At last Thursday’s meeting of the DTSM Inc. Board Meeting, they announced that the contract with Covered 6 to provide additional private armed security patrols, with one member lethally armed at all times, to the 3rd Street Promenade area had been canceled by the provider. What followed was a series of vague news articles that danced around the issue of why the contract was called off and an angry Councilmember Phil Brock blaming “canceled [sic] culture” for Covered 6’s retreat.
But here’s the reality: the people who failed Santa Monica in this debacle were the decision makers that were supposed to vet the firm, and the media that rolled over for Covered 6’s smiling public relations offensive.
And, yes. I include Next and my own reporting in this failure. Our sole article on the contract focused on the politics surrounding the contracts approval and questioned whether it made sense to bring private armed security to address a “perception” that the area was unsafe rather than examining Covered 6 in any depth. Other outlets provided even less scrutiny, with the Daily Press leading the way publishing puff pieces about the company as recently as late September.
Mercifully, this gap was filled by a group of parents in the Las Virgenes Unified School District who researched Covered 6 after the security group was signed by the district to police Agoura Hills High School and other schools. What they discovered was that Covered 6 was co-founded by Bryce Eddy, who is well known for his conservative, homophobic and anti-trans podcast and social media channels (Instagram, Twitter).
You can get a sample for Eddy’s views in this post where he mis-states the facts about the causes of teenage suicide and slanders the transgender and medical communities. While the case is tragic, as is any teen death or suicide, statistics show that the availability of gender affirming care has decreased the cases of teen suicide.
If you go through the entire Twitter thread by a group in the Conejo Valley, the proof of Eddy’s connection to Covered 6 is unassailable. Since the news broke in Las Virgenes about the regressive social views of Covered 6’s leadership, Eddy has quickly moved to scrub pieces of the digital roadmap connecting him to the security company. However, the Internet has a long memory.
To make matters worse, Covered 6’s other co-founder, and current CEO, Chris Dunn repeatedly lied about Eddy’s affiliation with the company to both the school district and DTSM Inc.
From there, someone notified members of the Santa Monica City Council by email last Monday about Bryce Eddy’s reputation and involvement with Covered 6. This letter was placed in the agenda packet in time for the City Council meeting the next day. Someone in Las Virgenes Unified School District area also anonymously notified DTSM Inc. about what they discovered or someone familiar with the contract for Santa Monica noticed what was happening online.
DTSM Inc. contacted Dunn with questions about Eddy’s status with the company. It also asked Covered 6 to explain these contradictions and to issue a statement in response to the concern raised, and that the statement be “unequivocal” in supporting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Dunn lied in his response claiming no affiliation with Eddy. Later the same day, Covered 6 canceled their contract.
In his attempt to gaslight those that raised concerns about Covered 6 in the leadup to the contract being signed between the company and DTSM Inc, Councilmember Brock lamented of Covered 6 in the Lookout, “They really wanted to try a model where they would intercede to prevent crime.” Given the views of their leadership, it’s terrifying to imagine how they would have profiled members of Santa Monica’s public.
Santa Monica is a city at its best when its policies and actions reflect the progressive values of its citizens. Giving license to a security company to carry guns and tasers in the city to monitor one of the city’s largest public attractions was questionable at best. That a company with Covered 6’s leadership ethos was days away from putting armed private guards on our street should be a wakeup call before the same mistakes are made again.