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Urban Shield police confab protested in Oakland

Posted on November 2nd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CaliforniaHundreds of police officers, sheriffs' deputies and military servicemen from across the country—many donning battle fatigues—converged on downtown Oakland's Marriott Hotel Oct. 25 for the opening of the Urban Shield security confab and weapons show. National and international law enforcement agencies joined with defense industry contractors to attend seminars and display wares for three days. Outside the Marriott, scores of community activists protested the event. United under the name Facing Urban Shield, the coalition said the militarist tone of the event highlighted the worsening human rights records of police forces around the US, and the waste of billions of tax-dollars on prisons. They also charged that the showcasing of arms dealers undercut crime-plagued Oakland's efforts to stem gun violence.

A press conference the coalition held on the 25th included family members of people who have been killed by police—such as Dionne Smith-Downs, the mother of James Rivera Jr., who was 16 years old when he was shot by police in Stockton, Calif. in 2010 with an assault rifle. Said Smith-Downs: "They used an AR-15 assault rifle to kill my son. That's a military weapon right there. And that has got to stop." Rivera's father, Carey Downs, added: "They shot at my son 38 times, 18 into his body. They are using military weapons on our kids in our community—we need to take a lot more action. We are not just fighting for our son but for all of our kids."

While in Oakland, activists with the national Facing Tear Gas campaign also protested at the local headquarters of campaign target Safariland—whose subsidiary Defense Technology has sold tear-gas and other "crowd control" weapons to the governments of Israel, Turkey, Canada, Bahrain and Mexico, as well as to police forces around the US. Safariland tear-gas was used to violently disperse protesters at the Occupy Oakland encampment just two years earlier.

After the rally in front of the Marriott, protesters marched to nearby "Oscar Grant Plaza"—as Occupy Oakland had dubbed the park in front of City Hall where they camped in 2011, named for the youth killed by transit police in the city on New Years Day 2009. There, Facing Urban Shield supporters joined with Occupy Oakland to mark the second anniversary of the Oakland Police Department crackdown and raid of their encampment. (East Bay Express, WRL, Oct. 25)

Cross-post to High Times

 

Comments

Police exercise with special forces troops?

Bill Weinberg's picture

Speaking of militarization of domestic police forces... It barely made a splash, but South Carolina's The State newspaper reported Jan. 19 that Richland County sheriff’s deputies were set to "conduct a secretive joint exercise around the county with unidentified units from Ft. Bragg." This base in North Carolina is home to several elite Special Forces units, long involved in training foreign officers in counter-insurgency techniques. What were they doing training with domestic police, and what does this say about the current state of Posse Comitatus? The State report only warned that the exercise would be "noisy." There seem to have been no follow-up reports.

Comment by Bill Weinberg on Feb 5th, 2014 at 2:42 am

Pentagon fueled Ferguson confrontation

Bill Weinberg's picture

An urban uprising has been underway in Ferguson, Mo., where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by police on Aug. 9, with police wearing military gear sending armored vehicles into the streets and using tear-gas and rubber bullets. Michelle McCaskill, media relations chief at the Defense Logistics Agency, confirmed to USA Today that the Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033 that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the United States. The materials range from small items, such as pistols and automatic rifles, to heavy armored vehicles such as the MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehiclesused in Afghanistan and Iraq. "In 2013 alone, $449,309,003.71 worth of property was transferred to law enforcement," the agency's website states.

This is the best part. According to Kara Dansky of the ACLU speaking on WNYC today, when the Pentagon or Homeland Security gives such equipment to police departments, it is on condition that they actually use it within a year. Otherwise, they have to return the toys. So police forces are being incentivized by the federal government to terrorize the populace...

Comment by Bill Weinberg on Aug 14th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

St. Louis cops use Israeli training

Bill Weinberg's picture

St. Louis' KSDK reported March 24, 2011 that St. Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch was part of a national delegation of law enforcement officials traveling to Israel to study counter-terrorism tactics.  The trip was part of the Anti-Defamation League's National Counter-Terrorism Seminar.

The incumbent St. Louis County police chief is John Belmar, but Israeli expertise was presumably imparted to the force under Fitch...

Comment by Bill Weinberg on Aug 15th, 2014 at 3:59 am

Federal bill would end police militarization

Global Ganja Report's picture

Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) last week announced introduction of the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2014,” which could put an to the days of local and state police agencies being issued military surplus. "Militarizing America’s main streets won’t make us any safer, just more fearful and more reticent," Johnson said in a statement. "Before another small town’s police force gets a $750,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can't maintain or manage, it behooves us to press pause on Pentagon’s 1033 program and revisit the merits of a militarized America." (HT, Sept. 19) 

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Sep 19th, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Amnesty: Ferguson police committed human rights abuses

Global Ganja Report's picture

Police in Ferguson, Mo., committed human rights abuses against peaceful protesters over Aug. 14-22, Amnesty International USA (AI) reported Oct. 24. The rights concerns were witnessed first-hand by AI during the protests. "What Amnesty International witnessed in Missouri on the ground this summer underscored that human rights abuses do not just happen across borders and oceans," said Steven Hawkins, executive director of AI USA. (Jurist)

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Oct 25th, 2014 at 2:30 am

Obama limits military equipment sales to police

Global Ganja Report's picture

In a speech in Camden, NJ, on May 18, President Obama announced he is banning the sale of some kinds of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, saying such equipment can "alienate and intimidate local residents and may send the wrong message." Covered in the ban are tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms, and large-caliber weapons and ammunition. (USA Today)

Comment by Global Ganja Report on May 20th, 2015 at 2:19 am

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