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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
Right Wing movement in Berkeley Police
Christian Stines, the President of the Berkeley's Police Association, is leading a Right Wing faction in the Berkeley police department that openly declares they no longer support Berkeley's city government. This faction calling themselves 'Where's My Berkeley Cop' is using public safety as leverage to gain power in local politics, and to increase their budget and operational capabilities. 'Where's My Berkeley Cop' uses the kind of propaganda messages associated with Trumpism and the Alt-Right.
There is a faction of police aligned with Sargent Stines that no longer supports the mayor and city council. They are trying to swell a public sentiment against the city government, and the Police Review Commission, which they deem to be antithetical to their goals.
BPD's current budget represents 54% of Berkeley's financial resources. Stines' faction is demanding that the city spend more money on the police. Their threat is: if Berkeley doesn't meet their demand, there will be a mass slowdown or walkout from the force, leaving a hole in public safety.
Stines' faction is demanding an expansion of the police's tactical capabilities. Sargent Emily Murphy told KTVU their list of demands include: a helicopter, a marine unit, and police dogs. Murphy said that if Berkeley city government values public safety, then council will meet the demands.
In an interview with Blue Lives Radio, Stines said that the Berkeley city government is trying to "criminalize police work". Blue Lives Radio appeals to the Alt-Right. Blue Lives Radio is part of the BlueLivesMatter movement that was created in opposition to BlackLivesMatter. BlueLivesMatter flags are often waved at White Nationalist rallies.
In the interview Stines blatantly mischaracterized the surveillance ordinance that was drafted by the police review commission. Stines claimed the ordinance will require police to seek special approval before using simple tools like binoculars. Stines' statement was a lie. The ordinance does not cover common optical police equipment. Stines said he was looking at ways to "head-off, politically" the surveillance ordinance. The surveillance ordinance was scheduled to be voted on the December 5th council meeting. After the radio interview aired, the ordinance was delayed for this approaching January 23rd meeting.
Stiles' statements to the radio host contained other lies which are designed to appeal to the Alt-Right. Stines accused Berkeley city government of keeping the police "less well armed" than Antifa. Stiles claimed the police don't have riot gear and riot weapons. The police do have this gear, and did carry it during the 2017 protests.
In his radio interview, Stines made no mention of violence by Alt-Right groups that rallied in Berkeley. Stines made no mention of the rise in hate crimes in the United States. Stines focused on Antifa. Stines gave his "guarantee" that the time is coming when the police will go after Antifa. He projected that afterwards, Berkeley council will side with Antifa and discipline the police. Stines said that the police are the only ones protecting the city from "chaos", and asserted that Antifa are the "real criminals", labeling Antifa as a criminal gang.
The website for 'Where's My Berkeley Cop' states: "the police are not the problem... public safety [isn't] a priority for the City Council." The website contains a lie that BPD is prevented from having industry standard body-cameras. Council already has approved cameras, and they are being distributed to the police in phases. There is a long list of demands: more money, more perks, more equipment. The website contains the emphatic message: "If [Berkeley city council] cannot support our Berkeley police officers, we cannot support them!"