Oakland City Council to Vote on Law Protecting Against FBI Overreach

On Tuesday, July 18, the Oakland City Council will consider approving a powerful new law aimed at restoring Oakland control of Oakland resources, the “Ordinance for Transparency for City Participation with Federal Surveillance Activities.” If passed, it would require Oakland police officers to follow state and local law and policy when working on federal task forces such as the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”), instead of looser and highly problematic federal guidelines.

The law, sponsored by Councilmember McElhaney, comes to the full Council after the Oakland Public Safety Committee voted unanimously for it on July 11. At an Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission hearing in March, Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick conveyed her strong support for the law through a representative.

Oakland Privacy, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC), San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA), the Urban Strategies/LIVE FREE Campaign with the PICO National Network, Northern California Chapter of the ACLU, and Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) are some of the organizations supporting this ordinance.

WHAT: Oakland City Council Hearing on “Ordinance for Transparency for City Participation with Federal Surveillance Activities”
WHEN: Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 5:30 PM, Consent Calendar, Item #S7.41
WHERE: Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, California, 94612, City Council Chamber (3rd Floor)

“Communities live in fear of being targeted based on their religion or ethnicity through aggressive federal law enforcement practices,” said Sameena Usman, Government Relations Coordinator for CAIR-SFBA. “This Ordinance will ensure that Oakland police will follow state and local law rather than federal policies that are far less protective of civil and immigrant rights.”

“This critically needed and timely law will protect marginalized Oaklanders; give the City more control of its officers and resources; and will increase public safety by strengthening police-community relations,” said Christina Sinha, National Security and Civil Rights Program Manager and Staff Attorney at AAAJ-Asian Law Caucus. “It is a win for Oakland in every way.”

“We greatly appreciate the sponsorship of Councilmember McElhaney, and the unanimous support of the Public Safety Committee, for this ordinance. When the difference in values between Oakland and the Trump Administration is so vast, it is essential that Oakland move to protect its most vulnerable. This ordinance will help achieve that goal, and the full Council should adopt it immediately, “said Brian Hofer, Chair of the Privacy Advisory Commission.