August 27, 2021

Re: Public Safety, Masks and Vaccination, and Extremism in the SDPD

We are seeing many disturbing signs from the San Diego Police Department.  The extremist social posts continue, suggesting that masks and vaccination are some form of oppression.  That would be bad enough, but we are also told this isn’t just an online problem.  We hear of officers wearing paper bags on their heads in the office.  We hear of officers, even Sergeants, sent home for refusing to wear masks.  The number of complaints against officers that are sustained even by the SDPD’s own Internal Affairs unit are skyrocketing.  The Chief and the Mayor aren’t being honest with the public about just how bad things are getting.

Let’s be clear:

  • It is the order of the City and the County for all persons to wear a mask when indoors or in the company of others.  Officers being asked to wear masks are not being singled out in any way.
  • People have the right not to get vaccinated or wear a mask, but they do not have a right to employment with the City.  If they are fired for disobeying policy, their rights have not been violated.
  • Refusing to follow legal orders is insubordination.  The police force cannot work if insubordination is permitted, especially from those in leadership roles.
  • Joining a paramilitary force is a free choice.  So is leaving one; freedom is not infringed by the mask mandate any more than freedom is infringed by showing up for work.

We asked the SDPD if they had plans to investigate extremism in their ranks.  They told us they did not.  Insiders tell us the situation at the SDPD is spinning out of control.  This must not be allowed to continue building

It is clear that the situation is not being adequately investigated, much less addressed,  by Chief Nisleit.  It is time for a complete independent review of the San Diego Police Department.  Where is the bold leadership from the Mayor or City Council?  Perhaps the City Attorney could wake up to this disaster in the making, rather than spending her efforts to thwart reform.

In the meantime, there are other avenues for advocates to pursue.  We feel intervention by the Department of Justice, as is currently occurring in Phoenix, is warranted in San Diego.  We will be seeking no less.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch


If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit

PO Box 152086
San Diego CA 92195

(619) 431-1633 Phone/Text

Celebrating 102 years of civil rights advocacy in San Diego

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