MENDOCINO Co., 11/3/20 — Both the Fort Bragg Police Department and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office have announced that they will be taking extra precautions today, Election Day, as a result of the high levels of political tension in the United States.
The Sheriff’s Office will be running extra patrols today, across the county, saying that, “It is the hope that these extra patrols will dissuade any acts of intimidation or violence in connection with voting activities.”
Meanwhile, FBPD also made an announcement saying that in “an abundance of caution,” they have increased staffing levels, and have also purchased riot shields and helmets.
In both press releases the agencies note that they wish for people to, in the words of the MCSO, “[encourage individuals to express their right of choice/expression through their vote and to not engage in any non-peaceful behavior that could lead to acts of violence or civil disorder in our communities.”
Given these statements a brief review of the last four years is in order. The past couple years have seen substantial political unrest in the United States, perhaps kicked off, at least symbolically, by the “Unite the Right” white supremacist and Nazi rally which took place in Charlottesville, VA, near the beginning of the Trump era. Since then frequent mass shootings have continued (though thankfully eventually curtailed by the quarantine), sometimes seemingly random, but often now more explicitly motivated by white supremacist politics. Racist right-wing agitators like the Proud Boys have become a frequent sight at American protests, and recent weeks saw the uncovering of plot was by right-wing extremists to kidnap the governor of Michigan. At the beginning of the COVID lockdown, anti-masking political actions became common, and included events at which armed right-wing groups surrounded or occupied statehouses. Finally, as the COVID quarantine dragged on, and after a long history of police violence against Black people, the Black Lives Matter movement led an almost ceaseless series of protests, generally peaceful, but often accompanied by property destruction and looting, which continue to the present. The BLM protests have been called by many the largest political protest movement in U.S. history in terms of number of people involved, and geographic distribution.
After these years, and a fraught campaign, the entire nation is on edge, and it is likely it’s with these national issues in mind that local law enforcement have made these statements — but it’s also worth remembering that such political unrest has not arrived in Mendocino. Though we suffer from unusually high rates of interpersonal and domestic violence, no politically motivated violence has occurred here in some decades — and, thankfully, neither has a mass shooting. And when BLM protests were held in Mendocino County, near the beginning of the current moment, they were overwhelmingly peaceful with no property destruction.
In addition, public elections officials have noted that the election is going off without a hitch in Mendo, indeed, with higher turn-out, and faster counting than in previous years.
Here are the press releases:
DATE: “November 2, 2020”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Public Safety Announcement – Election Day
Date of Incident:
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office recognizes this year’s United States Presidential election to be one of the most emotionally charged elections in the history of the United States of America.
The voting process is one of the fundamental elements of America’s democracy.
The Sheriff’s Office is encouraging individuals to express their right of choice/expression through their vote and to not engage in any non-peaceful behavior that could lead to acts of violence or civil disorder in our communities.
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to respect everyone’s First Amendment Right as outline by the United States Constitution but make this recommendation with the health and safety of everyone in mind.
Sheriff’s Deputies will be providing extra patrol activities in the polling locations open throughout Mendocino County during the November 3rd election day.
It is the hope that these extra patrols will dissuade any acts of intimidation or violence in connection with voting activities.
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184
Here is the notice from Fort Bragg:
And in Spanish: