From October 25th -28th, 2013 in Oakland, California, Urban Shield – a trade show and training exercise for SWAT teams and police- will bring together more than 150 local, state, federal, int’l and private sector partners and defense contractors. Urban Shield has taken place over the past six years, and is hosted by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Last week at the city of Oakland’s public safety meeting, community groups challenged the notion of funding for Urban Shield – being hidden in the language and process, by requesting a mere $200,000, to be used for “safety drills” for the Fire Department. Meanwhile, Alameda county record’s indicate that the sheriff’s office is being paid up to $7.5 million in federal funding for Urban Shield – and activities couched as anti-terrorist “safety drills” when the record demonstrates that these methods are also used on civilians in ‘scenarios’ that include public protest, stop and frisk, deportation, and the criminalization of poverty and mass incarceration.
This is our opportunity to make our voices heard again at City Hall, and say:
1) We do not want a gun show that sells militarized weapons to the police in the heart of downtown Oakland.
2) We want to know why City Council is permitting known human rights violators, to operate in the heart of the city?
3) We demand a clear budget of all public funds that are being spent on Urban Shield.
Facing Urban Shield Action Network (FUSAN) is composed of 30 diverse Bay Area groups who believe that hosting Urban Shield in Oakland is the wrong direction for public policy. FUSAN firmly rejects the use of city space and funding for Urban Shield, to practice “war games”. This partnership between police with human rights violations from Bahrain, Israel, Guam, and Brazil, deepens the possibility of continued misconduct and human rights violations already on record. Urban Shield ‘exercises’ further militarizes police responses to all kinds of emergencies, like people in crisis with mental health issues with devastating results. Urban Shield is militarizing police with more weapons, which results means increased harm to African-American, Latino and Arab and Muslim communities.