First stop was the Ukiah Co-Op. All 21 Patriots grabbed a basket and proceeded to shop. They had a lady ready for us (perhaps because of last time) who followed us to try and give us masks. We politely declined and kept shopping. One shopper had their item literally snatched out of his hand at the register by the store manager. The Co-op opted to restock our items and dump our water rather than check us out. Half of us went outside and stood with signs while the others stood calmly at the register to check out. Then the Co-op supposedly said we were vandalizing and spilling the merchandise without paying (a child opened a bag of chips intended for purchase and the Co-Op employees dumped out water that a customer intended to pay for). The officer was professional and we all spoke to him outside. We were not cited because we did not break any laws. The officer asked us to leave. We stood there with signs (legally) for a bit and moved out of folks way who wished to park/exit.
Below is a video taken by a witness beginning when we attempted to purchase our items and ending shortly before the officer arrived and spoke with us.
Next, we went to Lucky’s grocery store. We received no resistance from them and even saw a few folks take off their mask inside. We purchased our items and left. Good stuff!
The lack of opposition was made up for, however, at Black Oak Coffee. There it seemed we could only pass germs while ordering food and could be in the main area maskless. We got in line and were soon informed by an employee that we would not be served unless we were wearing a mask. Again, we politely said no thank you. He then called the police. We calmly talked with him and the other staff, though they did not reason with us. So we continued to wait in line and few of the other patrons thanked us and took our cards. One other patron did not see our perspective and debated with us. We offered him our sources of information and he said he would look into them and give us his. Another customer was louder with his opposition to us. While talking to him, a Black Oak staff member informed us that they were closing early and we had to leave now. The man we were speaking to began yelling for us to get out. We asked him to stop yelling as we were not yelling. The police were called once again and heard the yelling and asked if it was us. The staff member supposedly told them no, and that it was a different customer. We told the staff that if they were closing and getting everyone out, we would leave. After this, the man was still loudly telling us to leave. The members who engaged with him said they would walk out right after him and did so. The others walked out when with the rest of the customers. The officer responding met us outside, and asked us not to re-enter the building.
Below is a video taken by a witness. The video begins after the staff inform us they are closing and ends as we engage the officers outside.
Our last stop was Friedman’s because one of our members reported unjust treatment by them earlier that day. Similarly to the last time we were there, the staff called management to inform them that we were there. They once again attempted to escort us around, though we split into many different groups. All was pleasant. They checked out our items and we went outside to recap. One of our members received a call at this time from the store manager we met last time. He explained that he has been advocating our case to his district management and pleaded with them to be reasonable with the customers. He told us that he drove around Ukiah and saw that not every store was being as strict and brought this to their attention as well. At the end of the conversation, he said he is continuing to negotiate with his bosses and we can shop there with an escort for now. We appreciate his help and hopefully he is successful in restoring our liberties there.
All in all, it was a good outing! We handed out tons of cards and made more connections. One of our new members described the experience as “energizing and empowering”. We will continue making connections in the community and hope to inspire the locals to stand up for their freedoms. We are not there to harass people, we are simply there to shop with our friends just like we would have three years prior without incident. I encourage everyone to come to the next one and stay tuned, we have other events in the making! Stay free Mendo!