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San Mateo County as Vulnerable to Police Violence as Memphis

by March on Police Station in Menlo Park
February 11 near downtown Menlo Park, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. Protesters rallied for justice for Tyre Nichols and said the same police tactics are used here.
On a Saturday afternoon, it was feet on the street along the El Camino Real in a plaza adjacent to downtown Menlo Park, with passing cars honking in support.

"Tha Hood Squad", based in East Palo Alto with origins in Oakland, organized the protest for justice for Tyre Nichols, victim of Memphis police. Speakers at the rally in Menlo Park, which is in San Mateo County, called out the San Mateo County Gang Task Force for using similar police tactics as in Memphis with arrests of Black and brown people under false pretenses. Right here on the San Francisco Peninsula, home to Silicon Valley, police are racially profiling people and pulling them over hoping that they find contraband and sometimes the police get violent, they said.

Nigerian-American Chinedu Okobi was killed by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies who tasered him multiple times and beat him with batons after stopping him on suspicion of jaywalking in 2018. It happens here and everywhere, not just in Memphis, said speakers at the rally.

Members of the San Francisco Peninsula based Raging Grannies Action League held gravestone shaped placards reading "RIP Tyre Nichols" and for other victims of police brutality.

Demonstrators marched down the El Camino and across CalTrain tracks to the Menlo Park police station holding those placards and others that called out police brutality. Some waved black and green Pan-African and other flags. Briefly stopping car traffic along the way, they paused once at the police station to shout their grievances through megaphones.

JT Faraji of The Hood Squad said that people are afraid to file reports of police violence. “There are a large majority that are afraid, terrified, because the gang task force is known to be vindictive and retaliate,” he said. A few days later Faraji spoke at a Menlo Park City Council expressing community demands.

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