Documents show police briefed to ‘get’um running’ when encountering protesters in December

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Rachael Garner/File

Just before the December Black Lives Matter protests in Berkeley began, police planned to “Get’um (the protesters) running!” and, on the first night of demonstrations, used the bulk of their tear gas and less-than-lethal ammo, according to police documents.

So much of police supplies were depleted that the police had to request more tear gas grenades and rounds, as well as other less-than-lethal ammo, from other agencies the next day.

“Last night’s rioting consumed the vast majority of our on-hand supply,” said Berkeley Police Department Lt. David Frankel in an email Dec. 7. “We will take as much as you are willing to loan us.”

BPD plans to release an internal report on police response to the protests in the coming days, which will be presented before the city’s Police Review Commission at its Wednesday meeting. The commission is also working on a separate investigation set to be presented before Berkeley City Council on Aug. 10. The Daily Californian obtained documents provided by BPD to the commission.

Hundreds of police videos of the protests were also provided, many shot from within the march. The police department was not available for comment Friday or over the weekend.

The documents include reports detailing police injuries ranging from tiredness and sore calves to a possibly dislocated shoulder. They also describe broken windows and other property damage that occurred during the protests.

The incident action plan for the first day of protest drew comments at the May 17 Police Review Commission meeting, with commissioners expressing concern about a tactical note reading, “Get’um running! Stretch the crowd out so they are not a mass, but individuals.”

The documents indicate that the police used smoke and less-than-lethal ammo before giving a dispersal order Dec. 6.

As part of the commission’s investigation, it will also collect information from witnesses.

Daniel Tutt is the executive news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @danielgtutt.