Berkeley, CA – Antifa supporters have complained about the Berkeley Police Department posting mugshots on Twitter of the 20 people who were arrested on Sunday when protesters attacked police and city vehicles during a march by conservative groups.
In a press release posted on Sunday evening, the police department said the list of people arrested at the protest was only “partial” and said police were still working to confirm the identities of some of those who had been arrested.
Berkeley police said “extremists” had thrown explosives at Berkeley police and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies. Three members of the public were treated by the Berkeley Fire Department, according to the press release.
“There was significant damage to City property: An extremist element amongst a large group marched westbound by the Berkeley Way parking lot, smashing 21 city vehicles and slashing City vehicle tires, and setting one City vehicle on fire. Three minor dumpster fires were extinguished,” the police department posted.
Critics of the police department posting the mugshots claimed it was an effort to publicly shame those individuals.
“It seems like a public-shaming exercise, which is not the role of the police department ... They are making it really accessible for folks who might wish these people harm to locate them,” complained Dubal, who is a former Berkeley police review commissioner.
Civil rights organizations said they thought antifa activists had been targeted because none of those arrested appeared to be affiliated with the "patriot" groups who they were protesting.
Their assessment failed to acknowledge that the members of those organizations had not been throwing explosive devices at law enforcement or smashing in the windows of businesses.
The city of Berkeley announced ahead of the planned marches that no “weapons” or “anything … that can be used for a ‘riot’” would be permitted in the area. To the protesters’ horror, the city also banned the wearing of masks, The Guardian reported.
“It really seemed to us like the Berkeley police department was there to … target the anti-fascist protesters,” Jay Kim, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s local chapter, told The Guardian.
Kim claimed officers had been arresting protesters “at random” and for arbitrary reasons.
Interestingly, the same groups who have actively participated in doxing thousands of Homeland Security employees and many others strongly objected to having their faces shown to the public.
“It really indicates a complete lack of concern around people’s safety,” local activist Zoé Samudzi complained to The Guardian. “That’s a practice that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around … They have been really accommodating of fascists.”
Berkeley police have defended their actions and refused to take down the tweets.
“People are coming from out of town and bringing weapons and are committed to violence … We don’t want people to be able to do that with anonymity,” Berkeley Police Spokesman Byron White said.
“We need to look into this and discuss whether this is an appropriate practice going forward,” Arreguín said.