Oakland Protesters Say Police Training is Too Militaristic

About 200 people chanted, picketed, and banged drums outside the Alameda County Building in Oakland on Friday, protesting this weekend’s Urban Shield event — a three-day intensive training to prepare law enforcement for the next natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Started in 2007 by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, Urban Shield has drawn criticism from activists who say it brings a military mentality to local police departments.

“We have police and first responders in our communities, and we don’t want to be treated like enemy combatants,” said Nathaniel Moore, a spokesman for the Arab Resource and Organizing Center — one of several groups that put together Friday’s event.

He and Mohamed Shehk of the anti-prison group Critical Resistance noted that the tough boot camp drills and artillery on display at Urban Shield wouldn’t have helped with the relief effort for Hurricane Harvey — and it’s not going to help the Bay Area in a major earthquake.

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