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Police militarization conference not welcome in Oakland again, says mayor

Police militarization's brand is hurting, as they'd say in the advertising and elections business. After the overwhelming police response to the protests in Ferguson, MO, and in light of sustained local opposition dating back years, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan this week issued a statement saying that she won't offer the paramilitary training conference Urban Shield another opportunity to host their operations in Oakland.

CBS SF reports:

"The City Administrators Office will be asking our agent not to pursue another contract," Quan said in a statement issued Friday evening.

Protesters at Friday night’s rally [against Urban Shield], which started at 4 p.m., blocked Broadway for several hours, but police reported no arrests, citations, injuries or uses of force. The protest was organized by California Partnership, a statewide coalition of groups that advocate for policies and programs to end poverty.

Quan said that in the wake of a controversial police shooting and protests in Ferguson, Missouri last month that drew a heavy-handed police response, Oakland officials have fielded questions about police use of military-style hardware.

"It’s important to note that OPD has no military surplus hardware at all, and no fully-automatic weapons," she said.

To the activists of Ferguson, MO, and justice activists everywhere: Don't doubt that your organizing can have a huge impact, even far from your city. For the first time since 9/11, the forces that want to militarize our police forces are on their heels. Don't stop pushing.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.