Tensions are running high in our state and across the nation. Anti-vaccine activists suggested gun violence during a state budget meeting on January 14, which prompted government officials to direct employees to stay out of the building. The California State Capitol building’s gallery closed to the public with no confirmed date of reopening. A six-foot fence surrounds the building in defense of potential protests and riots on and leading up to inauguration day.
Many signs point to potential violent activities not only in Sacramento, but in cities across the United States. To date, however, local authorities have no evidence of planned protests or riots in the Bay Area.
Oakland Police Department stated via Twitter (@oaklandpoliceca) on January 15 that it “does not have any information that suggests any planned demonstration occurring in Oakland. We are in constant contact with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners.”
The FBI’s San Francisco Division reported on January 15 it is “not aware of any specific, credible threats to public safety in the Bay Area, but we urge the public to remain vigilant. The FBI has active command posts in all 56 of our field offices to gather intelligence, to assess potential threats, to coordinate investigations, and to surge resources where needed.”
While many people want to head downtown to either celebrate the inauguration or exercise their right to peaceful protest, I advise a safety-first approach: stay home.
As most of the world saw on January 6, anything can happen. Under the current administration, surprises are a daily event.
Protect yourself from injury by avoiding capitol buildings, civic centers, and other common protest sites. As the dust settles and the next administration gets to work, the safer we will be. That’s my hope.
If You Get Injured In a Riot
Should you find yourself caught in the middle of a dangerous event, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if you get injured. If your injuries were caused by the actions of another person—a rioter pushes you to the ground or hits you with their car—you can file a negligence action against that person. You would need to be able to identify that person, however, to file a claim.
Police officers are granted qualified immunity when they are performing their official duties. That means they are protected from civil lawsuits unless you can prove they intentionally violated your rights or didn’t act in good faith.
There is plenty to complain about and be mad about right now. But rather than stay angry about what’s going wrong, let’s all recognize what’s going right. Let’s focus not on what we can say or do to “get back” at someone. Let’s focus on what we can do, today and every day, to make our city, state, country, and ourselves, better than the day before.
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Image: JoanBrown51, Pixabay