Department of Homeland Security officials gave the University of California-Berkeley a $200,000 grant to purchase an “armored response counterattack truck” for its campus police department, to the dismay of Occupy protesters in the area.
“The eight-ton vehicle, commonly referred to as a “Bearcat,” is used by U.S. troops on the battlefield and is often equipped with a rotating roof hatch, powered turrets, gun ports, a battering ram, and a weapon system used to remotely engage a target with lethal force,” according to Campus Reform.
UC-Berkeley officials told Campus Reform they asked for the counterattack truck grant after a case last year in which they wrongly believed that a man was armed with an AK-47.
Local Occupy Wall Street protesters tried to persuade the school not to purchase the vehicle. “I’m asking, please stay out of this urban warfare stuff,” Daniel Borgstrom, an Occupier and former Marine, told the city council at a June meeting, according to Inter Press Service News Agency.
Occupy protesters at University of California-Davis were pepper-sprayed by campus police while they sat on the grass as part of a peaceful protest — an incident that was caught on video.
“I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place,” UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement at the time.