By Hashely Molotok
April 7, 2020
SAN DIEGO, CA – In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, San Diego Police Department is ramping up its repression of the working class and homeless community. SD county initially placed a ban on gatherings of 250 people or more and shortly after the “shelter in place” order was given by the State of California, the police didnt miss a beat taking to the streets harassing and arresting people, and making sweeps of the local homeless encampments. It is worth noting that multiple officers have been exposed to coronavirus so on top of their blatant repression, the police have been completely disregarding the safety precautions used to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. On top of packing people together in jail, they refuse to “socially distance”, use disinfectant, and wear masks in unnecessary traffic stops and calls which threatens to get innocent people sick. The local copwatch group United Against Police Terror have been documenting these things, below are some videos they have taken:
(5 Cops Making Unnecessary Traffic Stops during Pandemic – prod. Irate Productions)
(Cops help spread Covid-19 by not Sanitizing Cuffs between Detainees – prod. Irate Productions)
(Dirty Cop called out for spitting and not wearing PPE’s – prod. Irate Productions)
It would, unsurprisingly, seem that the police do not take this threat seriously and instead use it as a cover to crack down on the poor and working community. We see those in more well off communities like Pacific Beach crowding the pier and beach, and filling up bars. But in the lower class neighborhoods in City Heights and Logan Heights, the cops are extremely active in aggressively enforcing the State’s orders all the while completely disregarding any safety and preventive measures.
And it may get a lot worse; San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore announced that authorities would be cracking down on people who violate the “stay-at-home” order and was quoted at a news briefing saying “The days of voluntary compliance are over”. While this is directed at non-essential businesses, it will also be directed at people as well. This would be charged as a misdemeanor, and is punishable with $1000 fines and up to six months in jail.
While People’s Voice recognizes the need for safety and preventative measures, we understand that police are incapable of enforcing these things for the betterment of our community. In newspapers and conferences the Police portray themselves as worried public health officials, but from those that experience their presence in the street this is the complete opposite of what they are, especially through evidence collected through United Against Police Terror. The police see this as an opportunity to ramp up harassment and arrests of the oppressed community, to enforce white supremacy and fascism. We know that it is the most exploited and struggling among the poor and working classes (especially those deemed essential) that will bear the brunt of these enforcements. We have already seen this play out in their treatment of the homeless community, and the breaking up of community organizers attempting to serve the people during these trying times. The police are not here to help.
This State’s reaction to this pandemic is proving that the capitalist-colonialist system is not only incapable of serving and protecting us, it is absolutely antithetical to it. At every turn it has taken every opportunity to exploit those most affected by the virus. It only speaks and acts in terms of brute force, hurting and scapegoating the exploited and oppressed. The only force we have seen that has presented itself as being for the good of the people are the revolutionary organizers of the working and poor classes, that are organizing food distributions, mutual aid programs, hygiene programs, tenants unions, and the local copwatch. If we are learning anything from these times is who we can depend on and trust in the face of this pandemic.