Claremont police balance safety, First Amendment rights during protests; curfew tonight at 9 p.m.
By Kathryn Dunn | email@example.com
Several businesses across the city have closed, or will close, early today due to a protest planned at 2 p.m. Organizers, who have not revealed themselves, have asked protestors to meet at Vons market on Base Line Road and to walk to the Claremont Police Station on Bonita Avenue.
The protest—in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer—was planned largely on social media, with the digital flyer first posted on a site called Pomona Protests on Instagram, then shared to the Claremont Connects page on Facebook.
“We have no information that it’s threatening in nature,” said Sgt. David DeMetz of the Claremont Police Department. “We have plans in place to ensure their safety and that their First Amendment rights are exercised.”
Police have installed orange water-filled barricades in front of the station as a precaution. As far as stores closing out of caution, Sgt. DeMetz said it is up to individual business owners to make the choice.
A woman posted on Claremont Connects that she had received a “Tactical Alert Advisory” saying that five aluminum baseball bats had been retrieved by a police officer after “an alert resident reported seeing them at Foothill and Mountain hidden in some bushes.”
Sgt. DeMetz confirmed that five baseball bats were found at Foothill and Mountain. The tactical advisory indicated one of the five bats had been weighted with sand. He wants to stress that protests don’t typically take place at that corner and that he doesn’t expect this afternoon’s marchers to go that route.
“We’ve had officers and detectives walk the route we expect them to take multiple times, checking for things of that nature, and nothing was found,” Sgt. DeMetz said.
In the meantime, he urges residents not to try to take the law into their own hands, but to call the police for assistance.
“In the current climate, we understand people being concerned,” he said. “Our job is to ensure safety. That’s why we do what we do and plan the way we do.”
If a resident sees anything suspicious, Sgt. DeMetz says to call the police at (909) 399-5411. If it’s an emergency, or a resident is unsure, call 9-1-1.
A countywide curfew that has been in place most of week will continue Wednesday night, but has been moved to 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. on Thursday, June 4. Residents, unless told otherwise, are asked to stay in their homes during the curfew.
The countywide curfew does not apply to peace officers, firefighters, military personnel deployed to the area, emergency medical services personnel, people traveling to and from work or people working on a public improvement construction project. Also, credentialed media involved in news gathering, people experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter and those seeking medical treatment are also exempted.