Berkeley’s Police Review Commission, or PRC, discussed its collection and analysis of stop data, or data relating to police stops and searches, and the passage of Lexipol policies at its regular Wednesday night meeting at the South Berkeley Senior Center.
Discussion was dominated by the topic of Berkeley Police Department stop data collection and analysis. Public comment also included multiple voices speaking out about the data and about racial profiling.
“We are talking about and are very concerned with the report on data collection,” said Winston Burton, vice president of the Berkeley branch of the NAACP, during public comment. “I think it’s important to see that we in the community see that there is a disparity that exists for people of color. … What do we do about that? What happens next?”
The discussion about whether the commission should recommend that City Council endorse SB 233 — which prohibits the arrest of a person for certain sex crimes if the person is reporting sexual assault, human trafficking or other violent crimes — was tabled.
During his report, BPD Chief Andrew Greenwood spoke on the death of William Barclay Caldeira, also known as “300,” saying he was a “unique character” who will be missed. Greenwood also brought up a recent event during his report in which an off-duty sergeant, Mel Turner, saved a young girl from drowning while at a community pool.
Greenwood continued his report by speaking on the shutdown of Glenn E. Dyer jail in Oakland, which he said has resulted in calls from several chiefs from around Alameda County asking if Berkeley can take their prisoners. Greenwood said they are working to have uniform agreements across jurisdictions on the matter.
The commission began its discussion on stop data with a contextual brief from Commissioner Terry Roberts that included references to a Center for Policing Equity, or CPE, report from May 2018.
“Black persons in Berkeley were about 6.5 times more likely per capita than White persons to be stopped while driving, and 4.5 times more likely to be stopped on foot,” the CPE report stated. “Hispanic persons were about twice as likely, per capita, as White persons to be stopped while driving.”
Greenwood said the increase in the number of stops is partially due to the increased level of reporting on these stops.
According to Commissioner Kitty Calavita, the most disappointing thing to her regarding the report was that the City Council mandated that BPD assemble a task force of people who had a stake in the issues in the community, yet the task force has yet to be assembled.
“I’m banking on getting the resources,” Greenwood said at the meeting. “A task force is a gigantic logistical task.”
During the meeting, the PRC also unanimously passed Lexipol policy 415 relating to the city immigration law, as well as policies 316, 321, 325 and 418.