Police Review Blog

The Coalition for Police Review is an alliance dedicated to the implementation of genuine and effective police review processes for all law enforcement agencies operating in Humboldt County. It includes Redwood Chapter ACLU, Civil Liberties Monitoring Project, Human Rights Commission, Waterfront Greens and many more.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Poster Children for Police Review -- Humboldt Sentinel Editorial

Poster Children for Police Review

College kids on bikes bring out the immaturity of the EPD and its misguided courtship of the CHP


Humboldt Sentinel

The apparent mishandling of the ‘security’ for this week’s anti-war protests in Arcata and Eureka was no accident. Protestors were clearly doing a better job of regulating their own free expression than peace officers were, especially with the unnecessary roadblocks, overdeployment and use of inappropriate levels of force. Somehow it’s difficult to imagine police handing out so many jaywalking tickets at a comparably-sized pro-war demonstration.

Clearly a group of 40 or so bicyclists mostly consisting of Humboldt State students looking to express their independence from oil dependency and its consequent affects on national security presented such a threat to the Eureka Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and federal authorities as to engender scenes reminiscent of Seattle’s crackdown on dissent in 1999 during the World Trade Organization conference.

A safe corridor for forms of transportation outside the automobile still doesn’t exist between Arcata and Eureka. We hope even apologists for such conduct will agree with the need for viable alternatives such as a restored rail-and-trail route.

Federal representatives must be held accountable for their response to these incidents, especially given the constant concessions of supposedly progressive Democrats like Congressman Thomspon and Senator Feinstein, for taxpayer dollars were surely wasted that day in protecting the ‘homeland’ from its own. Likewise, our voices in Sacramento may be considered by many lame ducks, but this shouldn’t block a fair assessment of concerns regarding the behavior of state troopers.

It is locally where this controversy will have the most lasting impact in providing poster children for implementing police review. Whether the Critical Mass participants or the police will end up looking the most mature will depend on how much distortion of these events the public is willing to accept from their government and media. At least in Eureka, false arguments regarding the impossibility of general law cities creating such boards are mute in this unique example of charter government in Humboldt County.

The Humboldt Sentinel stands behind civilian control of the armed forces, whether in regards to our military, state troopers or local peacekeepers. Police review is clearly overdue in Humboldt County.


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