Lawsuit Maintains San Diego Police Showed Favoritism towards Trump Supporters During Pacific Beach Protest

by on February 9, 2021 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, Election, San Diego

A lawsuit was filed Friday, February 5, in federal court against San Diego Police that maintains police showed favoritism toward Trump supporters during a protest in Pacific Beach on January 9.

The suit by two San Diego women alleges police unlawfully cracked down on Black Lives Matter activists and other counterprotesters at the pro-Trump rally, and allowed Trump supporters to continue marching undisturbed.

Plaintiffs Mandy Lien and Erin Smith assert police aggressively dispersed counterprotesters with batons and projectiles at the demonstration – held a mere 3 days after the Trump-incited insurrection at the Capitol – which violated their civil rights and displayed a bias in favor of the mostly White and male supporters of Trump.

Police officers even “high-fived and chatted it up” with Trump supporters, the suit says.

“SDPD then declared an ‘unlawful assembly’ against only those on the anti-Trump side, including Plaintiffs, and forced them to disperse under threat of arrest, while allowing the pro-Trump side to continue demonstrating in the exact same area, and to parade down the Pacific Beach boardwalk.”

According to the SD U-T article published February 6 by Deborah Sullivan Brennan:

The Union-Tribune reported that both sides had skirmished during the day, but police spokesman Lt. Shawn Takeuchi acknowledged the order to disperse applied only to counterprotesters, who he said threw bottles, rocks and eggs at officers. He said the behavior of the crowd dictated the officers’ actions. Three counterprotesters were arrested that day: two adults who police said failed to disperse and a juvenile accused of assaulting an officer.

Attorney Brian Pease, who brought the complaint, said that police ignored violence by pro-Trump protestors, including some who carried weapons or pepper-sprayed bystanders. Representatives for the mayor’s office and police could not be reached for comment Saturday. In a previous statement, Mayor Todd Gloria denounced violence at the event.

Mandy Lien from Chula Vista went to the demonstration with other mothers to support Black Lives Matter. Once she was on Mission Boulevard, she and her friends faced a police line of two dozen officers all in riot gear. Yet, police were not controlling a group of pro-Trump demonstrators who “were instigating and pepper spraying people,” she said. Lien and the other mothers began leaving, but the other plaintiff, Erin Smith, tripped and fell, and curled into a fetal position to protect herself.

The suit states: “The police line started hitting her with batons and yelling at her while she was on the ground. Lien tried to get to her to help her up and was hit by a female officer and constantly told to stay back.”

Saturday’s U-T reported:

Smith finally got up, and the group of women left the event. As they withdrew, they were struck by police pepper balls from behind, which left a welt on Smith’s arm, the complaint states. As Lien walked to her car, she said she was threatened by men who called her obscene slurs.

The lawsuit alleges that the city and police violated the women’s constitutional rights guaranteeing freedom of speech and assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and equal rights of citizenship. Although the women are asking for general and special damages, the main goal is to enforce fairness in policing, Lien said.

“I would like to see the police act without discrimination,” Lien said. “When they call unlawful assembly, everyone should be made to go home, so the area is safe. They shouldn’t pick and choose who they want to stay and who should go home.”

Apparently, that same group of Trump supporters returned to PB last Saturday, Feb. 6, and continued to protest the November election – which in and of itself – is borderline treason – plus they were collecting signatures for the recall Newsom campaign. There were no incidents although reportedly there was a strong police presence and a few others who were monitoring the protest.

Besides this suit, there must be strong community push-back against any favoritism shown Trump supporters who continue the Big Lie by our San Diego police officers and command structure. It’s outrageous to think that people who support the treasonous insurrection on Jan. 6 – which Trump is being tried for right now as of this writing – are being coddled by local law enforcement.

Many have called those insurrectionists “domestic terrorists.” With this definition, our local gendarmes are protecting those who support the domestic terrorists. In what playbook is this okay? Let the mayor know.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

john hart February 9, 2021 at 10:28 am

Did the Trump’s supporter have a permit for the march?


Frank J February 9, 2021 at 2:58 pm

The big picture is about fascist authoritarian rule. The pro-trumpers likely don’t understand the term. The counter protesters are disgusted with the worst president in history, BLM supporters, anti-fascists, & all of the above. The cops don’t surprise us. Other than billionaires who are not reading this column… Shouldn’t we all be antifa?


Susan Borkenhagen February 9, 2021 at 7:43 pm

I am not surprised a bit. During a 2017 rally to investigate Trump downtown the Proud Boys were trying to instigate violence and the sheriffs just stood there allowing it to happen. Eventually, one of the rally speakers, who was on the city council, called the sheriff and told her to get her sheriffs to do their job and separate the peaceful protestors from the violent Proud Boys.


sealintheSelkirks February 11, 2021 at 5:18 am

They were the enemies in the anti-unionizing 1920s, the attackers of the poor during the Great Depression, in the 1950s HUAC communist witch hunts, the desegregation and anti war protests of the 1960s, the war on cannabis that Nixon really got going in the 70s, why would anybody think that anything has changed for the better? It isn’t all of them, but if they aren’t reporting (snitching) on the cops who are ‘bad’ that certainly makes them accomplices to all this.

I mean, if I’m sitting in a car with people who get out and rob somebody and don’t report it, I’m an accomplice. But if a cop knows of criminal behavior of other cops and they don’t report it they’re still the ‘good guys?’ Don’t think so!

Bill Murray said it best: “Lie to the government it’s a felony. Government lies to you it’s just politics.”



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