East County Magazine
June 3, 2016 (San Diego) -- In response to the community’s objections about San Diego Police Department’s unprecedented show of force at last Friday’s Trump Rally, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties sent a letter yesterday requesting public records from the City of San Diego concerning SDPD’s operations.
SDPD has defended its actions, which included declaring an unlawful assembly and using a line of police in riot gear to force protesters and others to move from downtown to Barrio Logan. A total of 33 arrests were made, including a San Diego City Attorney candidate. The ACLU isn’t the only one seeking information; yesterday the San Diego Union-Tribune reported its request for body camera footage from police during the actions has ben denied.
The ACLU press release states:
Along with Alliance San Diego, the American Friends Service Committee, National Lawyers Guild and Union Del Barrio, the San Diego ACLU has been responding to community members’ questions and complaints in the aftermath of what community leaders believe was an unacceptable show of excessive force by SDPD against peaceful protestors. Citing the California Public Records Act (CPRA), the ACLU is requesting the following information:
- How many officers? The number of and specific law enforcement agencies and special units, including plainclothes officers, who were dispatched or who in some capacity participated in responding to the protests
- How much did it cost and who paid for it? The amount of money that was spent on the law enforcement response to the protests, and sources of private funding, if any
- How did SDPD prepare for the protest? The protocol used by SDPD to prepare for public protest, and whether this deviated from standard SDPD protest protocol in any way
- How many arrests? The number of arrests, both of adults and minors, and what offenses they were charged with
- How many citizens’ complaints? Complaints filed regarding the conduct of any law enforcement officers
- Who decided to remove separation barriers before the crowds had dispersed and why? What efforts were made to keep supporters and detractors separated and safe after crowds began exiting the Convention Center? What efforts were made to disperse the crowds before an unlawful assembly was declared? How many times and was an unlawful assembly announced?
- Para-Military Equipment. The protocol for deteriming to use riot gear and tanks in residential communities
- How was it determined that the protest had become an “unlawful assembly”? The criteria and the process or protocol used to determine and declare “unlawful assembly” (or multiple “unlawful assemblies” in various locations)
- Video of the protests and arrested taken from law enforcement officer’s body cameras or dash cameras
Because of the palpable feelings of apprehension and frustration felt particularly by residents of the Barrio Logan neighborhood, the San Diego ACLU additionally requested specific information on the events that took place there at approximately 4:20 PM. The stark difference in approach compared to other, similar peaceful demonstrations, including the use of riot gear, tanks (or tank-like vehicles), prompted the ACLU to ask for more information to determine whether SDPD’s action deviated from standard SDPD protest protocol in anyway.
The coalition members were disturbed last night to read the log of the 33 people arrested at the protest. Nearly half of the arrests occurred in Barrio Logan, and a young boy of color faces the most serious charges.