In a recent exposé by the Sacramento Bee, messages sent between a squad of officers with the Eureka Police Department were shown to contain bigoted, violent and sexist comments that speak to the culture of policing in Humboldt County. Particularly on January 25, 2020, these officers threatened the Peace and Freedom of Humboldt County.
The messages read:
“There’s supposed to be a protest at the courthouse from 1700 to 1900 for the ‘war in Iran’ … confirm u all have ur riot gear?? Gas mask, helmet, and dude handle,” Sgt. Reyna-Sanchez wrote.
“I’ll beat those f------ hippies down,” Officer Meftah wrote to the group.
“Why don’t I have a side handle??” Reyna-Sanchez wrote, referring to a police baton.
On January 25th, 2020, the Peace and Freedom Party held a rally in cooperation with the Answer Coalition’s global day of protest against Donald Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport. Soleimani was a beloved figure in both Iraq and Iran for his successes in fighting ISIS. The bombing of Soleimani killed multiple Iraqi Officials and caused 2 million Iraqis to take to the streets in protest and the Iraqi government voted to expels all US forces from their country. Today, over one year later, the United States military still refuses to leave their country and continues to use Iraq as a staging ground for further war crimes.
In attendance at the protest at Eureka Courthouse on January 25th were the Veterans for Peace, mothers and their children and activists from historically oppressed communities by the United States. The squad of officers with EPD threatened illegal violence against women, children, veterans and people of color. It is unacceptable for every member of this squad who participated or remained silent.
The first message in the Sac Bee exposé show that Sargent Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez (image at right) personally owned an arsenal of military-grade weapons and tactical gear, including silencers. In response to the suspect accused of stealing this arsenal of weapons being released from Humboldt County jailhouse, Reyna-Sanchez sent a message to his squad directing them to “face shoot that f***!”
This is disturbing not only on its own but becomes even more so in light of Reyna-Sanchez’s execution-style killing of 25-year-old David Sequoia, who was shot in the head at point-blank range while he was on the ground.
The attempted coup by fascist organizations like the Proud Boys, 3%ers and Oathkeepers on the US capital on January 6th, 2021, has shown. through the arrests made there, that these organizations are largely led by and comprised of cops, military personnel, longtime FBI informants and private contractors with security organizations used by the US government and US corporations. They are extremely violent right-wing paramilitaries that are committed to undermining democracy and ushering in a new era of nationalist totalitarianism.
The Peace and Freedom Party demands that all officers in the squad under Reyna-Sanchez’s command be fired and instead of hiring more cops, we demand that the funds be redirected towards a “Cahoots”-style program being implemented in Oregon which puts mental health professionals in charge of 911 phone call responses. Of 24,000 phone calls received by Cahoots, only 150 required a police presence as a response. This significantly reduces the amount of armed cops unnecessarily sent into communities.
The Peace and Freedom Party of Humboldt County demands that the city of Eureka screen all officers for nationalistic, violent, sexist, racist or bigoted tendencies to ensure that the Proud Boys-type culture is not infiltrating the institutions given license to kill citizens in the community. All officers promoting the racist counter-mantra “Blue Lives Matter” should be investigated for connections to neo-fascist paramilitaries like the Proud Boys, 3%ers, Oathkeepers and others. “Blue Lives Matter” should be banned from use by Eureka Police Department as well as symbols like the black-and-white American flag with blue stripe. Public service is no place for toxic authority worship.
The responsibility of demilitarization of law enforcement falls upon the Eureka City Council and City Manager. The culture of ultra-violent, hyper-nationalist, white supremacist and misogynistic policing in the United States is a historical precedent set at the foundation of America. Colonial policing of stolen native land has always targeted indigenous peoples, people of color and vulnerable communities. It is on the colonial city government of Eureka to end this culture of violence and protect the most vulnerable community members from the armed predators within their own institutions.
Fire the texting squad! Divert funds to de-escalation programs!