Video: Urban Shield opponents speak at Berkeley City Council meeting

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BERKELEY (KRON, BCN) — The Berkeley City Council is getting an earful Tuesday night on a variety of subjects on the agenda, including on Urban Shield.

The meeting had to be moved in order to accommodate the larger than normal crowd. A coalition of groups who are opposed to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office’s annual “Urban Shield” law enforcement disaster training event will ask the Berkeley City Council Tuesday night not to let its officers participate in the event anymore.

Members of Critical Resistance and other groups that are part of the Stop Urban Shield coalition held a news conference at 6:30 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School at 1500 Derby St. in Berkeley.

The City Council, which will discuss its officers’ involvement in Urban Shield, was scheduled to begin its meeting at the school at 7 p.m.

The Stop Urban Shield coalition consists of local and national community-based organizations dedicated to ending the militarization of policing.The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office hosted Urban Shield for the ninth year in September.

Sgt. Ray Kelly said its purpose is to train law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics on how to respond to natural disasters, as well as man-made disasters such as explosions and mass shootings.

More than 100 agencies and 5,000 people, including some from foreign countries as far away as South Korea, participated in the event earlier this year.

Urban Shield was launched several years after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, which Kelly said showed that law enforcement agencies weren’t well prepared for such attacks.

But Stop Urban Shield coalition leaders allege that law enforcement agencies have used the 2001 terrorist attack as a justification to become more militarized and spy on people.

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