Progressive activists and lawyers are criticizing the Berkeley Police Department in California over its decision to publish the identities of the 20 Antifa protesters arrested on Sunday at an anti-Marxism rally in Berkeley, California.
The Berkeley Police Department announced Sunday on Twitter that they arrested 20 people at a “No to Marxism in Berkeley” rally, publishing the names, cities of residence, and photos of Antifa counterprotesters in separate tweets.
Many were arrested for charges such as “possession of a banned weapon” or “working with others to commit a crime,” based on recently implemented city rules prohibiting riot gear and weapons.
But some progressive lawyers and activists are criticizing the police department’s decision to publish the identities of the suspects on social media.
Jay Kim, executive director of the Berkeley chapter of the progressive National Lawyers Guild, told the Guardian that the arrests unfairly targeted the left-wing Antifa protesters.
“It really seemed to us like the Berkeley police department was there to … target the anti-fascist protesters,” said Kim, who is working with his organization to provide legal assistance to those arrested. Kim said at least 21 people contacted his organization for legal assistance, noting the “vast majority” of those reaching out were Antifa protesters.
Other activists say the police is not just targeting the left-wing protesters, but doxxing them.
“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, DC, activist. “The cops are doing something that Nazis do all the time, which is dox people.”
Despite the criticism from progressive groups, the Berkeley Police Department doubled down on their decision to 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,” Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Byron White said in a statement.