OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – The Oakland City Council approved part of a controversial surveillance program during an early morning vote Wednesday.
The “Domain Awareness Center” was going to monitor surveillance cameras mounted throughout the city, but that plan was scaled back after hours of debate. Instead, the plan was approved to keep an eye on The Port of Oakland.
KPIX, KCBS, and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said as much as crime is a problem in Oakland, that City Hall’s reaction shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“[Oakland] is also the bastion of civil liberties and demonstrations that sometimes get out of hand and don’t want to necessarily be caught on camera,” he said.
Among those protesting the city-wide plan were a group of Muslim Activists who gathered outside City Hall. Some of them said the close surveillance of Muslims in the Bay Area has become a real problem.
The Arab Resource and Organizing Center told KPIX 5 that FBI agents have been showing up at the homes of Arab residents in Oakland, knocking on their doors and trying to gather information on the local Iraqi community.
“We don’t want any community to go through what the Muslim community has gone through around the privacy, invasion of privacy, around illegal and unlawful surveillance,” Imam Zaid Shakir.
The city has said it prohibits observing individuals strictly based on their “race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other classifications.”