When a small contingent of marchers
protesting police brutality arrived at Santa Ana
Police Department headquarters earlier this afternoon,
they discovered to their dismay that twelve police
officers and deputies mounted on horseback had been
deployed to greet them.
SANTA ANA, CA – When a small contingent of marchers protesting police brutality arrived at Santa Ana Police Department headquarters earlier this afternoon, they discovered to their dismay that twelve police officers and deputies mounted on horseback had been deployed to greet them.
The rather unusual deployment of an equestrian unit to face off such a tiny number of demonstrators not only raised eyebrows about the spending priorities of the Santa Ana Police, but brought up some questions about the ability of persons exercising their constitutional rights to access "public fora."
Since 1998, various protests against police brutality have occured on the public sidewalk and stairs directly in front of Santa Ana Police Department headquarters. But today, about a dozen horses were stationed in that same area, posing difficulties for protesters to make their point.
When one demonstrator asked a Santa Ana Police sergeant why the equestrian unit had been positioned on a public sidewalk, he responded by saying "they" didn't want anybody walking up the stairs. He did say, however, that people could use what space was available on the sidewalk in front of the horses.
It's unclear if Santa Ana Police were originally planning to deny marchers access to all "public fora" in front of police headquarters. But after one person challenged them by reciting the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution under flag poles located near the equestrian unit, they took no action.
Despite the bizarre deployment of a hoof detail, Santa Ana Police appeared to have behaved more professionally and with much greater restraint at this anti-police brutality protest than they did last year. At that demonstration, four people were taken into custody. No arrests occurred today.
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