Del Mar to send letter to sheriff, DA about law enforcement practices

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council unanimously voted June 1 to draft and send a letter to the San Diego sheriff and district attorney to address the law enforcement issues highlighted by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Floyd died shortly after police detained him face down on a Minneapolis street, including one officer who was charged with third-degree murder for using his knee to pin him down by the neck. Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, according to video shared by onlookers. His death spurred protests throughout the country.

City Councilman Dwight Worden said Del Mar has a good relationship with the local sheriff’s department. But he and City Councilman Dave Druker, who both suggested the letter during the council’s Monday, June 1 meeting, still want to address the systemic and recurring issues that have led to racial discrimination and caused deaths similar to Floyd’s.

“We all need to stand up and say we don’t approve of discrimination and bad policing like what we’re seeing in Minnesota and some of these other places,” Worden said. “It may not be a problem in our backyard, but we can stand up in solidarity.”

Before voting to have city staff prepare the letter, the council added the item to the agenda at the beginning of Monday’s meeting. Agenda items typically need to be finalized before the meetings to properly notify the public, but council members were able to add the letter to the agenda as an emergency item.

The letter would urge the sheriff’s department to treat everyone the same regardless of race or ethnicity, remove remnants of a bunker mentality among police that can inhibit meaningful reforms and make sure deputies are prosecuted when necessary.

“We all deserve to live, work and go about our lives without fear,” Deputy Mayor Terry Gaasterland said.