A UC-Berkeley senior has accused the Berkeley Police Department of racially profiling him, and unlawfully detaining him “without explanation or justification.”
Ismael Chamu posted about his alleged June 27 ordeal on Facebook, claiming that at 2 a.m. that evening “Police Officers [sic] immediately ran towards us and they handcuffed us on the spot no questions asked.” He alleges the officers denied him his basic constitutional protections, and was mocked by them repeatedly.
“I was kidnapped by armed agents. I was humiliated. I have been traumatized. I still feel shock and pain and anger. I am just glad to be free. At Least [sic] feel the illusion of freedom.
“The Police racially profiled me for being Mexican. For looking like a ‘Burglar’ [sic] for appearing ‘Dangerous [sic]'”
The Daily Californian only scratches the surface of why the police apprehended Chamu, merely noting he “was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife.”
It also notes Chamu’s Facebook complaints have “been shared more than 4,000 times and amassed almost 6,000 — predominantly angry — reactions,” and that every senator but one in the Associated Students of the University of California signed off on a pro-Chamu statement:
“The violent detainment and arrest of Ismael Chamu, on the morning of June 27 by Berkeley City police officers, is a result of racial profiling and state violence that should not be tolerated by the City of Berkeley, University of California, Berkeley, or any community.”
How the ASUC was able to fully investigate the matter in such a short time in order to make such a judgment? Good question.
Fortunately, Berkeleyside offers more details of the arrest:
BPD Chief Andrew Greenwood said Chamu and a second person were stopped shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday in the 2300 block of Warring Street because police were looking for suspects in a burglary that had just happened. They were detained “because they matched the broadcast description” from a “‘hot prowl’ burglary” — where victims are inside at the time of the crime.
According to Greenwood, an officer saw Chamu duck behind a vehicle when he saw police, and appeared to set something down. Greenwood said an officer recovered a knife under that vehicle during the investigation. According to a photograph of the knife provided by BPD, it was a 6-inch knife with a 2.5-inch blade. Police arrested Chamu on suspicion of possession of an illegal weapon, the spring-loaded folding knife, said Greenwood. The young man was not identified in a line-up as one of the burglary suspects. …
Chamu said he was kept in Berkeley until early Thursday morning, then taken to Oakland to a different jail, where he was held until Thursday night. He never went to court and never saw an attorney, despite having requested one.
That is not unusual. In Alameda County, the first court hearing, where charges are read to the defendant, can take one to three days to schedule, and clients with public defenders do not meet their attorneys until that time. People arrested in Berkeley are generally held at Berkeley Jail until the morning of their arraignment.
Greenwood added his staff would look into Chamu’s allegations of misconduct, and Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly stated “we take these allegations very seriously.”
Chamu has a history of complaining about the police … not to mention white people, gentrification, and the “the right wing” and “their free speech.” He has commented “Let’s say this together fuck the police” and once stood proudly by a graffiti wall which said “Against all authority except my mom.”
This imgur page features assorted Chamu racist gems such as “There are more serious issues in [sic] this campus than dehydrated white fuckboys and white fuckgirls at their shitty parties,” and “Wanna do something productive this Finals Week? Send all the white kids to wrong room on Finals day.”
He also features a copy of a news story headline “Pa. woman says God told her to ‘throw bricks at white men'” to which he remarks “Same.”
Chillingly, the wannabe thrower of bricks has substitute taught in the West Contra Costa Unified School District about which, he writes, it’s “Time to radicalize our Black and Brown youth.”
IMAGE: Max Sparber/Flickr