Berkeley City Council Approves Moratorium on Certain Police Tactics

Berkeley police have been barred from using a number of techniques to disperse non-violent protestors pending the outcome of a review into mass protests which occurred in December.

The Berkeley City Council unanimously approved the moratorium Tuesday night. It covers the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and over-the-shoulder baton strikes by police.

“The issue is how can we take a more fine grain approach to apprehend those people that are engaging in those violent and destructive acts, while not indiscriminately hitting or shooting teargas at a largely non-violent crowd,” said Council Member Jesse Arreguin, who proposed the moratorium.

In addition to the temporary ban, the council directed city staff to come up with a plan for body and dashboard cameras to be used by police officers.

The plan is a “workable compromise,” said Sgt. Chris Stines who heads the Berkeley Police Association. Still, he insisted that the December demonstrations were far more violent than some had been led to believe.

Amid controversy over how police officers handled those protests, the city council directed the Police Review Commission to examine whether there had been a violation of crowd control policies. That investigation must conclude within six months.

Read more Tuesday’s vote here.