I’m not sad to see the disbanding of police horse patrol as they were mainly used against demonstrators.

by on February 10, 2010 · 8 comments

in Civil Rights, Ocean Beach, Peace Movement, San Diego

mounted  police patrol SD 02

photo by sonias 2007

by OB Joe

I know I will receive flak for this, but I for one, am not at all sorry to see  the San Diego Police Department horse patrol disbanded and the horses sold due to budgetary reasons.

Why? Because the  police horse patrol was mainly used for crowd control and was constantly used to intimidate peaceful demonstrators in San Diego over the years.

I know the horses are cute and every kid – including mine when he was small -wants to pet them and every tourist wants to have their photo taken with them.  The horses when they’re just standing there are cute.

But that was not how the police or the City of San Diego used them. Place a uniformed cop on top the large animal and place that rider and horse in a line with a bunch of other cops on horses – and you have a mighty intimidating front.

mounted  police patrol SDI have  been in numerous peaceful anti-war demonstrations  downtown where the mounted police followed the marches to ensure that there were no  stragglers from the protest.  The mounted patrol would follow close too, and as moms with baby carriages, or people just struggling to keep up, or older citizens with  canes or even in wheelchairs would drop behind the main body of marchers, these horses  would come right up to the stragglers and physically force  them along.

The cop riders use their  mounts with aggression and don’t stop for an innocent straggler. Nope.

A few years back, a number of anti-war protesters were actually stepped on and injured by the horses  in Balboa Park.

mounted police in OBIt’s not like the horses themselves were mean. It was how they were used. A cop on a horse can quickly cover a bit of ground and has a great view. They’ve been used in Ocean Beach for patrol purposes, I know.

The mounted patrol began in 1934 in Balboa Park. It ended in 1948 but was re-established in 1983.

Today’s Union-Tribune ran  an account  that despite some last-minute fund raising efforts by civilians, the horses will be auctioned off.

It is sad in a sense, but then again, this is not the Wild West.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

obfuzz February 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

The mounted patrol likely helped keep many of those demonstrations peaceful. Even when the vast majority of peaceful people protest anything, the opposition protesters and a few troublemakers can easily ruin things for everyone. Often people who care nothing about a cause will show up when the cameras are there- just to get attention. And it was not mainly used for crowd control. They spent most of their time taking pictures with tourists… that is a waste of time.


OB Joe February 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm

obfuzz, a tip of the hat to you for responding. I could say ‘horse feathers!’ to you pal, but I won’t. I don’t agree with you but that’s okay. Many of the demos that I went to did not have any counter-demonstrators, and by far the vast majority were very peaceful. The mounted patrol and the motorcycle patrol were brought in to show us how easily we could be maneuvered and monitored and manipulated. Nothing like a flank of cops on horses with everyone having shields on – even the horses to show who’s boss.


lane tobias February 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

As per my personal beliefs, these innocent horses should not be used for anything except for eating grass and maybe an occasional horse back ride. I dont approve of animals being used for entertainment and ESPECIALLY not for crowd control. So this makes me happy….so long as nobody actually tells me where the horses end up…


joe tucker February 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm

HOORAY for gittin’ rid of the horses. OF COURSE, they were used to hassle people, what do y’all think the cops are for but to hassle the have nots in favor & “protection” of the haves? & left horse puckey everywhere on our beaches. Now if they wd only git rid of the “Cop Shop” in the pier parking lot. All that shd save enuf $$$$ to keep the fire rings!


OB Joe February 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Speaking about horse puckey… I once not too long ago witnessed a scene between a woman dog owner and a male cop on a horse. The cop had approached the woman because her dog was not on a lease and had complained to her without writing anything that her dog had shat in the grass. Somewhat taken aback, the woman asked who was going to clean up the horse puckey out in the parking lot? The cop then wrote her a ticket.


Frank Gormlie February 10, 2010 at 10:41 pm

The so-called cop shop or police trailer is used by meter maids and men. They have to go somewhere to write their tickets up, and the old Newport Ave office closed long ago. The City desperately needs money, money is generated by tickets, so – all power to the ticketeers ! Let’s keep the trailer (just kiddin Dan, Steven, justmy2cents) and maybe we can raise enough funds through tickets that will pay for the fire pits. So, let’s keep the trailer there (does the city pay rent? It’s the city’s parking lot) and generate fire pit money. In fact, let’s sponsor a campaign where OB residents turn themselves in to the meter people – and police – whenever they commit a traffic violation voluntarily in order to help generate this fire pit ticket money. Of course, it goes without saying that we wouldn’t be promoting dangerous driving or behavior.

So, park in the red zone! Raise money for the fire pits!


Dave Gilbert February 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Pits don’t cost a dime, you take a shovel, you dig a pit, you’re done. It’s the cement rings is what costs the taxpayer money. I know that certain folks at the Rag can’t wrap their minds around the fact that you can have a square ring but it’s a fact. The term Pits also has a very negative connotation so I can see why the Rag’s attempt to rally support for pits rather than rings is failing.


Patty Jones February 17, 2010 at 8:02 pm

But Dave, support is not failing, all of the fire rings (or fire pits, or whatever) have been adopted!


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