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Berkeley Protesters to Speak Out at City Council Meeting

Large crowds are expected to attend two Berkeley City Council meetings Tuesday night to speak out about recent anti-police protests and the city's response to them.

The meetings are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Longfellow Middle School Auditorium at 1500 Derby St. in Berkeley.

The 5:30 p.m. session is a special meeting and the 7 p.m. session is a regular meeting.

Public comments on non-agenda items, such as the protests and the police response to them, will be allowed at both meetings.

There have been a series of protests in Berkeley and other cities across the country, notably Oakland, over grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York not to charge police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men.

Protesters had planned to pack the Berkeley City Council meeting last Tuesday night but the council postponed the meeting, alleging that protesters were planning to disrupt the meeting.

In addition, Mayor Tom Bates said the council wanted to move the meeting to a bigger facility because the council chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way can only hold about 125 people and there were estimates that as many as 1,500 people planned to attend the meeting.

In announcing that last week's meeting was being postponed, Bates said, "In the wake of the protests, some citizens have voiced strong support and sympathy for police, while others have criticized police for using tear gas and allegedly excessive force."

Bates said, "As for allegations of excessive force, I believe we have one of the best police departments in the nation, but I recognize that under great stress abuses can occur in even the best departments. I support a full review of our response to investigate any improper use of force and also to learn lessons we can apply in the future."

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
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