Oakland Says Good Riddance to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force

Defending Rights & Dissent Demands Federal Investigation Into Shooting of Anti-Fascist Activist by Federal Task Force
October 16, 2020
This Won’t End November 3
October 21, 2020

Last night, the Oakland City Council terminated local police participation in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) by unanimously passing a measure introduced by County Council President Rebecca Kaplan. It was a smashing victory for a broad coalition of local, state, and national groups led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and California CAIR. DRAD was a member of the coalition.

The FBI lobbied the council, but couldn’t muster much evidence to show that police participation in the JTTF benefits the people of the city. 

The Coalition however, was able to demonstrate how damaging the partnership is. In a letter to the Council, and in testimony and emails, the coalition and supporters explained the problematic nature of the FBI’s JTTFs:

  1. It increases the on-the ground force and local knowledge available to the FBI to harass communities of color, especially Black, Arab, Muslim, and immigrant communities.
  2. The FBI dictates what OPD can and cannot share with the public and elected officials, making it hard to hold OPD officers participating in the JTTF accountable to the local community.
  3. ICE is a prominent federal partner in the JTTF, and has access to all the information uploaded by the JTTF, including people’s immigration status.
  4. The FBI and the JTTF are increasingly misusing their authority to stifle First Amendment protected activity and targeting protesters under the pretense of protecting national security.

Oakland is the third city, after San Francisco and Portland, OR, to withdraw local police from the JTTF. Defending Rights & Dissent is currently working with the Justice for Muslims Collective and the Black & Brown Activism Defense Collective to launch a campaign to pull the Washington, DC police force out of the JTTF.