Sunday, June 24, 2012

UPDATE: UCPD's getting a tank from Homeland Security

 
(Cal logo added)

Update (7/6/12): UC Berkeley, along with the Berkeley and Alameda Police Departments, has decided not to purchase the tank after all. So that's good; now to get UCPD off campus...

From Inter Press Service:
The University of California, Berkeley police department is using grant funds from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a Lenco Ballistic Engineered Armoured Response Counter Attack Truck, better known as BearCat. The university will share the BearCat with police from Berkeley and the neighbouring city of Albany, where it will house the vehicle.

Purchasing the vehicle was raised at a Berkeley City Council meeting as part of a larger discussion on the city’s relationship to Homeland Security agencies that award grants and collect information on citizens.

(...)

Because the vehicle is being purchased by the university, and not a city governed by elected bodies, and because no matching funds were required – which the council would have had to approve – the Berkeley police department was not required to disclose the grant application.

Berkeley citizens found out about it only when the watchdog organisation, Berkeley Copwatch, discovered the project as a result of a Public Records Act request for general information on police equipment, according to Andrea Prichett of Copwatch.

(...)

These armoured vehicles are part of “an alarming increase in militarisation” of the police, said Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief and author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.

Stamper explained in a phone interview that, in addition to 9/11, the war on drugs has fuelled the drive toward police militarisation, exacerbating conflict between those targeted – people of color, youth and the poor – and law enforcement.

Once targeted, these communities become the enemy. “We start adding the military nomenclature and the military equipment and military tactics and strategies, and we find SWAT units hitting the house of somebody suspected of having half a bag of marijuana,” he said.

Locally, police militarisation was evident at the Nov. 9, 2011 Occupy Cal demonstration at UC Berkeley, where combat-gear clad police injured peaceful protesters with baton strikes, and on Oct. 25, 2011 in Oakland, when similarly armed police nearly killed a young former Marine when they fired a tear-gas canister that hit him in the head.

“There’s this mistaken belief, that if we harden the image of the police officers, that will give the forces of law and order more legitimacy,” Stamper said. “What it does, I think, is precisely the opposite.”

When police carry weapons and use chemical agents on non-violent demonstrators, they “appear to be the repressive arm of an oppressive establishment”, Stamper explained. An armoured personnel carrier would serve to reinforce that impression.

18 comments:

  1. A TANK? A COLLEGE IS GETTING A TANK? I wonder how many tuition that could of provided for impoverished students. It's hard for me to even wrap my mind around this. Has our military industrial complex really gotten this out of hand? It's almost laughable how much we value the military over all else.

    So many students could of went to college with this money, but I'm sure UPCD will totally need it. God knows the chief needed something to compensate for his dick.

    ReplyDelete
  2. With the recommendations of Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau ($450,000 salary), Provost George Breslauer ($306,000 salary) allowed campus police to use excessive force - rammed baton jabs - on students protesting Birgeneau‘s doubling of instate tuition. Birgeneau resigned: sack Provost Breslauer.

    Send a forceful message that Cal. senior management decisions are unacceptable: UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu and Calif. State Senator and Assemblymember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. State Senate can't touch the Regents nor the Uc administration. Mayor Tom Bates and Loni Hancock are in cahoots with the UC. They are using the UC capital projects as Berkeley's own redevelopment firm. Bates has opened pandora's box by allowing the Regents to dictate policy to the city. Once the UC is allowed to take over downtown Berkeley and West Berkeley there will be no distinct line between the city and Cal. The Regents have taken over Berkeley and Bates is the shill who allowed them to do so.

      Delete
  3. Adding the CAL sticker on the side brings out the reality of potential "military-like" overkill by the campus police. Seriously, couldn't y'all have hired a Peace negotiator or something??

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like the logo. UC could also put other stickers, logos, etc. on it. Kind of a NASCAR thing.

    Seriously though, this is insane.

    Eric Morton, Carlsbad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, or they could just put the inane "Go Bears!" on it.

      Yikes.

      Delete
  5. Now UCPD can finally take back people's park for good!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good reporting here. That vehicle is absolutely ridiculous. I'd say it was for a bunch of clowns, if the stakes weren't so serious.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is what a police state looks like.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Please sign the petition here:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-ucpd-from-procuring-a-bearcat#

    ReplyDelete
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