There are things you realize, and then you want to unknow them.
Why would there be a "usual policy", in Oakland, of never interfering in a fight but just cleaning up afterwards? Why would someone say that
Because people get put in jail for getting involved in fights, or even being near them. And that risk can be very high depending on what they look like (including, apparently, what they're wearing or what tattoos they have). There's the communal irresponsibility problem we're probably all familiar with, where everyone thinks someone else will step up--and then there's the exacerbation of that problem by police violence.
Maybe I'll say more about this on Tuesday, when I'm going to show community support for this girl (a friend of friends) who might get 10 years of prison. But, this is really, really bad.
Roommate points out that of course there are other fears and reasons not to want to get involved in fights--like if they might be gang motivated, and you live there. But also that the Oakland police department is very dysfunctional.
Stuff is complicated. Also scary.