A crowd of several hundred people calling for police reform and racial justice marched peacefully through downtown San Diego and into Balboa Park on Tuesday afternoon, the fifth consecutive day that residents have taken to the streets.
The march began in the early afternoon and was organized by SD Peaceful Protests, making its way through the city center before ending on the grass strip of Balboa Park along Sixth Avenue near the street Laurel.
There, protesters listened to the speeches and spread across the lawn, following the organizers’ advice to observe social distancing as much as possible. The protesters left the park and joined a second group of hundreds of other protesters, to end up at the San Diego County Administration Center.
At 6 pm. They camped again and marched toward the San Diego City Hall. Shortly after 7:30 p.m., the group had returned to the San Diego County Administration Center, where organizers led the group with protest songs.
In protest at George Floyd’s death, a large group of people display signs that show their anger and demand justice for Floyd at Balboa Park on June 2, 2020 in San Diego, California.
(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
The crowd was smaller than the one in the city center a day earlier, but had the same concern about police reform and racial equality. San Diego police on vehicles and motorcycles monitored the march and kept traffic away from protesters for security reasons.
Amir Harrison Jr., 29, one of the organizers, said it was encouraging to see the decision of city officials on Monday to ban the use of the carotid restraint in the city police force, and said those those pushing for reform cannot lose momentum.
“We cannot stop protesting until we make real institutional changes that bring us true peace and security,” he said.
Meanwhile, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at an afternoon press conference that two groups overseeing police behavior in the city will have emergency meetings this week to discuss the introduction of de-escalation policies in the Department.
Sharmaine Mosley, executive director of the Community Police Practices Review Board, said the group will meet Thursday night to discuss asking the department to adopt a de-escalation program similar to the one adopted in Baltimore. That policy includes a variety of techniques, from speaking in a calm tone of voice to backing down to reduce tensions and other measures, all aimed at avoiding the use of force as much as possible.
On Wednesday, the Citizen Advisory Board on Police / Community Relations will also meet to discuss de-escalation policies for the department. Information on how to view the meetings is available on the CRB website and also on the CAB website.
Both meetings follow the decision of the Mayor and San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit to ban the use of the carotid artery restriction by city police. That announcement was made Monday, and was made in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police and after several days of protests in San Diego and nationwide.
Containment, in which an officer performs a grab on a person’s neck and applies pressure, has been prohibited by many large departments. Although it can render a person unconscious, it can also cause serious injury and death.
Nisleit said at the press conference that the protesters have remained largely peaceful, although there have been trouble spots. Police made 17 arrests Monday night, he said.