“If Berkeley can’t stop drones, there’s little hope elsewhere. So give us some hope.” During a May 1st town hall on drones, a former Bay Area resident and current anti-drone activist in Las Vegas encouraged two Berkeley commissions to draft strong resolutions banning drones over Berkeley skies.
Berkeley’s ‘Peace and Justice Commission’ and ‘Police Review Commission’ each have a subcommittee specifically addressing drones. Each commission (both in full attendance for this meeting) will be drafting a recommendation on drones for City Council vote, and this town hall was called by the two subcommittees to make public the conversation on the matter.
Discussed this night by a panel of guest speakers (before a crowd of about 50 Berkeley residents) were the technical aspects and limitations of drones, whether drones would really improve public safety, civil liberties concerns and the moral and political consequences of drones.
A few guest speakers highlighted the need for policy & regulation of drones. Parker Higgins of the Electronic Frontier Foundation highlighted the need for Berkeley to create “thoughtful and substantive rules” for drone use “especially by law enforcement and that’s because of the rate of progress of this technology…these rules need to go beyond just the technology that we’re looking at today, and address the root issues that these technologies raise.”
These root issues were addressed by Linda Lye from the ACLU of Northern California:
“Why do they raise civil liberties concerns? Drones are capable of collecting comprehensive information about who we are, where we go, when we go, and with whom we spend our time. This is detailed information that paints an intimate portrait of our lives and who we are. The right to privacy means the right to control ones personal information.”
She went on to highlight the focus of this issue by most who spoke at the town hall: Law enforcement. “Drones can be used for warrant-less mass surveillance.”
A few of the other guest speakers called for an outright ban on drones in Berkeley. A representative from Berkeley Copwatch is against drones altogether for Berkeley because of the Berkeley Police Department’s history of stonewalling:
“I’ve taken a look at the ACLU’s report and I think they’ve really come up with some wonderful guidelines for drone use. They would be wonderful in a climate with effective police accountability. In an absence of a way to control the police, even the best guidelines, restrictions, suggestions are not really going to have an impact.”
Alameda County Against Drones is also for an outright ban, and Neil Satterlund goes into why restrictions might not be enough:
“I do not know what sorts of restrictions on drone use would be enough because I do not know what currently unforeseeable mission drone use is going to creep into.”
Aside from a drone lobbyist citing educational & recreational uses, and a Berkeley local wanting to avoid an outright ban in the case of search & rescue opportunities, the theme of an outright ban on drones during public comment was overwhelming.
Just as the evening was wrapping up a ‘Peace and Justice Commission’ member immediately began a discussion with her colleagues…in favor of an outright ban.
They hope Berkeley City Council will vote on their decided policy as soon as possible.
VIDEO CLIPS from this event on Youtube
Residents of Alameda County, rest assured, you have been sold on Sheriff Gregory Ahern’s desire for a drone…according to Sheriff Ahern.
(via interview with KQED’s Stephanie Martin ) “I have sold it to the community. Everyone I’ve talked to except the ACLU is in favor, 100 percent in favor.”
“We have not had the conversation at the city level yet”. That’s just one of many Alameda County city leaders who hadn’t even heard about Sheriff Ahern’s desire for a drone (save for a few who “read about it in the papers”).
Turns out if you like city leaders who favor privacy and civil liberties & may even take the time to fight for them on your behalf …you might be better off in Newark, Emeryville, or Berkeley. Especially Berkeley (They have a joint subcommittee on drones made up of members of the “Peace and Justice Commission” and “Police Review Commission”). The rest have very few thoughts on the drones. Over in Livermore:
“On the City Council level it has not been researched or discussed or direction given to staff.”
The sheriff has been working towards a drone purchase since some time before this Homeland Security grant request was submitted in July of 2012 (obtained via joint MuckRock/EFF FOIA request). The request cites many search and rescue uses and he favors citing these in the public forum. One thing he also favors since coming up against resistance on the privacy/civil liberties front from organizations like the ACLU, EFF & Alameda County Against Drones, is downplay what they cite as the most troubling use…surveillance. From the Sheriff department request for a drone (they insist on calling it ‘UAS’ – Unmanned Aerial System) :
“A UAS would be valuable to assist with barricaded suspects, surveillance (investigative and tactical), perimeters, intelligence gathering, rough terrain, suspicious persons, large crowd control disturbances, etc.”
“Alameda County Against Drones“ (or ACAD), a coalition which “opposes the use of law enforcement and corporate drones” states that “drones present too much potential for abuse, since they are small, relatively inexpensive, and have powerful surveillance capabilities…We believe that such capabilities would inevitably be abused to spy on political dissidents, people of color, or other marginalized groups.”
“I don’t want to lock myself into just felonies”. During a February 14th Alameda County Public Safety Committee hearing on drones (featuring the Sheriff, the ACLU, ACAD…and apparently ZERO ALCO city leaders), the Sheriff backtracked from a statement he had just made saying he’d only use the drone for surveillance in felony cases.
“The ACLU hopes he will adopt a policy that does not contain loopholes that would permit the drone to be used for warrant-less surveillance. The ACLU also does not believe that the county should acquire a drone unless and until enforceable, meaningful safeguards are in place. Even if the policy were perfect, it could be unilaterally amended by the Sheriff in the future; that does not provide sufficient safeguards.” Linda Lye from ACLU of Northern California, who has been working with the Sheriffs department on revising their drone policy.
There were no votes on the agenda for the hearing on 2/14, which begged the question…why are we here? Turns out it was to learn that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors have only the authority to object to the Sheriff’s purchase of a drone on a budgetary level, according to Alameda County Counsel Donna Ziegler:
“Your board is not allowed to exercise that supervisory authority in a way that would interfere or obstruct the sheriffs ability to make law enforcement decisions.” But even though the board can object on a budgetary level, there are some restrictions: “If the budget authority is used in a way that is not truly a budget concern but in fact encroaches on the ability of the sheriff to make law enforcement decisions and exercise law enforcement authority, the courts will invalidate the actions of a board of supervisors.” (VIDEO of full statement here)
So if the Board of Supervisors can’t tell the Sheriff how to Sheriff… Who CAN limit/restrict the sheriffs use of a drone over the cities of Alameda County?
“The state legislature could pass a statute (two bills have already been introduced) and congress could pass legislation (reps Lofgren and Poe have introduced a bill).” Bill co-author Zoe Lofgren represents nearby San Jose, CA: “The expanded use of drones on U.S. soil raises serious Constitutional and civil liberties issues that Congress needs to address.”
Seems fitting that the public and city leaders have input on the matter, since it’s their heads the drone could be flying over, collecting “data”. Any policy may be purely symbolic (as would be the case with Berkeley’s proposed ‘no drone zone’), but public outcry can certainly help influence matters. Very recently SFPD Chief Greg Surh scuttled a plan for some officers to carry tasers due to push-back from the community.
Oakland city leaders seem to only address issues brought before them in the form of policy. From the office of Council member at-large, Rebeccah Kaplan:
“No proposal has come to the city for consideration at this point. As such, we’re not able to comment…we don’t comment on proposals before we receive them.”
Oakland Public Safety Committee member, Lynette McElhaney: “This matter has not yet come before the Public Safety Committee as of yet.”
No response from Noel Gallo, Oakland City Council member and head of said committee.
No other city in Alameda County has come anywhere near matching Berkeley’s work on drone policy which “predates the sheriffs desire for a drone” states Bob Meola of the Peace and Justice Commission, but there are some thoughts stirring:
Alan Nagy – Mayor of Newark: “My initial reaction is that the use of drones is fraught with a host of privacy and other issues that have yet to be addressed.”
Kurt Brinkman – Mayor of Emeryville: “I would support the use of drones only after a full and complete understanding of when the drones could or would be used…I am quite concerned with the purchase of any drone without a public conversation about the use of the said drone.”
Far from sold, Sheriff.
It’s pretty clear the concerned public will need to make first contact with their city leaders on the matter of the Sheriffs desire for a drone. After all, one mayor didn’t have time to read the materials I sent, but did have the time to go into detail how being mayor was only a part-time job.
Oakland City Council
Fremont City Council
Pleasanton City Council
Newark City Council
San Leandro City Council
Dublin City Council
Alameda City Council
Albany City Council
Emeryville City Council
Hayward City Council
Livermore City Council
Union City City Council
Piedmont City Council
Berkeley City Council
UPDATE - 4/21:
Last weekend, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee unanimously passed a resolution condemning the warrant-less use of drones.
I was sent to 4th Street in Berkeley, CA (just after moving to the East Bay in February) to procure the favorite sandwich of one of my favorite people, and quickly learned this was a street where I wouldn’t enjoy spending much of my free time. The combination of upscale boutique-ey (and not so boutique-ey) shops etc. largely draws a ‘type’ that I’d rather avoid.
I now work in one of those shops.
The cafes and restaurants are wonderful (delicious lunch breaks), but I quickly learned that I didn’t know the worst part of this crowd…or of my proximity to a coffee house a few doors down. The combination of these two things results in something which will keep my camera at the ready any time I head to work.
THING #1: The Entitled Rich Don’t Like To ‘Feel Uncomfortable’…Especially When They’re Spending All That $$$.
In the most recent election, Berkeley had a measure (the aweful, and defeated ‘Measure S’) on the ballot which would have prohibited sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts from 7am to 10pm. Supporters of Measure S claimed that it would make commercial districts (including 4th St.) “more welcoming” to shoppers (by clearing it of homeless folk). I am glad that the majority of Berkeley residents thought better of this, although I would argue that I’m wading through the minority of those that voted in favor of it during my breaks at work (a guy needs to eat). Not even a week into working there I passed a homeless man who was walking up and down a sidewalk, politely chatting people up. Ten minutes later I saw two Berkeley PD squad cars questioning him for a prolonged period. A woman, who I naively thought was ‘observing’ BPD conduct, came into the store, so I inquired. Turns out she was a friend of one of the officers. ME “What did he do?” HER “Oh I don’t know…he said he was some sort of tweaker.” ME “But…what did he DO?” HER “He just…doesn’t belong here.”
And there you have the sentiment of the street. Since then I’ve also seen (and filmed) an officer aggressively poke a man sleeping near some bushes…to get him to sleep further down the street…away from the almighty shopping places. Moving on…
THING #2: Berkeley PD FREQUENTS The Coffee Shop A Few Doors Down.
They’re ALWAYS there. Right out my window. Always. (I’ll forgo my history with them…let’s just say I’m far from a huge fan.) The woman from the previous story was there to meet her officer friend for lunch. He ‘helped’ in ‘dealing with’ the homeless man simply because he was already there. This happened again very recently, but we’ll get to that later. So, not only are the shoppers uncomfortable with the homeless presence (and are obviously not shy about calling the police due to this lack of comfort), but there is a BUILT IN police presence who I’m sure on some level are protecting their own comfort level as entitled consumers.
Now For The Good News.
I’m not alone in keeping an eye on this awful combination of things on 4th St.! The photo above was taken just after learning this. A few nights back (see photo above) I heard the ‘squawk’ of police sirens as I was working, so I walked outside (and, of course, readied my camera). I observed for a few minutes and it turned out to be just a routine traffic stop. Back to work. A few minutes later the same vehicle was stopped again (by one vehicle, while THREE more vehicles who were on a coffee break watched over the proceedings) and this time the man was removed from his vehicle. I noticed an onlooker on her bike nearby, but had to finish closing shop before I could go observe. 40 minutes later I was done with work and the man was still in cuffs and being led into the back of a white police van. I expected it to pull away, but it just sat there. 10 minutes later he was led back out of the van and questioned for even longer. I was live-tweeting up to this point:
“According to the man (being arrested for identity theft), #BPD took him into the back of their van to “strip search” him.”
“You should probably turn your camera on.” The onlooker (who told me she ALSO works on 4th St.) turned out to be doing some impromptu legal observing! She had her notepad out and was getting the officers information (who I recognized from a ‘Free Bradley Manning’ protest a few weeks back - The two officers closest to camera in this video), as well as info on the man being arrested. She had gotten his wife’s phone number and made sure the officer spoke with her to tell her what was happening. I filmed for 20 minutes or so, till they drove off with the man…but not before we both made it very clear to them that we both work on 4th St. and that we’ll be watching (and filming and observing). I’m certain that finding TWO police watch-dogs was the last thing they expected while working on 4th St.
She then told me she’d done some organizing with Occupy and I gave her my history of the events I’d covered and experienced in the past year…and we both expressed a dislike for Berkeley PD.
Now there’s some good company.
- Journo Solidarity: Beyond Building a Personal Empire -
Back in November 2011, I got off BART at Embarcadero, and within minutes started filming my first OccupySF march. Within 5 minutes a man I only knew of from his twitter handle (@punkboyinsf) ran up to me (smartphone in hand) and said “THANK YOU for being here!” as he hugged me…then sped off back into filming the march himself. (The photo above is myself [@bobsterrrob - middle], @punkboyinsf [right], and @mikedelic [left] just before the march to 888 Turk on April 1st 2012 - Taken by @tigerbeat - his flickr is full of wonder)
That was my first taste of the wonderful solidarity among journalists (citizen, indie etc.) in the Bay Area.
Today I was reminded of this ideal (through not so ideal circumstances), and was reminded that it should go well beyond just the idea of ‘good networking’. I was never comfortable with or good at networking, which was a big issue for me while living in Los Angeles, pursuing an acting career. Networking there was people with an agenda. I hate having an agenda. I want to just be helpful and make buds with people. Everyone there wanted to build an empire…with a few exceptions sprinkled about that you had to work very hard to find, and when you did they were likely to be just as defensive and twitchy as you after being exposed to the same rivers of selfish agendas. However, even the positive networking you could have under those circumstances falls short of the idea of solidarity I speak of.
Solidarity (and here I speak of the journalistic variety, as this is what I know) is firstly personal, and is compelled to defer to the benefit of others. It goes beyond networking because it must. The work we do in these circles is up against something violent, self serving, and relentless…not to mention very very well funded. It does not want us to do this work. It wants to operate in a vacuum, and MSM has done a great job of allowing it to do so. To do better we need each other in a way that must be personal in a way no version of simple ‘networking’ could ever be.
I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a wonderful solidarity with many journalists from all around the Bay Area and beyond (my ‘beyond’ mainly consists of @jcstearns, and some of the many who have traveled here from beyond, but I look forward to connecting with more of you!). For those in it to build an empire, I wish you well. But there is something greater that I encourage you to experience…and you are most welcome (I know of one man who’d *stream* right up and hug you for just showing up). For those who already know what I’m talking about, thank you so much for having my back. I will do everything I can to do the same.
PS. If we’re ever at the same action and you’re low on energy, I almost always have some taurine stashed away in my backpack. It’s all yours if you need it.
“Felonious Farming. Malicious…” …mulching?
A Red Bull after the fact does not bring back the great detail you should have been writing in your forgotten notebook. That was a partially remembered quote from Dan Siegel (pictured above), attorney for Occupy The Farm defendants. He was mocking the heavy handed tactic by the UC Regents of filing an injunction against activists involved with Occupy The Farm.
When I arrived at Alameda Superior Court in Hayward, CA just before the 9:30am hearing, the line to the courthouse was very long, but I only recognized the documentary film-maker who is doing a film on the activist farmers. Figured he and I were late, but once inside I learned that court, much like most Occupy protests, can have a late start.
The courtroom was a little over half full when I got there, but once many of the farmers and supporters showed it filled to almost capacity. You could see the farmers joy increase as the courtroom filled. They passed around signs that said “We Dig The Farm” which, until their eviction, could be seen around the Gill Tract and in neighborhood windows etc. The bailiff admonished those in the courtroom to not raise their signs during the proceeding.
After sitting through another case, the proceedings began with a 5-10 minute discussion on whether or not to allow the previously mentioned documentary film-maker to film inside the courtroom. Dan Siegel presented the idea to Judge David Hunter, and the lawyers for the UC Regents balked. They didn’t seem to have any argument against the filming, but simply took issue with the fact that they weren’t aware of this ahead of time to ask their clients if they minded. Judge Hunter talked through the idea at length and (after throwing a jab at the NBC news crew who got their sound bites and left before the proceedings even started) decided he would allow the filming to take place. The provision being that nothing which is filmed in the courtroom could be used until UC lawyers could confer with their clients on the matter.
[Insert another hilarious quote here that I can’t fully remember from Judge Hunter playfully talking about how nobody was prepared for cameras - “I’m not wearing my make-up…” - I promise to remember my notebook next time]
The arguments on both sides were long, and my memory is obviously short, so I’ll summarize the major points made by both sides:
The UC Regents want an injunction against the defendants from Occupy The Farm because they ‘fear’ that the possibility of a simple trespassing charge isn’t enough to deter the activists from re-occupying the Gill Tract. They argued that due to previous conduct and quotes in the press (such as “Their fences can’t stop us, and their arrests can’t stop us”) that the injunction is necessary to add more of a deterrent by way of a larger consequence - a contempt of court charge.
Dan Siegel argued that the UC Regents have not met their burden of evidence that this strong of an action is warranted. He challenged them to prove how any ‘irreparable harm’ would be done. This is where he inserted the great, half-forgotten quote: “Felonious Farming…Malicious…” …. it’s gotta be mulching. Basically, he argued that it’s not exactly HARM that would come to the Gill Tract should these farmers trespass there again, so the injunction is heavy handed and unnecessary.
At one point Judge Hunter grilled the UC Regent’s attorneys over some language in the proposed injunction. It included those ‘acting in concert with’ or ‘aiding and abetting’ the defendants. He took issue with the lack of specificity in these statements. Does this include people raising money for the farmers? Does it include people bringing food or water to the farmers? Does it include someone writing a supportive article regarding the farmers? He grilled them for a while, but made sure to point out that just because he was discussing the details of the injunction, doesn’t mean he’s necessarily signing off on it. He, and Dan Siegel, wanted to make sure that any possible injunction wouldn’t prohibit people from activities which are perfectly legal and Constitutionally protected.
After more point-counterpoint on the above issues, Judge Hunter thanked the attorneys for their arguments.
Since, thankfully, one is able to use recording devices in the HALLWAY of a courthouse, I was able to record Dan Siegel’s press statements afterwards (a few of which can be found at my YouTube channel —> For A Bit More Context ). I’ll leave you with this quote - When asked if he thought the UC Regent lawyers came prepared this morning, Dan Siegel replied:
“I don’t think they were prepared for our arguments”
For my live-tweets and photographs from this and other events:
I will update as more information presents itself.
UPDATE - 6/20/12 - “Siegel The Regent Slayer”
The UC Regents have dropped the lawsuit against the ‘Occupy The Farm’ defendants, rendering moot any possible injunction.
Also, 40 rows planted by the activist farmers on the Gill Tract are still being watered by UCB. I wonder who will be running the farm stand on San Pablo?
Obligatory Disclaimer: If you’re well versed in all things ’Occupy vs Police’ procedings, this post (in content and language) isn’t aimed at you. It’s an attempt to perhaps trip a few of you down into a particular rabbit hole with me who may not have already been.
Only five months down the Occupy rabbit hole, but it’s fair to say I know what a protest looks like (also what they sound and SMELL like). I’ve seen them born in GA’s, read occupiers tweet their anticipation, witnessed and enjoyed the excited atmosphere of the pre-march rally, live-streamed and photographed them as they snake through cities, watched as big banks get shut down and people get enlightened by the message at hand, and filmed them get brutilized and harrased with what any actual witness would call a disproportionate use of force by riot police from cities all over the Bay Area.
(A few exceptions to this include Redwood City PD and San Jose PD who seem to have found an appropriate, civil, non-violent approach to protest)
The sights and sounds and sequence of all of this has become quite familiar…even routine.
Even with this familiarity of the ‘before’ and ‘during’, I reallized I had very little familiarity with what comes AFTER.
What comes after SFPD decide to use their motorcycles as crowd control devices by ramming them into protesters?
What comes after BPD decides to take a running start at a peaceful video journalist to put a baton accross his face?
What comes after OPD in riot gear [insert any of infinite examples of a disproportionate use of force here] on peaceful protesters?
One type of organization that deals with what comes after are local citizen police review boards. After looking at a selection of these from across the US, most often these (unpaid) boards or committees are made up of a diverse cross-section of the local community, usually chosen by the mayor, city counsel, or both. They seek to act as a sort of liason between police and the community.
As the Berkeley CA Police Review Commission states it, they seek to “ensure that Berkeley police officers act in a manner that conforms to community standards”
In light of recent events with #OO and #OPD I found the delicate wording of this excerpt from the Pittsburgh, PA CPRB website quite amusing…couldn’t help but read it picturing rubber bullets and tear gas being fired at peaceful protesters:
“(The Pittsburgh PA CPRB)…finds workable solutions to problems that detract from the safety and security of both groups (residents and police officers).”
One way these groups seek to ensure proper police conduct is by dealing with citizen complaints regarding police conduct. They review complaints, investigate them (in Oaklands case, possibly along side OPD’s Internal Affairs dept), and in some cases conduct hearings and make recommendations to city administration regarding the case.
In an effort to elevate my understanding of what comes after, I recently visited two of these committees: Oakland’s ’Citizens Police Review Board’ and the ‘Berkeley Police Review Committee’.
An excerpt from the City Of Oakland website regarding it’s Citizen Police Review Board:
“The Citizens’ Police Review Board is committed to ensuring that Oakland has a professional police department whose members behave with integrity and justice. The CPRB draws Oakland’s diverse communities and strives to improve police services.”
On the same page is a section dedicated to Oakland Police response to Oakland (complaints to CPRB, future forum date, etc) read more here:
The CPRB meets at Oakland’s City Hall (find the schedule for future meetings on the previous link). The meeting I went to was on March 8th. I decided to go to this particular meeting because Spencer Mills (@OakFoSho) was planning to do a lengthy presentation on #OPD misconduct on #OO, including much video evidence.
As for the routine of the procedings themselves, as people arrive (the public is indeed invited for everything but the closed session portion where the board members discuss cases being investigated, etc) anyone wishing to speak to the board fills out a ‘speaker card’ (an example of Berkeley’s is below):
During the March 8th meeting, speakers included independent video journalist Beau Liening (@oheresy), Adam Katz (@geekeasy), and #OO medic @OaklandElle.
After these was Spencer Mills #OPD misconduct presentation. The most effective part of it, in my opinion, was showing the video of #OPD brutality and misconduct on #OO intercut with #OPD’s own crowd control/use of force policies that they were shown to be very clearly breaking.
The entirety of this Oakland CPRB meeting can be viewed here - Via @oakfosho (the #OPD misconduct presentation starts at the 23:34 mark):
After the presentation, @OaklandElle followed up with some information on misuse of ‘flexi-cuffs’ and the harmful (sometimes long-term) effects that it can have on people being detained with them. This sparked interest and a discussion between the board members on the subject, followed by a request for more information from her on the subject. One board member also requested a copy of Spencer’s presentation.
On January 28th alone #OPD arrested over 400 protesters, journalists and bystanders during a protest march…
I would put attendance at this meeting at approximately 10.
An excerpt from the City Of Berkeley website regarding its ‘Police Review Commission’:
“Berkeley voters created the Police Review Commission (PRC) in 1973 to ensure that Berkeley police officers act in a manner that conforms to community standards. The PRC is a nine-member commission composed of Berkeley residents appointed by City Council members and the Mayor. The PRC hears individual complaints and makes policy recommendations to the City Manager and the Chief of Police. The PRC continually seeks contribution and feedback from the Berkeley community in this collaborative effort. PRC meetings and policy subcommittee meetings are open to the public, and everyone is welcome. The PRC accepts complaints against Berkeley police officers in person, via mail, fax, or electronic mail. Please call (510) 981-4950 for more information.”
More info can be found here:
The Police Review Commission meets at the South Berkeley Senior Center (for future meeting dates see link above). I visited the meeting on March 14th. This particular meeting was of interest to local Occupy groups due to what transpired at the previous meeting. An excerpt from an article on Indybay.org on the matter:
“Berkeley Police Chief Meehan lied at a recent community meeting, claiming that an FTP march was headed to take over the UC Berkeley police station. This tall-tale was his excuse for not having police respond to a call for aid, resulting in the death of a Berkeley citizen.
After the community conference, the police chief was unhappy with a late-night news story regarding the meeting. A sergeant was sent to the reporter’s home, with a list of changes for the reporter to implement.
There are now calls for the resignation of police chief Meehan for playing politics with public safety and for intimidating the press.”
A video of Meehan getting called out on this from that meeting can be seen here:
The protocol for the Berkeley meeting took a similar course as in Oakland. A photo of the agenda for the night:
One of the speakers that evening was #OO’s ‘Running Wolf’. He spoke about the incident involving Meehan as did the next speaker who was the gentleman who called Meehan out from the back of the room in the video (I failed to get his name).
Also present at this meeting was Berkeley PD Captain Cynthia Harris, who was very hesitant to answer questions on the matter regarding Meehan at the last meeting. ”I don’t have that information in front of me” when asked a question by commissioner Sharon Adams. This was the ongoing theme of her answers to direct questions about many issues from the commissioners, including Adams, Marco Amaral, Kiran Shenoy, and Veena Dubal.
Following this questioning was a long back and forth between the commissioners regarding policy on many topics which quite honestly left me with my head spinning. Perhaps more visits will help me absorb the content.
For an exhaustive account of the proceedings that evening watch the livestream archive via @courtneyoccupy:
I would estimate the public attendance at this meeting at 15.
The following is new info added 3 weeks after original post.
Originally, my (unwritten) thought on the low public attendance at these meetings was that there was a lack of follow through on the part of those arrested/harassed by the police that these groups SEEK to hold accountable. Upon further reading/research, however, I’m finding it has something to do with a lack of trust in the review boards ability to actually impose any consequences on police, as well as the police departments ability to access testimony at the closed sessions of the meetings and use it in their own investigation.
More time will be put into investigating the actual ‘teeth’ these groups have in holding police accountable for misconduct, as their ‘missions’ state.