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Escondido Police Take A Knee Alongside Those Protesting Police Violence

Escondido residents take a knee to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, June 3, 2020.
Steve Walsh
Escondido residents take a knee to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, June 3, 2020.

Groups came together outside Escondido City Hall on Wednesday to protest the death of George Floyd.

Just afternoon Wednesday, a coalition of groups took a knee, in protest of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police more than a week ago.

Escondido Police Take A Knee Alongside Those Protesting Police Violence
Listen to this story by Steve Walsh.

They knelt through nine bells. One bell for each minute that Floyd was held on the ground by police. The crowd included Latoya Emanuel who has lived in Escondido most of her life. This was her first opportunity to attend one of the protests in person, though she had watched the video of Floyd on social media.

“I actually saw it on Facebook,” she said. “And I’ve cried since. Like I’m still waking up out of my sleep crying about it. And it just shouldn’t have happened.”

This was the second protest held in Escondido. On Monday a group of 300 gathered outside the police station for what police Chief Ed Varso described as a good conversation revolving around policing and race. On Wednesday, the chief knelt with the rest of the crowd.

“We have a similar policy but we would never put our leg on someone’s neck and hold them down. I’ve talked to several people,” he said. “That fact alone would never happen in Escondido. We wouldn’t conduct ourselves in that same way.”

Among the officials addressing the crowd were mayor Mayor Paul McNamara, Deputy Mayor Consuelo Martinez.

Escondido City Councilmember Olga Diaz listed a series of police reforms that she hoped would come out of these events.

“Require citizen input on the hire and recruitment of police chief captains, the community should have input on this job,” she said.

Organizers then asked the crowd to write down what they would like to see and place the post-it notes on the doors to city hall. The rally was organized by a coalition of groups, including Yusef Miller of Racial Justice Coalition San Diego, Rev. Meg Decker of Escondido Together.