Councilmember Taplin Statement on Berkeley Homicide

March 9, 2022

I am heartbroken by the news of Anthony Joshua Fisher’s murder. I am grateful for the hard work of the Berkeley Police Department’s homicide detectives to investigate this heinous crime and arrest the suspect. They have fulfilled the highest duty of our officers of the peace with integrity and professionalism, and West Berkeley thanks them for their service.

This is Berkeley’s first homicide in over a year, and it occurred in West Berkeley, where the recent surge in gunfire has been most prominent. Crime is real, no matter how hard some might wish to deny that fact, and it must be addressed now, using the resources and tools at our disposal. The seniors, parents and families in my District will not be mollified by platitudes and performative gestures. We need concrete actions to address violence and crimes happening today, and to hold accountable those who would harm our community. Shooting after shooting, I have met with residents in impacted neighborhoods to develop concrete solutions. I have introduced proposals such as a problem-oriented Flex Team for data-driven community policing, a Ceasefire program, an Automated License Plate Reader  (ALPRs) policy with strong civil liberty and privacy protections, and public security cameras for improved electronic evidence gathering to aid investigations.

We have already heard every lecture about the root causes of crime–the very same social determinants that I grew up experiencing in my District. This may be a bitter pill for some, but crime itself is a material harm that disproportionately impacts lower-income households, seniors, and all of our diverse West Berkeley community.

Mr. Fisher’s murderer was caught in part with the help of nearby surveillance camera footage. The frequent use of electronic evidence to solve crimes is not lost on me. Over the last year, I have taken steps to increase our access to critical and basic tools of investigation. We do not have the luxury of debating ideology. We must remain committed to our mandate of providing critical services, including guarding the physical safety of our residents. My eye will remain fixed on that end. I did not enter public service to shy away from the ugly realities my neighbors and loved ones do not have the privilege to ignore. We are a diverse community, but we will never tolerate violence.