The Berkley Police Department in California posted the identities of AntiFa protesters who were arrested during a counter-protest on their Twitter feed on Sunday evening, leading to accusations that the police department was siding with the right-wing protesters. It has been reported that AntiFa was labeled a “domestic terror group” by the Department of Homeland Security in September of 2017.
Following up to 20 arrests at the “No to Marxism in Berkley” rally, most of which were AntiFa counter-protesters, the police department publicized the arrestees’ names, mugshots, and the cities in which they reside on their social media accounts.
“It really seemed to us that the Berkley Police Department was there to target the anti-fascist (AntiFa) protesters,” said Jay Kim, the Executive Director of the Berkley Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, as reported by the Blaze.
A right-wing group organized a rally in Berkley named, “No to Marxism in America.” The rally drew a planned counter-protest from a known domestic terror threat, AntiFa. As a precaution to the expected level of violence that AntiFa brings to counter-protests, the police enforced new city rules which banned weapons and/or anything else that can be utilized for a riot. The police also banned protesters from wearing masks, a hallmark of AntiFa protesters.
As a result of the new rules, numerous arrests were made citing, “possession of a banned weapon” or “working with others to commit a crime.” AntiFa protesters made up the bulk of the arrests.
Many were claiming the imbalance of the arrests were the result of animosity towards AtniFa protesters, though others are suggesting the imbalance was a result of AntiFa’s distinctive feature of black-clad masks and their intrinsic disruptive and violent nature.
“It’s clear that the cops have chosen sides and that they think of the left as their enemies,” claimed Sam Menefee-Libey, a Washington D.C. Democratic Socialist activist, as reported by the Guardian. “The cops are doing something the Nazis do all the time, which is dox people.”
The term, “doxing,” refers to publishing private information, most notably their physical address, in an effort to intimidate someone or to incite harassment by their opponents. The Berkley Police Department did NOT dox anyone.
The Berkley Police Department published public information about arrestees who could pose a danger to the public in the near future. The Berkley Police Department didn’t publish any more information than you see every day in your local Police Log or Police Blotter. The only difference is that they released this public information on members of a group that supports the political left. As a result, they attempted to redefine the term, “doxing” and to compare the police to “Nazis.”
The California Public Records Act of 2004 states the following:
Specifically, section 6254(f) requires that basic information must be disclosed by law enforcement agencies in connection with calls for assistance or arrests, unless to do so would endanger the safety of an individual or interfere with an investigation. With respect to public disclosures concerning calls for assistance and the identification of arrestees, the law restricts disclosure of address information to specified persons.
There seems to be no legitimate threat to the safety of any of the individuals identified by the Berkley Police Department nor has AntiFa presented any evidence to suggest an imminent threat could arise should their names and crimes be made public. As a result, the police were forced to disclose the arrestees’ basic information, as mandated by the California Public Records Act of 2004.
The Berkley Police Department stands by their decision to identify those who were arrested.
“People are coming from out of town and bringing weapons and are committed to violence,” said Berkley Police Spokesman, Byron White, as reported by the Blaze. “We don’t want people to be able to do that with anonymity.”
In essence, the individuals that were arrested pose a threat to surrounding communities and identifying them to the public trumps their desire to remain anonymous. The basic fact that these protesters were representing a group that has been deemed a “domestic terror threat” by the Department of Homeland Security demands their names be disclosed upon their arrest.
From NBC Bay Area: As of 3 p.m., police had arrested the following people on suspicion of possessing a banned weapon: Javier Cruz-O’Connell, 27, of Berkeley; Jamie Louise Hill, 30, of Emeryville; Ericka Sokolower-Shain, 28, of Berkeley; Andres Gonzalez, 35, of Oakland; JasonWallach, 49, of Oakland; Kate Brenner, 69, of Oakland; Kristin Edith Koster, 50, of Berkeley; Sarena Lynette Perez, 39, of Oakland; David Siegfried Chou, 26, of Santa Cruz; Bella Podolsky, 27, of San Francisco, and Maria Lewis, 29, of Emeryville. Lewis and Chou are also suspected of working with others to commit a crime.
Additionally, Blake Griffith, 29, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of vandalism; Freddy Martinez, 31, of Berkeley, was arrested on suspicion of battery; and Thomas Parker, 22, of Berkeley and Caitlin Boyle, 27, of Oakland were arrested on suspicion of working with others to commit a crime.
Why shouldn’t those who live in Berkley or surrounding communities have the opportunity to learn whether or not people within their community are involved with a domestic terror group? It certainly sounds like pertinent information that demands public disclosure.
At a time when violent extremist groups like AnitFa are ramping up their attacks on the First Amendment, it is very important to identify those who wish to fistfight rather than engage in civil discourse. Reasonable and civil discourse will be the only way we mend our divisions in this country and those who wish to quell those efforts must be identified to the public.
See more of Antifa’s domestic terrorism here…
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