End of summer, 1970, west of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Just past midnight, an 18 year old woman drives a rust bucket 1963 Bel Air down a dark two lane road. She hears a siren, sees flashing lights in the rear view mirror and pulls over. Two male officers approach her car. She rolls the window down and hears. “Get out of the car now.” When she does she is yanked by one of them to the shoulder in front of her car. He then says, “Get down, face down and make sure I can see your hands.” While lying face down on the pavement, with his foot on the middle of her back she hears a strange conversation between the two officers. There is lots of laughing and talking about who could stick what where, and more laughter about catching something, because who the hell knows where the bitch has been. She hears a loud banging noise followed by a statement that there is nothing here, so let’s see what else we can find tonight. She feels the foot lift from her back, but stays put. Car doors slam and she hears them drive away. When she gets up she sees the lower part of her car’s back seat in the middle of the street. She drags it back to the car and puts it back in and continues her drive back to south Minneapolis.
End of summer, 2020, Boyes Hot Springs, California
A 68 year old women puts on her head set, clicks on the Zoom meeting of the Sonoma county board of supervisors meeting and gets ready along with hundreds of others to convince the board to put the Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO Ordinance on the November ballot. All but two of the supervisors are reluctant to do so. But, in end they are convinced it is what their constituents want. She can tell most of the supervisors are not happy with this marathon meeting. All the recorded comments must be played and all the speakers must be heard. It is not surprising that the rules for commenting will be changed after this.
Measure P is now on the November ballot. There are flyers to be handed out, Facebook posts to be made, and letters to the editor to be written. Measure P must pass and it does with an overwhelming majority. There is celebration and jubilation. There is a feeling that Sonoma County gets it. We have taken a stand for holding the sheriff and his department accountable. We will have citizen oversight, lives will be saved and Sonoma County has done the right thing.
Beginning of summer, 2021, all of Sonoma County, California
The State’s Labor Board strikes down key parts of Measure P. The Press Democrat reports that law enforcement reform advocates want the Board to appeal the decision and stand with the voters. Meanwhile, local law enforcement groups are saying they must be consulted regarding oversight from the county’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach. If the board’s ruling stands, the county’s Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach will not have the authority to do its own investigations of deputies, publish body cam footage, subpoena personnel records, or recommend discipline. The Board of Supervisors will consider their options on July 13th in a closed door session.
Supervisors, the only right option is this: Appeal.