San Luis Obispo protests cost city at least $250,000

Photo by Richard Bastian

By KAREN VELIE

The city of San Luis Obispo tallied some of the taxpayer costs related to a handful of recent protests. Those expenses come to $253,238, and do not include all the costs.

One of the primary goals of the protests is to shift a portion of police department funding to social services. However, officer overtime costs related to five days of protests has exceeded $176,000 at a time the city is facing budget shortfalls related to the coronavirus.

In response to a records request, the city provided partial costs for the five protests that occurred from May 31 through June 5. The costs include officer hours, management hours, barrier material, and food and drinks.

On June 1, protesters blocked traffic on Highway 101, and later engaged in a standoff with officers near the police station. During the protests that followed, officers guarded on-ramps and off-ramps to keep the protesters off Highway 101.

While the number of protests has slowed, protests are continuing, with another protest planned for Thursday at 7:45 p.m.

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