Coming on the heels of a nearly month of escalating police violence the Berkeley City Council has rejected what was once a rubber stamp agreement.
Taking into account the civil liability that these municipalities are exposing themselves to with these agreements it is a wise vchoice. Scott Olsen alone will cost the City of Oakland millions.
Citing excessive force and free speech violations by police during protests in Oakland and at UC Berkeley, the Berkeley City Council this week refused a mutual aid agreement with university police and nixed agreements with other police agencies on regional domestic surveillance.
Council members used news reports of police using excessive force at the Occupy Oakland protests and at previous protests at UC Berkeley as reason for not renewing the agreements that usually are approved each year without fanfare.
In addition, the council did not renew an agreement with the federal government on detaining illegal immigrants at the city jail.
The 8-0 vote, with Mayor Tom Bates abstaining, means the council will revisit those agreements at a later date after scrutinizing them more thoroughly.
Other mutual aid agreements with police departments around the Bay Area included in the 900-plus page document before the council were approved as part of the vote.
The two-way mutual aid agreements allow other police departments to call on Berkeley police for help during demonstrations, natural disasters and other big events and for Berkeley to do the same when it needs help.
"Some of my constituents believe the right to demonstrate is something we should respect," Councilman Jesse Arreguin said. "That's my issue with the UC police department, and I don't know how we address that."
A UC Berkeley police spokesman did not immediately
return a phone call for comment.