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Difference In Protest Enforcement Has Racial Justice Activists Looking For Answers

Supporters of President Trump in Santee, CA on January 6th, 2020.

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: Supporters of President Trump in Santee, CA on January 6th, 2020.

On Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in front of the County Administration Center in San Diego and in a separate protest later that evening in Santee. Police presence there was sparse as the events ended peacefully.

But a similarly-sized protest in November in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which was also conducted peacefully, was met with dozens of police who corralled the group.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

To civil rights activist Shane Harris, the disparate enforcement for different causes is typical of law enforcement in San Diego and across the country.

“Agencies across the country, not even just in D.C. and federally, you see sort of this lax approach,” he told KPBS. “‘Because they’re white, because they don’t seem as dangerous, we’re not as concerned about them because of the color of their skin.’ We’ve seen this across the country and it’s showing itself in America’s capital.”

RELATED: San Diego Reps Respond To Trump Supporters Storming US Capitol

Reported by Max Rivlin-Nadler

That has Harris questioning whether law enforcement reacts uniformly differently to these two groups.

“How these protestors, or protestors as they say they are, got to the second floor of the US House, breaking in windows, sitting in the same seat that Speaker Pelosi sits in and governs her meetings from,” Harris wondered. “How did that happen without strong oversight and enforcement planned just days before what we all knew would be dangerous?”

Harris called for investigations at the federal and county level into policing of protests.

In a statement, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, which was present at the protests Wednesday, told KPBS that it adjusts its response to protests based on intelligence it receives and that “when there are opposing sides present at the same event, there is a potential for confrontations.”

The Sheriff’s Department also told KPBS that often it keeps personnel nearby, in case a situation escalates.

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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