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Letter to Mayor & Chief of Police: Don't Use Police to Incite Violence or Silence Protestors

DSA Santa Cruz - 11.03.2020
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If our democracy is truly under threat, the ONLY thing that will save it is a mass mobilization of people across the country, in red and blue states alike, shutting down cities, shutting down workplaces, and shutting down business as usual. The police will only exacerbate the ongoing violence of the state.

Mayor Justin Cummings
809 Center Street, Room 10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
jcummings@cityofsantacruz.com

Chief Andrew G. Mills, Santa Cruz Police Department
155 Center St. 
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 

Dear Mayor Cummings and Chief Mills, 

Like many in our city, we, the Democratic Socialists of America, Santa Cruz, are deeply concerned about the upcoming presidential election and the possibility that President Trump may not respect an electoral defeat and may try to remain in office.  We recognize the very real possibility should this happen, there may be a drawn out period in which the outcome of the election is in question and we see large mobilizations of people in the streets of Santa Cruz and the broader Bay Area. We are writing to you to express several concerns our members have about the city’s response to this potential unrest and to ask for your commitment to ensuring that the absolute right of people to protest authoritarianism and defend democracy is respected.

First, we are concerned that, as we saw during the Black Lives Matter uprisings this summer, Santa Cruz will send mutual aid to Oakland to assist Oakland PD in putting down demonstrations. Let us be clear. If our democracy is truly under threat, the ONLY thing that will save it is a mass mobilization of people across the country, in red and blue states alike, shutting down cities, shutting down workplaces, and shutting down business as usual.  Whatever the motive may be for sending mutual aid to bay area cities, we see it as antithetical to a defense of democracy and we ask that you publicly commit to refusing mutual aid to any police force or jurisdiction that may request it. Now is a time for solidarity and mutual aid between working people, not between our nation’s police forces.  

Second, we expect that there may be large demonstrations here in Santa Cruz in the weeks and months following the election. We also know that in the current climate, there is an increased risk of right wing violence against protesters. However, we do not believe that a heavy police presence at demonstrations ever makes crowds safer.  Nor do we want to see pandering gestures of police officers joining demonstrations (all while standing ready to put those same demonstrations down by force).  A defense of democracy will require broad participation from all communities, including communities of color and populations that rightly recognize that the mere presence of police puts them at increased risk.  If our city wants to show support for a popular defense of democracy, it should make every effort to ensure that demonstrations remain unmolested by law enforcement. Simply put, we don’t see any place for police officers in a demonstration against authoritarianism.

We await your reply,

Democratic Socialists of America Santa Cruz

Direct correspondence to DSA Santa Cruz Executive Committee, info@dsasantacruz.org

cc:  Vice Mayor Donna Meyers dmeyers@cityofsantacruz.com
Councilmember Katherine Beiers kbeiers@cityofsantacruz.com
Councilmember Sandy Brown sbrown@cityofsantacruz.com
Councilmember Renee Golder rgolder@cityofsantacruz.com
Councilmember Cynthia Matthews cmathews@cityofsantacruz.com
Councilmember Martine Watkins mwatkins@cityofsantacruz.com

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