UCPD shouldn’t get away with its violent arrest of David Cole

CAMPUS ISSUES: Several UCPD officers are facing allegations of excessive force after they arrested a campus employee last week at a rally

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Kelly Baird/Staff

UCPD’s response to a UC workers’ rally organized Feb. 1 makes it clear that the campus needs to implement more oversight for its police officers.

During the rally, UCPD officers tackled and arrested UC Berkeley employee David Cole. Campus spokesperson Roqua Montez previously told The Daily Californian that Cole ran toward and threw a sign at a vehicle that was attempting to go through the crowd of protesters, before allegedly approaching the driver in a “threatening and aggressive manner.”

A video of the incident shows several UCPD officers throwing Cole to the ground, sitting on him and putting him in handcuffs. Montez said officers responded because Cole allegedly became uncooperative during the arrest.

Community members gathered to protest the unfair treatment of UC workers, and then one of those workers was body-slammed and arrested. How appropriate.

Obviously, the role of police is to keep people safe during protests, but they can’t do that by violently arresting people. UCPD officers should be trained to handle demonstrations without having to turn to violence. This is UC Berkeley, after all, where there are protests nearly every week. If officers don’t know how to respond to these situations peacefully, then there needs to be better training in place to teach them.

In a campuswide email Tuesday, campus officials announced that they’re planning to hire an independent and external organization to review UCPD’s actions during the protest. Although an ad-hoc external review is good, it’s not structural change.

The campus needs more institutional oversight, and ASUC Senator Juniperangelica Cordova-Goff’s recently passed resolutions are an encouraging first step: The first resolution directs administrators to resurrect the UC Berkeley Police Review Board and the second establishes a student review commission as a sub-body of the board. But without buy-in from UCPD, there’s no guarantee these commissions will have any teeth.

No one should fear being aggressively mistreated by a UCPD officer. UC Berkeley needs to tackle systemic police misconduct head-on instead of tackling campus employees who are just doing their best to stand up for their rights.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.

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  • Nunya Beeswax

    Does his violent and illegal behavior not warrant a commensurate response?

    There’s no real argument to be had here. “But he’s BLACK” is not an argument.

  • Killer Marmot

    “Violently” arresting people is necessary if they warrant arrest but are physically resisting. There’s no other way to do it.

    Was Cole seriously injured during the arrest? If not then well done, Berkeley police. We should be more appreciative of the police and the harm they risk incurring in just doing their job.

  • ESPM360

    Sensationalized headline is not supported by your written story. Did the editorial board share similar headlines after police stood down during last springs riots?

  • California Defender

    “UCPD shouldn’t get away with its violent arrest of David Cole”

    You know what? I agree! All UCPD and BPD officers should resign en masse. We need good cops in other towns and I’m sure Berkeley will be just fine without any LE.

    It’s a leftist utopia of rainbows and unicorns, after all.

  • jeyhovah

    When he’s on your side: We must protect our own and have the police do their duty in a respectful and cooperative manner
    When it comes to the lectures last year: We condone the violence against those wanting to attend their lecture and don’t believe we should spend any money on their protection. Also, their speech hurts our feelings.

  • Art Coses

    It’s good that you’ve provided a link to the video. It’s abundantly clear from watching it that Cole was not cooperating with the police, as he should have. Cole disobeying a legal command is the proximate cause of him being brought down to the ground by the police. Why did Cole think he was entitled to commit an act of vandalism, and then disobey a legal command–without immediate consequences?

    “UC Berkeley needs to tackle systemic police misconduct head-on…”

    This is a non-sequitur. How is it that a single incident casts the entire system in a negative light? Additionally, the only misconduct that I saw in the video was Cole’s. But for Cole’s blatant resistance, he would not have been taken down to the ground. Cole bears sole responsibility for what happened to him.