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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Ninth Day Of Protests Ends With Several Demonstrations Across San Diego County

 June 8, 2020 at 10:12 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Thousands of San Diego's were on the streets, protesting over the weekend, calling for an end to racist attacks on black Americans and reforms of police tactics. In contrast to what happened during some of the early protests last weekend, the actions this weekend were peaceful. And in most cases, police have refrained from the kind of tactics that threatened to escalate the situation. KB, best reporter max ruler Nadler is with us now. Thanks for joining us, max. Good to be here. So give us an overview of where San Diego is. We're protesting of the weekend and the tone of those protests. Speaker 2: 00:31 So there were several different protests all around the County. Um, I think the one that illustrated it best was this car caravan that I followed that was put on by black lives matter. San Diego that started up in LA Jolla then went to Santi university Heights, um, Hillcrest, and then down to national city and, uh, Oh Mesa. And what they were doing was they were going to different locations to highlight places that black people had been met with police violence or had lost their lives because of police violence. Um, and that was a kind of a very interesting way to go about it because it allowed people to, to maintain social distancing while also taking the protests outside of their usual kind of main streets and downtown areas actually moving them into the community themselves. So a lot of people were, uh, were stepping out of their homes and cheering on this protest. Speaker 2: 01:20 I talked to one gentleman who was just, just kind of joining the protest organically. So that was really interesting. You saw it also just throughout the County, other actions, there was a large March from the County administration building, uh, up to Hillcrest on Saturday morning. There was a protest in Santee on Sunday, um, and there were others in Oceanside as well. So it was, it was all over the County and overwhelmingly the tone was, you know, people were angry about the situation for black Americans, uh, and policing in this country, but they were hopeful that they, that these protests had turned a corner and actually in gendering change in, in cities across the U S because, you know, while the events linked to them, like rioting have really subsided, the proteins themselves continue to grow. Speaker 1: 02:11 So black lives matter, organize the car protest you mentioned, but there are other sort of, um, new organizers organizing these protests. Aren't them who are these folks and who are joining the protests. Speaker 2: 02:21 So, you know, we know that gen Z is, um, you know, the younger generation is incredibly active. They've been active about gun violence about the environment, about electoral politics. And they've taken that activism and are joining it along with the black lives matter movement. Um, so a lot of really younger organizers, organizers of color, who are joining these protests and organizing them basically through social media and on a whim. So San T's March against police brutality and racism was, uh, organized by a Santee residents, Tasha Cassidy and Alana Etheridge. Um, Etheridge is a black woman and says that the event was meant to spread love and peace and challenge. The stereotype that Santi is racist. Here's what she said. Speaker 3: 03:03 It's a Sigma Santi being racist. That's the last time you want unity and diversity in our inner town, you grew up here. Speaker 2: 03:11 So this is really showing that people are not only in areas that have seen protests before, but in new areas that people want to show up. You know, we've seen in smaller towns all across the U S hundreds of people in places that have three digit, three digit populations, right? So people are showing up for this movement that wouldn't normally show up showing just how broadly it's expanded. Speaker 1: 03:32 Yes. I observed a protest in, in Oceanside on Sunday afternoon with one over a thousand people showed up and I saw children and even babies in strollers. Does, does that suggest to you that people have confidence that these protests will remain pretty peaceful? Speaker 2: 03:47 Yes. I mean, right now what's really driving the, the protests are this, this interest in seeing change happen and making sure there are big numbers. Um, you know, when we saw there being violence last week, um, as KPBS reported at the time, you know, that really got escalated when the sheriff began firing tear DAS on protesters, there had been some graffiti on the police department in Lamesa, but overall the, the situation got escalated once that became a direct confrontation between police and protestors. That hasn't been the case lately. Um, as police have taken a much more hands off approach to letting people March talking to organizers, getting a sense of what they want to do, where they want to go, what their plans are, and that's making it more accessible to people who wouldn't necessarily, you know, involve themselves in a protest that had the possibility of ending and tear gas and being bagged pellets, being fired by police officers. So I spoke with one 21 year old, uh, who goes by the name, Bobby on a Saturday. He didn't want a lock. His last name used, but he told us he's an EMT who has worked as a street medic at other protests. Uh, last week he says, you know, he really thinks that doing these bigger daytime protests are a turning point for the movement. Speaker 3: 05:03 People are more vocal. A lot of people, a lot more people are bring it to their families and friends versus just posting on social media. People are getting out here and doing things, Speaker 1: 05:10 right? So, so there are a lot of people who haven't necessarily protested before. Let me just ask you, the national guard arrived on Wednesday night at the request of the sheriff, but then they left San Diego again on Sunday. What does that signal to you? Speaker 2: 05:25 I mean, that signals to me that handled, you know, with calm and with understanding what the goals are of the organizers of these protests. Obviously there can be a space to do these, um, events without having to, you know, call in essentially the military, right? The national guard shows up and immediately escalate the situation into something where there there's a very real possibility of a confrontation we saw, obviously in DC last week, when you know, the president, you utilize the national guard, they're using tear gas, things like that, that really escalated the situation. So the national guard going home doesn't necessarily mean that the protest will stop, but it shows that, you know, maybe law enforcement has turned a corner here and said, the way that we're going to deal with these protests is by allowing them the space that they want, um, while also ensuring public safety, by making sure that other activities that could be linked to them like rioting or looting are just not, not tolerated. We're going to make sure that doesn't happen anymore. Speaker 1: 06:25 So the police appear to have dialed back, um, this last weekend, but there was an incident late last week on Thursday in which a woman was detained and taken away in an unmarked van, which caused quite an uproar. What happened there? And what's happened since. Speaker 2: 06:38 Yeah, so that was a, after a peaceful March on Thursday evening, people walked through all of the city, they started downtown, they went up to university Heights. They came back down to downtown. And shortly after that for plain clothes officers ran across the street from a minivan, grabbed a woman who they claimed had swung a, uh, you know, a sign food or cycle officer and took her basically without explanation, without identifying themselves into an unmarked minivan. On top of that, those officers said that if anyone tried to follow them, they would shoot them. This was captured on tape. And obviously had had a huge amount of concern for people on social media saying, you know, who are these people? We didn't even know if they were police officers. I reached out to San Diego police department and they said, yeah, these were plain clothes detectives. Um, but the manner with which this person was arrested and the lack of identification, as well as the threat to shoot people have led to calls for an investigation into the incident by city council, president Georgette Gomez. And in fact, uh, at least chief in his light said that, um, he was going to be launching an internal investigation into exactly how this arrest went down. Speaker 1: 07:46 Well, KPBS will be following any protests that happen this week and the police reaction. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter max and Natalie. Thanks, max. Speaker 2: 07:55 Thank you.

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Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina requested Sunday that the San Diego Sheriff's Department investigate an attack on peaceful protesters and deem the incident a hate crime.
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