San Francisco – At the Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday, city leaders condemned the militarization of Urban Shield, and passed a resolution that urged Alameda County to suspend the highly controversial policing training and weapons expo. Additionally, Supervisor Norman Yee stated his intention to introduce a follow up ordinance that would bar any San Francisco personnel or agencies from participating in Urban Shield, a move applauded by members of the Stop Urban Shield Coalition.
During the meeting, Yee stated that he was going “to look into legislation to prevent future participation of San Francisco personnel in Urban Shield.”
Before his closing remarks, Yee held up a picture of an item sold at the Urban Shield weapons expo, a t-shirt that features an M-16 assualt rifle and reads “Black Rifles Matter.” According to SF Weekly, the blatantly racist and violent item has been a “top seller” at the expo. Although protest and anger from Bay Area residents compelled Alameda County Supervisors to mandate that “Urban Shield will be free from racist-stereo-typing,” organizers with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition maintain that the training and weapons expo are fundamentally rooted in the drive to further increase militarization.
Supervisor Sandra Fewer reiterated the Stop Urban Shield’s concerns that as a federally funded “War on Terror” program, Urban Shield ultimately targets people of color, immigrants, Arabs and Muslims, and other marginalized communities deemed to be “threats.” “When we start talking about a ‘war on drugs,’ when we use the language, or the federal government uses the language ‘war on immigrants,’ ‘war on terrorism,’ any time we use that phrase a ‘war on something,’ then we as citizens of the United States and as residents of the Bay Area are vulnerable…we should actually work against the militarism of the San Francisco police department and all police departments,” stated Fewer. “I think this is a very scary time, but what we do not need is to actually declare a war on the people of San Francisco.
The Stop Urban Shield Coalition will continue working in San Francisco to ensure that the city withdraws its support and participation in Urban Shield, and will build on this resolution to further push Alameda County Supervisors to rein in their Sheriff and put a halt to his dangerous program.