Campaign For Community Power To Decide OPD’s Military Equipment

Community Town Hall
Thursday, October 3, 7:00 PM program
First Congregational Church, 2601 Harrison St, Oakland

Many communities are concerned about police departments’ acquisition and deployment of military-grade equipment in events ranging from public protests to parades and service of drug warrants. In Oakland, the use of grenade-like projectiles, armored vehicles, and military-grade assault weapons by OPD officers has resulted in harm to residents, controversy, and costly lawsuits. In March 2018, Oakland police used the tank-like BearCat armored vehicle as a shooting platform and AR-15 rifles in the killing of Joshua Pawlik.

Oakland PD uses force disproportionately against black residents. And several studies conclude that police departments that acquire military-grade equipment are more likely to use violence and are no more successful in reducing crime.

Yet Oakland has no policy for the acquisition or use of militarized equipment. Oakland PD can acquire and use military equipment of all kinds – anywhere, at any time, with no policy for its use or public reporting of what is has or how it is used. Now Oakland has an opportunity to exercise community control over the militarization of policing in Oakland, by adopting an ordinance that will require approval by the City Council for the acquisition of military equipment, and use policies and reporting for military equipment that OPD has or obtains.

The proposed ordinance will require that the civilian Oakland Police Commission review proposed acquisitions and use policies for armored vehicles, assault weapons, weaponized aircraft, battering rams, sonic weapons, and flashbang grenades. This will apply to equipment that OPD acquires with grants or with purchases from the city budget. The proposal is modeled on Oakland’s surveillance equipment ordinance.

Supporting organizations (list in formation):
ACLU; American Friends Service Committee; Anti Police Terror Project; Coalition for Police Accountability; Human Impact Partners; Oakland Privacy; Oscar Grant Committee; Restore Oakland; Secure Justice; 67 Sueños; Urban Peace Movement; Urban Strategies; and is being considered by others.

Contact: John Lindsay-Poland
American Friends Service Committee