Armed Consumer Affairs Cops Raid Stockton Salon

“Did anyone know the California Department of Consumer Affairs has its own armed police force?” wonders Katy Grimes of the California Globe. Vicki Kirk and Dino Ballin, owners of the Pomp Hair Salon in Stockton, found out the hard way. 

They were raided by “armed, body armor-wearing cops from the Department of Consumer Affairs, for being open and ignoring Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide small business shutdown.” The salon had strict safety protocols in place but the black-clad cops burst in “like a drug raid.” 

The targeting of such vulnerable small businesses prompted Grimes to wonder: “Is there more danger getting a haircut from a salon following health and safety protocols, or going to Walmart, Target or Costco? Is there more danger getting a haircut from a salon following health and safety protocols, or sitting on a Boeing 737 for five hours, packed in with strangers like sardines?” 

Dino Ballin told Grimes, “There’s these people in authority who are setting these restrictions for our citizens who are not following it themselves,” a possible reference to Gov. Newsom’s recent bash at the upscale French Laundry, with more than 20 in attendance and not a mask in sight. The issue in play here is more serious than hypocrisy. 

The California Department of Consumer Affairs does have its own armed police force. These cops show up at a business whose owners are trying to earn a living in difficult conditions. Ballin intends to remain open and keep the salon’s 43 staffers employed. If other embattled business owners start pushing back, it would be hard to blame them. “We just want to open and work,” Ballon explained. “We just want our rights.” And as Kirk added, “We just want to keep our homes. We just want to feed our families.”

Meanwhile, the increasing militancy of bureaucracies is not only a state problem. As we noted in 2012, the U.S. Department of Education has an enforcement division that deploys Remington Model 870 shotguns allegedly to combat “waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs and operations.” 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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