Police Reform Now

What happened at last night’s (July 19, 2016) Berkeley City Council Meeting was a disgrace. We are at a critical time and we need police accountability not deferment of a critical issue for the fourth time. Over militarization at the expense of our communities of color is unacceptable. That is one the reasons why I have declined the Berkeley Police Association's request for an endorsement meeting. We need reform now.

Here is my letter to BPA explaining why I am declining their invitation:

July 19, 2016
Berkeley Police Association
Attention: Sean B. Barry
1700 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

RE: Invitation for an Endorsement Interview

Dear Mr. Barry,
This letter is an acknowledgement of the Berkeley Police Association’s interest in scheduling a meeting to discuss my candidacy on July 21, 2016, at 6:20 PM at the BPA office at 1834 University Avenue in Berkeley. We are declining this offer.

We are not seeking endorsement from any organization whose goal is to continue the current national and citywide trends of police violence and lack of accountability to the public.
Nanci For Berkeley is dedicated to ending state-sanctioned murder and violence against Black, Brown and Poor people.

Nanci For Berkeley is especially concerned about the murder and serious bodily injury inflicted on Berkeley residents by the Berkeley police, the violence enacted against protesters in the city of Berkeley, the lack of accountability in Berkeley policing, the lack of public transparency in the Berkeley Police Department in general, and the continued march towards a fully militarized police force in Berkeley.

From your organization, I have received the “2016 Questionnaire for Candidates for Berkeley Mayor and City Council.” The questionnaire asks many questions about my willingness to support and/or fund many items it deems important to the function of its duties. These include:

  • An increase in Berkeley law enforcement officers
  • A K-9 unit for Berkeley
  • Armored vehicle acquisition in Berkeley
  • Tasers for Berkeley law enforcement
  • Easier access to police helicopters for Berkeley law enforcement

Nanci for Berkeley believes that while the BPA continues to focus on military and compliance based equipment and resources, your organization is overlooking valuable avenues to a true commitment to public service and safety for the people of Berkeley. We know that what makes communities safer is adequate housing, meaningful employment with a livable wage, childcare, high-quality and culturally relevant education, and robust and comprehensive mental health and community programs.

We look to the example of the whistleblowers in Oakland, who are shining a light on the pervasive criminality and abuse of power in the department. We look to the example of the former Chief of Police in Richmond, who stated publicly that ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ and refused to participate in the militarization of the police as a force against the people.

We call upon the Berkeley Police Department and the Berkeley Police Association to heed and follow these examples. We will not help you in your quest to better arm yourselves in the war you are waging against the people, and against justice.

Nanci Armstrong-Temple
Candidate, District 2 City Council