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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
BPD opens door without warrant, gets flash in the eyes
Berkeley Officer Murray opening the door to living space without a warrant, and finding flash in eyes. The Berkeley police used a domestic dispute one apartment over as an excuse to enter, even though the dispute was contained in only one apartment and had nothing to do with the living space the officer was illegally opening and attempting to enter.
Flash in the eyes. It's a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation. The door was unlocked; that is not an invitation for a police officer to knock on the door until the door "somehow opened on it's own" (stupid stupid stupid explanation)... well certainly wasn't expecting flash in eyes.
A warrant? No. A investigation? No. A suspicion? No. Flash in the eyes? Yes.
Just want to see what was behind the door? Flash in the eyes. That's what is behind the door. Flash in the eyes. Open the door and you get your picture taken. That's just the way it's going to be. And at night, there's a flash... in the eyes. If you don't want your picture taken with flash in the eyes, probably just best not to open the door at night. Reasonable?
Why is this discussion even happening? Why is it necessary for these words to be typed? What is it about this situation the Berkeley police have a hard time comprehending? Just being curious about what is behind the door is not enough. That's just simply not enough, and it shouldn't have to be explained. Stay away from residential doors without warrants or calls for assistance - that should be simple enough to remember.
This is an example of what happens when there is no accountability for the police. The Berkeley city manager won't touch the police, the city council won't, mayor won't, Berkeley police review commission won't, peace and justice commission won't. They have the Occupy Berkeley raid scandal, the Cukor (murder victim) scandal, the Oakley (reporter) scandal, harassing sidewalk sitters fiasco, and now the open the door without a warrant and get flash in your eyes debacle. It just doesn't stop with the Berkeley police, because nobody wants to be in charge and take responsibility for their actions. The UC chief is being reassigned to Calistoga, a result of crossing the line, crossing the community standards. The Berkeley chief Meehan crosses those same standards, but repeatedly gets lauded by a weak city government that frankly appears to be afraid of its own police department.
If there's a loud domestic dispute, which there was, then deal with it. Opening a door to an unrelated residence just because it was unlocked and just kind of somehow (this is so dumb) opened when knocking on it (I shouldn't have to be typing this) is not ok by any standards.
How does someone resolve a police complaint in a city which won't acknowledge police complaints, a city government that is willing to let civil liberties slide? Opening a door without a warrant in a city like Berkeley should be a serious offense for an officer. What does it take when the police's attitude is the snide "give that to your lawyer" kind of dismissive attitude because they know the city will back them no matter what. The city can't maintain itself in a culture where people don't trust (for good reason) the police. The city can't maintain itself in a culture where civil liberties are nothing more than empty political talking-points. Resolving this issue will be likely met by challenges by an unwilling city government.
Is Berkeley reflective of California as a whole? Is California a failed state, a police state? New statistics place California with a 23.5% poverty rate, the highest poverty rate in the nation. Having an unchecked police in a collapsing economic environment will lead to a kind of social collapse. Trust between the police and the general public is waning, as citizens learn of intelligence gathering programs and military weapons procurement. Police are vampires, and should only enter when invited (or have a valid warrant).