Hundreds march, arrests made in protests at Urban Shield in Pleasanton

Law enforcement says emergency training, trade show is vital; protesters call it police militarization, war games

A total of 23 protesters were arrested Friday outside the "Urban Shield" event, the nation's largest first-responder exercise, at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, a spokesman for the protesters said.

The 23 were cited and released from the Santa Rita Jail at about 1:10 p.m. after being arrested outside the fairgrounds at 4501 Pleasanton Ave. in Pleasanton, spokesman Mohamed Shehk with Critical Resistance said.

The arrests were made for trespassing and obstructing a road. None of the protesters were injured.

Some of those arrested had locked their arms inside pipes outside some of the gates to the fairgrounds, Shehk said.

The protesters started gathering outside the event at about 7:30 a.m. and by about 8:20 a.m. about 400 were at the fairgrounds.

Portions of Bernal, Valley and Pleasanton avenues were closed because of the protests, but the roads were all reported as open just before 1 p.m. Friday, according to Pleasanton police.

One of the claims of protesters was that police are becoming more militarized, adopting military weaponry such as riot gear and armored vehicles.

But sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said first responders have been adopting military equipment for the last 100 years such as bulletproof vests.

"It's all military technology," Nelson said.

But Shehk said the equipment is used to repress people, especially people of color and poor people. They are tools of surveillance and control, he said.

The protesters are standing for people who want self-determination. Protesters planned to have speakers, performances and a march. The group was expecting as many as 1,000 demonstrators, Shehk said.

Shehk claimed that police raids have increased to 80,000 per year from 3,000 a year in the 1980s and the raids occur for less serious offenses than they did in the 1980s.

"We see police are inherently violent and inherently oppressive," he said.

Nelson said Urban Shield aims to help first responders prepare to natural and manmade disasters.

He said some people say police don't do enough and others protest police work.

Last year, about 150 people protested the Urban Shield conference by gathering in front of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office near Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Last year was the first year the conference moved to the fairgrounds in Pleasanton from Oakland after city officials decided not to pursue a contract with Urban Shield for 2015. Previous conferences were held in Oakland.

Urban Shield is in its 10th year, Nelson said. Friday, vendors will show off equipment. Also, first responders will receive a safety briefing and medical assessment in preparation for a 48-hour exercise this weekend.

Nelson said every 60 days there is a mass killing in the U.S. and Urban Shield is meant to train first responders for those killings. He said first responders from Boston were grateful for the training they received, which prepared them to respond to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

— Bay City News Service

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12 people like this
Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2016 at 6:10 pm

I always wonder what protesters like this will do when confronted with a life- or property-damaging situation that requires a first responder. I honestly don't believe that they've thought this through.

9 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 9, 2016 at 9:41 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

I agree with you Joe. This training has nothing to do with the suppression of civil rights or the militarization of police. First people complain that the police are not well trained (like Colin Kapernick), and then they complain when they do train. I question whether this group is supported through George Soros contributions.

5 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 9, 2016 at 9:54 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Protesters need to get jobs. Who has time to complain

4 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2016 at 6:56 am

Re Registered Joe: Police, including SWAT teams, are tasked to respond to many situations that do not require police, and in which other agencies are better suited to respond. Have a family member with a mental health crisis and call 911, and police will respond, but too often their training - including SWAT tactics - escalates the situation, which is why so many of these situations end in the death of the person in crisis. Same with many situations in which police who do not live in the communities where they work, and respond as if all community members were criminals. Once branded as criminals, it is much easier for police to inflict pain ('should have thought of that before you committed a crime') or worse, since these are tools our communities give them. We can do better.

5 people like this
Posted by Helen
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Sep 10, 2016 at 8:27 am

You may want to read:
The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe
by Heather Mac Donald

4 people like this
Posted by Fortress Pton
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 10, 2016 at 8:40 am

Most property-related incidents around here involve teenagers and toilet paper, and you're more likely to be hit by a sharknado than have your life imperiled. And if you are imperiled, what's the evidence that a militarized police force makes you somehow safer during the incident? There is none.

Folks who live in such fear really need to change the channel. You're being played.

16 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 10, 2016 at 9:19 am

Fortress pton,

Look at the annual report. There was about 1800 part 1 crimes last year in Pleasanton. Part 1 are serious crimes with victims that do not include "toilet paper". The fact that you believe that shows you are ignorant to the world around you. Urban shield is a global event, it involves SWAT teams from all over the world, it's not just for Pleasantons SWAT team. Maybe you haven't seen the news lately, but there are mass shootings going on routinely and it is trained officers that will be running towards the danger while you are running away so I don't know why you would have a problem with them being trained so they can respond more safely and mitigate the damage caused by those responsible.

14 people like this
Posted by Adam
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 10, 2016 at 9:29 am

Fortress pton,

The reason people protest these things is because they are ignorant to the reality of the world and get manipulated by people to join their anti-police cause. Only the ignorant can be manipulated because they don't have the wherewithal to peel back the layers of the onion to find out what is really going on. If you believe there is really nothing bad that can happen in Pleasanton, may I remind you about the several incidents of women being robbed at rifle point at the mall this year? Or how about the fact that Pleasanton has had a terrorist bombing in the last several years? Did you forget about that bomb that went off at the Shaklee building? If you don't see the need for SWAT teams and armored vehicles just remember you aren't in that world where you see what is really going on, you are nice and safe in your own little house while you put down the men and women you rely on to keep you safe and ignorant

12 people like this
Posted by ?
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Sep 10, 2016 at 9:43 am

There were 372 mass shootings in the U.S. In 2015 Web Link need for a trained SWAT team? Ya, because it "can't happen here" Thank you Fortress Pton for you expert opinion based on 0 years of law enforcement and combat experience. I try not to speak from a position of ignorance about subjects I have no knowledge about but it's refreshing that there are people out there who do not share my inhibition.

4 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Not to mention we live about 10 min from the labs,, a pretty sensitive target I would say.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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