer any consequence for their actions. If you follow the link we have provided, you will be able to see for yourself how the police response, rather than protecting the peace and safety of our community, became the single greatest threat to us and caused numerous injuries through its beating, gassing, and shooting of "less lethal" munitions. Sadly, what also becomes clear is that BPD leadership escalated events at many points and we do not believe that the few incidents of individuals throwing objects at police officers justifies the mass gassing of hundreds of people and the indiscriminate shooting of munitions at retreating demonstrators. 

One aspect of problem concerns the militarization of our police department under the leadership of Chief Michael Meehan. I know that many of you have lived in Berkeley long enough to know that in years past, our police department was able to facilitate peaceful protest and deal strategically with incidents of property destruction or violence by individuals. In fact, there was a time when BPD leadership valued its relationship with the community and worked to develop forms of community policing. Such is no longer the case and the perception of the BPD is that it is a department that is out of touch with the needs of our community including how to deal with people with mental health issues, homeless people, people of color and of course, protesters. 

We hope that this incident and a careful review of our investigation will lead you to question the current leadership of BPD and evaluate the increasingly militarized direction of the current leadership. 

Thanks for your consideration. 

To view the People’s Investigation: