Privacy SOS

Paramilitary police at Urban Shield gather and shop for surveillance equipment, weapons, and disturbing t-shirts

Earlier this week I wrote about some of the disturbing items police who attend the paramilitary training event Urban Shield may encounter in an Oakland hotel convention space. Now that the event has begun, and thanks to journalist Shane Bauer, who's inside covering it, we can see some of that in living color:

The police at Urban Shield are gathering to share information, shop for new military-style equipment, and train in paramilitary tactics. This bonanza of police militarization comes at a bad time for Cytel Group, the private corporation that puts on the annual event, and the Department of Homeland Security, a major sponsor. In the weeks since the shadowy armies of the St. Louis region emerged to put down protests in Ferguson after the police shooting of Mike Brown, people all over the country are waking up to the reality of police militarization—and many people don't like what they see. Even President Obama has said it might be time to roll back some of the federal programs that have catalyzed this ominous transformation.

You wouldn't know that from these photos. It appears as if the Bay Area's police are plowing full speed ahead, the nation's outrage and condemnations notwithstanding.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.