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Berkeley mask ban violates city ordinance
by Section
Friday Aug 3rd, 2018 11:39 PM
The Berkeley police and city manager released a set of rules prior to the anti-fascist protest on Sunday. There is a clause banning masks in Ohlone Park and Civic Center Park. This clause violates the urgency ordinance passed by city council.
There was a special city council meeting back on July 31, for an urgency ordinance allowing the city manager and police to set rules for the upcoming protest. During the meeting, it was stated that the city manager and city attorney were not going to ban face masks or coverings. Council member Kate Harrison emphasized that such a ban would violate civil rights, and asked for special language in the ordinance that made it clear that facial coverings would not be prohibited.

Mayor Jesse Arreguin re-clarified that the city manager and the chief of police had no intention to enforce a ban facial coverings. The mayor and council agreed to a clause saying the ordinance's authorization would not extend to prohibitions on facial coverings or other clothing. This language was put under section 13.45.020. There was no objection by any council member, any staff member, or by anyone representing the police to the addition of such a statement.

Even though section 13.45.020 was put into public record, today (August 3) the city police department issued a warning that non-religious and non-medical facial coverings would be banned in Ohlone Park and Civic Center Park this Sunday. This ban violates the ordinance passed by city council.

Looking at the text of the police's document, the mask ban only applies to Ohlone Park and Civic Center Park, and doesn't appear to apply to the streets or sidewalks. However, as the police have already shown intent to break the council's ordinance, they might possibly arrest people for wearing masks outside park boundaries.

City government assured people they would not be targeted for wearing masks. The issue of facial coverings of any sort was specifically addressed during the meeting, and special language was added to the ordinance to ease concerns. As agents of city government, the city manager and police should not be threatening to arrest people who plan to protect their identities against doxing, harassment, and death-threats.

Protesters who plan to wear masks should keep a printed copy of the urgency ordinance on them at all times. Section 13.45.020 should be underlined, highlighted, or printed in bold. Protesters should also consider bringing signs that read "SECTION 13.45.020", or have the full text of the section written out on poster board. The text of the ordinance should be explained to all ACLU or NLG legal observers.
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
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Clarification on legality of facial covering banGeorge LippmanSunday Aug 5th, 2018 12:52 AM
City Manager declares prohibition against bandanas/masks for August 5ftpSaturday Aug 4th, 2018 3:28 PM
DocumentsTracy RosenbergSaturday Aug 4th, 2018 10:07 AM

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