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 It’s outdated.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.