Following months of national protests against racial injustice and the unjustified killings of Black people, the city of Berkeley, California is answering the call to pursue reform within its police department .
The Berkeley city council on Tuesday voted to end certain policing policies that leave people of color vulnerable. For starters, they will eliminate police traffic stops for low-level offenses, like having an expired license, or not wearing a safety belt. The council also decided police will be required to have written consent before searching vehicles, unless officers are in a situation where consent is not legally required.
According to a 2018 report from the Center on Policing Equity, Black people were over six times more likely than whites to be pulled over by Berkeley police. The study found that Black drivers were also four times more likely than their white counterparts to be searched by Berkeley officers.
In order for the city council to drive home the point that reform needs to take place within the Berkeley Police Department, it also voted to terminate police officers who publish racist material online.
“Berkeley is not immune from our nation’s reckoning with systemic racism,” Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said in a tweet. “Tonight, Berkeley adopted sweeping police reforms cementing our role as a national leader in the police reform movement. These groundbreaking reforms are aimed at eliminating unnecessary police stops & holding officers accountable.”