Berkeley police criticized for posting identities of Antifa protesters: 'This is very disturbing

The Berkeley Police Department has been criticized for posting the identities of Antifa protesters who were arrested. (Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images)

The Berkeley Police Department in California posted the identities of arrested Antifa protesters on its Twitter feed after a Sunday "alt-right" rally, leading to accusations that the department is siding with far-right activists and targeting the left, according to The Guardian.

After about 20 people were arrested at a "No to Marxism in Berkeley" rally, most of them Antifa counterprotesters, the department publicized their names, photographs and cities of residence on social media.

"It really seemed to us like the Berkeley police department was there to ... target the anti-fascist protesters," said Jay Kim, executive director of the Berkeley chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

What happened?

At the Sunday rally, Berkeley police enforced new city rules that prohibited weapons or anything that can be used for a riot, as well as masks.

The result was a string of arrests made, many of them under the citation of "possession of a banned weapon" or "working with others to commit a crime."

Antifa counter-protesters, known for often wearing masks, made up a majority of the arrests. While the imbalance could be a result of Antifa's masks and the inherently disruptive nature of counter-protests, some feel it is a sign of animosity toward left-wing activists.

"It's clear that the cops have chosen sides and that they think of the left as their enemies," said Sam Menefee-Libey, a Washington D.C. activist, to the Guardian. "The cops are doing something that Nazis do all the time, which is dox people."

"Doxxing" refers to the publishing of private information online to intimidate someone or set them up to be targeted for harassment by opponents.

What do the police and city say about this?

The Berkeley Police Department, through a spokesman, stood by the decision to publicly identify the arrested protesters.

"People are coming from out of town and bringing weapons and are committed to violence ... We don't want people to be able to do that with anonymity," spokesman Byron White said.

Mayor Jesse Arreguin told the Guardian "we need to look into this and discuss whether it is an appropriate practice going forward," emphasizing that he wasn't involved in the decision.

One last thing…
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