BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Berkeley City Council is moving forward with an "omnibus motion" that aims to eventually cut funding to the police department by 50% and strip officers of traffic enforcement duties.
Just before 3 a.m., eight councilmembers voted in favor of the mayor's omnibus items which combines aspects of every police reform proposal on last night's agenda. This is the first step in creating a city department of transportation which would allow for unarmed traffic enforcement to deal with violations. This is believed to be the first city in the nation to make this move. The decisions will be looked at again in November as the budget process begins.
Councilmember Cheryl Davila abstained from the vote saying, "It's not what the people want."
Most of those who spoke at Tuesday's council meeting were in favor of change. "Traffic enforcement does not need to be an armed police concept," said one person. Another said, "I support the proposal to cut 50 percent of the police budget lets shift focus now so we can truly build programs with safety for the long run." Another person said, "We as brown folk have been crying for help you guys are not understanding that the police do not protect us they protect your white trash your property as a brown man they do nothing for me."
There has been tension in Berkeley over the past several days. The police department was vandalized in the last 24 to 48 hours. Protesters from a rally in Oakland marched to the Berkeley Department Monday. Pictures were posted online by an employee showing what the department looked like. At this point, it is unclear who is to blame. Because of the profanity, we can't read much of what was written. Some of what can be read says "defund police" and "pigs belong in pens."