Since the June 3 Black Lives Matter protest in San Mateo, the county sheriff, the city police department, and now the San Mateo Police Officers’ Association have all issued statements about their response. But something is conspicuously absent from these statements: an admission of any mistakes.

While elected officials and residents at the protest were aghast at the presence of riot officers brandishing batons, tear gas dispensers and rubber bullet guns, the statements emphasized the helmets officers wore. When one of our county’s small number of black elected officials said: “There have been very few times where I have been so afraid for my life, and never a time when I have been so afraid for the life of my daughter,” the statements claimed that what happened was a “standard and appropriate practice” and that the equipment used was “industry standard.”

There is a reasonable role for police at protests, primarily keeping protesters safe. Closing down streets, for instance, reduces the chances that a vehicle will push into a crowd, as has happened elsewhere. And at both the San Mateo and Redwood City protests, witnesses spotted gun-toting individuals who were not part of the protest.

Officers wearing helmets is fine and reasonable. But there is no reason that officers should be displaying riot guns and batons to peaceful protesters; if that is “standard and appropriate practice,” then the standards are wrong. Our county Board of Supervisors and city councils need to ask much tougher questions about the departments they fund.

Mike Dunham


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(7) comments

Christopher Conway

You got to question the motives of people who claim they are scared by police using riot gear. You wonder if their concern is that they will not be able to do the illegal activity that they had hoped. I hope when various cities hold meetings about their police force, they let the community know so that we can counter people like this letter writer and let the council know that we in San Mateo want our police force to use whatever it takes to keep us safe. Even if that scares protestors.

Mike Dunham

Yes, I'm sure the crying children were crying at their missed opportunity to commit a crime.

Christopher Conway

anybody who brings a small child to a protest needs to have their head examined.


I feel you are a very self centered individual, just like our President. There is more to life than being surrounded by those who are in a position of power and swear an oath to serve and protect the people and NOT the wrong doers within their Ranks. "Blue Club. "


Bravo Guest 103, CC's main interest in life is to carry on with generational employment and family wealth.

Christopher Conway

Blue Lives Matter

Christopher Conway

Let me guess, you brought your young innocent child to the protest. You lefties are about as clueless as they come. Indoctrination is the game the left plays well.

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