Community leaders call on police to change approach to protesters

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SAN DIEGO — Local leaders in the African American community and their allies joined together Monday to call on local law enforcement to change how they respond to Black Lives Matter protesters.

They stood together in front of the San Diego County Administration Building, criticizing local law enforcement’s use of force over the weekend. 

Tasha Williamson, a local leader, said an elderly woman is now fighting for her life in the hospital after she was shot in the head with a rubber bullet Saturday during demonstrations in front of the La Mesa Civic Center. 

“There is no amount of damage to a property that would warrant head shots,” Williamson said.

Protesters were also met with a heavy police presence in downtown San Diego. Leaders brought up specific differences in responses to protest against the state’s stay at home order. 

“We know that they can do better … Because when the COVID-19 stay-at-home protesters were out there, they weren’t marching troops then,” said Will Rodriquez-Kennedy, executive director of San Diego’s Democratic Party. “We know that they can do better, but when faced with black and brown lives and bodies, they’re not.”

Leaders brought up potential solutions for the near future, along with an immediate solution.

“We have seen in other places, where instead of the police officers coming in riot gear and hosing people down with tear gas or shooting rubber bullets point blank in their faces, they actually kneel to show solidarity with the protesters and say I understand and I agree that black lives matter. ” said Genevieve Jones-Wright. “We’ve seen police chiefs come out and actually have conversations with the protesters. I would have loved to see that anywhere in San Diego.”

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