June 10, 2020 Dena Jensen
I sent an email to Bellingham Police Chief David Doll and Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo, on Monday, 6/8/20, and received Chief Doll’s reply (pictured in the graphic) yesterday. I have received no response from Sheriff Elfo at this time.
I had also written the Bellingham City Council Members and Mayor Fleetwood, requesting responses from each of them and have, so far, only received replies from Council Members Hollie Huthman and Pinky Vargas, letting me know that they had made statements at Monday’s City Council meeting related to my inquiries, and Council Member Huthman had made a post on her Council Member Facebook page stating her opposition to having armed people gathering downtown. Here’s a link to that post: https://www.facebook.com/citycouncilorhollie/photos/a.891739011218224/1203024353423020/
Council Member Vargas let me know that she was hopeful that due to changes in Governor Inslee’s proclamation, community members will be allowed to start make public comments again during the next virtual Bellingham City Council meeting on June 22.
Overall, I am still not feeling there is much in the way of specific answers coming out to my question of what Council Members and law enforcement leaders are going to do right now to make it so that members of the Black community do not feel unsafe from threats of white nationalist groups, white supremacist groups, and/or other groups or individuals in the community who are, in some cases, visibly armed.
Just because members of the 3 Percenters are not supposedly patrolling the area right now, doesn’t mean they won’t be back, and they are not, by far, the only threatening group in the area, including white nationalist and/or white supremacist groups Patriot Front, Proud Boys, and other groups who frequent and send out communications in our area. No one has even recently indicated if any of these groups are under investigation for their activities in our County.
So I urge folks to keep contacting officials until we see more defined ongoing actions!
Here was my letter to Chief Doll and Sheriff Elfo:
To: Doll, David G. <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com; Satpal Sidhu <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Support for a call to action
Dear Chief Doll and Sheriff Elfo:
I am answering a call for action from one of our Black community members.
I am asking: what are you going to do right now to make it so that they do not feel unsafe from threats of white nationalist groups, white supremacist groups, and/or other groups or individuals in the community who are, in some cases, visibly armed.
I have been disappointed that I have not heard or seen communications from any Bellingham City Council Members, Whatcom County Council Members, and law enforcement officials to direct members of our community to not openly carry weapons around in spaces where people will be feeling intimidated and threatened by them, especially in places where groups of people may be likely to congregate, like rallies, protests, or in high traffic areas like downtown Bellingham. Recently our County Health Department managed to issue a protective directive regarding COVID-19. Likewise, I look for protective directives to be issued by you during this time of exceptional threats being presented for Black community members and other people of color.
There are people who have been suffering here in Whatcom County for a long time, waiting for you to take action, so I look for your actions to be expedited.
I am requesting an answer to my question from each of you and express my gratitude for your responses in advance.
Birch Bay, WA
Bellingham Mayor and City Council addresses: