The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office made their presence known in a distressing and unacceptable manner during the Black Lives Matter rally at San Mateo Police Department June 3, 2020, (“A call for justice” in the June 4 edition of the Daily Journal).

As blacked-out vehicles approached, halting extremely close to our demonstration, I became concerned for my well being and the safety of those around me.

To that point I’d felt safe and comfortable throughout the protest. I hadn’t been intimidated by the extensive police presence as we marched nor upon arrival to the police station. Officer involvement was understandable from my perspective.

However, as deputies from the Sheriff’s Office exited multiple vehicles, brandishing riot gear like helmets, batons and other weaponry, fear coursed through my entire body. Their very presence was one of intimidation. These deputies incited my flight-or-fight response. A normal human reaction to any real or perceived threat.

It’s easy to understand why violence could erupt after hundreds of people switch into hyperarousal because of a completely unnecessary and unprovoked threat.

I’m deeply disappointed with SMPD for allowing this aggressive behavior directed toward its own community. Our protest was peaceful; had something turned I know exactly who would’ve been at fault.

This is precisely why law enforcement reform is crucial. We are evolving. We need not be controlled by fear. It’s outdated. It’s archaic. If you oppose reform, then you too are allowing fear to guide you.

It’s time for these systems to change. Let’s move forward, together.

Caroline Exner

San Mateo

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(9) comments


In the comments portion of the June 6th article in the Daily Journal, “Concern over Police response ...” SMPD posted three statements. The second statement from Chief Barberini explains his decision-making during the protect. He explains how a group of 200+ protester broke off from the original crowd and headed west toward the Hillsdale Mall. “Based on local social media posts encouraging looting of retail centers on the Peninsula, and multiple reports of looting and destructive activity Bay Area wide,” the Chief made the prudent decision to send resources from the well-prepared Sheriff's Office up to the shopping center.

Out of sheer curiosity, Caroline, were you part of the splinter crowd that headed toward the shopping center?

Christopher Conway

Police did an outstanding job and most citizens of San Mateo are very happy with their performance. To the young letter writer, the police are out there to protect the community and property. The fact that they intimidated you is just icing on the cake.


Chris, what a great role model you are for your family. 'Bullies' rock. Not!

Tommy Tee

Right? Intimidation is "icing on the cake." Just wow.

Christopher Conway

Do you enjoy having a conversation with yourself?


Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklin

Dirk van Ulden

In the case of Carolyn ignorance is bliss. She had no idea what other forces were lurking in the background which may have been known to our police forces. Nice girl but she needs to realize that this world is no longer as pleasant and innocent as it was just a few months ago. It is a shame but let's thank our police forces again for keeping us safe and not listening to well-meaning but unfortunately gullible teenagers.

Christopher Conway

good, there is hope for you


One Adam 12, One Adam 12, Earth to Conway...

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