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Berkeley PD Deny Police Raid of Occupy
"The cops never raided this place." - Officer Kelly of Berkeley Police Department
The San Francisco Guardian called it what it was: "In an afternoon raid, the Berkeley Police Department cleared what was left of the Occupy Berkeley protest encampment." (see: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/12/22/occupy-berkeleys-overnight-clashes-police)
Democracy Now has it too: "Two more Occupy encampments have been cleared in police raids... police have cleared the Occupy Berkeley encampment in Civic Center Park." (see: http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/23/headlines/police_clear_occupy_camps_in_albany_berkeley)
BPD's tactic is to admit nothing, deny everything. The Berkeley Police are now trying to claim that Occupy Berkeley packed up on its own accord. Their official stance is there was no police raid, no police violence. The cops, the mysterious projectile gun, the batons, tents tossed in trucks... it didn't happen that way. The official Berkeley Police stance is that Occupy Berkeley was asked to pack up and leave, and it did so. The official police stance is that there was no police force used to clear the camp.
The police took the information table, not just the tents, during their raid. Yes, it was a raid. Yes, they were there. Yes, there was a mysterious projectile gun (what did it shoot? gas canisters?). The police silenced free speech, and a freedom to disseminate political fliers.
As tents were taken away from the encampment, the police told onlookers to stay back. An arbitrary 30 foot rule enforced by vague threats of arrest.
During the Friday night General assembly, two Berkeley Police officers began filming the meeting at close range. They entered the circle, giving no boundary between themselves and the assembly. Police intimidation has stayed steady despite the destruction of the Berkeley encampment. The two officers were spoken to regarding the disruptive nature of their presence, having come into the group with fire arms and a police issue camera. When asked to stop filming, they cried it was hypocritical to make such a request. They were promptly told why there was no hypocrisy at all.
Berkeley city government is on holiday break. It is unclear who is in charge of the police use against Occupy Berkeley.
Police remove final tents from Occupy Berkeley despite owners being present. It was not yet past park curfew, and tents are allowed during park hours.
The police keep issuing verbal warnings to stand back.
The police were spoken to regarding the disruptive nature of their presence. The came with their guns, and a police issued video camera.
The police entered the circle, giving no buffer between themselves and the group. They began to film. People became uncomfortable with their presence given the raid, police violence and arrests which had taken place.