A group made up of locals got together and organized a peaceful protest in Orland last week in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We’ve seen what was going on and the nasty and disgusting comments that were being said,” said Victoria Lanzarin, one of the organizers of the march. “... So I texted (some friends) and asked if they wanted to get together.”
She said once they started, others started showing interest in joining the march that took place on Thursday, June 4.
Once the interest grew, Lanzarin said she contacted city officials to make sure everything was going to be safe and stay peaceful – about 50 people participated.
“(We wanted) to make it known that people support Black Lives Matter in our town,” Lanzarin said. “... There were plenty of people honking and showing support.”
She said the Orland Police Department and other community members even provided water to the marchers.
“It was amazing to see the community come together,” Lanzarin said. “... It’s not just about Orland, it’s about our whole country.”
Orland Police Chief Joe Vlach said the department was able to coordinate with the organizers about the route and California Highway Patrol – since part of the protest went along Highway 32 – about safety considerations, including staying on the sidewalk as much as possible and making sure people were staying hydrated.
He said they had extra units along with assistance from other agencies to help keep the peace.
Vlach said some of the officers even went ahead of the march and handed out bottles of water.
“They were able to get their voice out … (Thursday) was a perfect example of the First Amendment in action,” Vlach said. “Not only in terms of free speech but the ability for people to peaceably assemble.”
Protests have been taking place around the world in response to the death of George Floyd, the African American man who was killed by Minneapolis police.
Vlach said California has a robust training and education that’s required for police officers and the state tends to constantly review, revise and stay up to date on issues such as the use of force.
He gave the example of Assembly Bill 392, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last year, that changed the language for allowing lethal force from when it is “reasonable” to when it is “necessary,” according to Glenn County Transcript archives.
Last week, Newsom ordered state’s police training program to stop teaching officers how to use a neck hold that blocks blood flow to the brain.
“The whole thing is a huge conversation,” Vlach said. “The bottom line is someone died while they were under police care and control and watching (the video) personally made me sick to my stomach, I was disgusted, it was extremely hard to watch. There were so many opportunities to change the outcome that were missed and ultimately, it ended in a man’s death.”
He said the local department also looks to make sure they have proper policies in place so that “a tragic death doesn’t happen.”