SF police violence

alec ramsdell a_ramsdell at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 23 08:57:30 PDT 1998

The same issues of public space at stake in the Food Not Bombs demonstration can be read at the section of Golden Gate Park bordering the Haight-Ashbery area. This area has been fenced off too, and is undergoing what looks like some new, most likely made-to-order homeless-unfriendly landscape architecture work (BTW, like LA's famous barrel-shaped bus-stop benches, SF bus-stops are uncomfortable to sit on and impossible to sleep on) . This had been another "encampment zone", like the United Nations Plaza area in question below.

As far as police violence goes, in the Coalition on Homelessness' July paper _Street Sheet_ reports: "In November 1997, Mayor Willie Brown ordered a crackdown on homeless people staying in and around Golden Gate Park. Mayor Brown declared a state of crisis, claiming that the park was becoming overrun with overnight campers. He increased the number of police in the park, sent crews in to 'eliminate every single encampment', and even wanted to use helicopters with heat-seeking equipment to locate campsites for quicker elimination. A series of anti-homeless news stories and exaggerated yellow journalism sparked by Ken Garcia's rants seemed to whip the Mayor into this frenzy.

Throughout the Mayor's crackdown, Recreation and Park Department ("Rec and Park") and Department of Public Works crews regularly swept homelss people and their property out of the park. As a result, the City destroyed medication, clothing, eyeglasses, leg braces, and blankets, as well as irreplaceable sentimental items such as family photos."

Bonus Track:

As the Bay Gaurdian report notes, homeless advocates say the homeless population in SF is over 10,000, with 1,750 beds in SF shelters. Plus! As _Street Sheet_ reports, the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concludes: "Nationally there are 1.7 poor renter households for each affordable rental unit but the ratio for seven metro areas from California is double that of the nation. In California there were 913,000 low-income renters but only 264,000 low-cost units, a gap of 649,000 affordable units. California has 3.4 poor households for every low-cost unit in those communities."


Doug Henwood posted-
>(For election fraud subcribers, I send this report
>about the police attack on Food Not Bombs along to
>advise you about what you can expect if *you* were
>to attempt to organize a serious public demonstration
>against the theft of our elections and tax dollars
>in San Francisco.
>If you think I am exagerating, take
>a look at this unusual SFPD mobilization that
>occured June 21, 1997 when a member of the
>Committee to Stop the Giveway was speaking
>speaking outside the Mayor's Conference
>about the details of the 49er stadium fraud.
>Unpopular opinions and facts in SF are first marginalized,
>then brutalized.)
>==================Please repost======================
> Officially-sanctioned political violence
> continues in San Francisco
> Local media looks the other way
>July 22, 1998
>The Bay Guardian, as is becoming increasingly common,
>is writing its stories without including the pertinent
>The following is what was NOT included in the Guardian's
>"report" on the SFPD attack on Food Not Bombs. For context, I
>attended the Food Not Bombs dinner (part of their national
>convention) a few days before this event occured. It would be
>hard to imagine a more peaceful, good willed group of people.
>Their crime: gathering donated food and giving it to the hungry.
>The descriptions of the tactics used, dangerous neck holds,
>compliance holds used to inflict excessive pain and injury etc.
>are consistenct with our documentation of how the SFPD attacked
>Critical Mass riders last July.
>The people doing this are not professional police officers.
>They're thugs in uniforms and they're specifically put
>in a position to do harm because Willie Brown does not like
>the political opinion of the people being attacked. The local
>media, including the so called "alternative" papers, go along with
>the cover up of the facts by marginalizing the victims of the
>violence and not giving these groups the opportunity to explain
>themselves and their work.
>Officially-sanctioned violence, election fraud, financial
>fraud, and official media compliance *always* go hand in hand.
>You don't need to go to Indonesia or Nigeria or El
>Salvador to see these phenomena at work.
>Ken McCarthy
>Information supplied by a subscriber
>The missing information:
> A total of 40 police vans and cars drove into and surrounded the UN
>Plaza area. Approximately 70 to 80 San Francisco City Police and US
>Federal Police, many of them in riot gear, arrived to arrest the
>demonstrators. At least one helicopter, which appeared to be a police
>aircraft, flew over the UN Plaza area during the demonstration. The
>threaten many of the peaceful protesters and swung their battons at
>One police officer with a batton struck a disabled, wheelchair-bound
>activist and quickly swung again, but missed and hit a barricade with
>such force that it shattered the batton into at least two pieces. The
>police arrested all of the protesters that sat on the grass and even
>violently pulled an activist out of a tree. Several demonstrators
>suffered cuts and bruises from the brutal police action. One woman had
>neck twisted by the police during her arrest, and FNB-San Francisco
>activist Jeff Larson was sat upon by at least four police officers and
>repeatedly subjected to numerous twists of his wrists, arms and legs.
>Jeff was subjected to " pain compliance holds " even when he was
>completely cooperating with the arresting police officers.
> A total of 28 FNB and homeless activists were taken into police
>within 90 minutes of the arrival of the police. Even before all of the
>arrests were completed, DPW workers were brought in to reposition the
>barricades and secure all of the grassy areas in UN Plaza. The
>were charged with failure to leave the scene of a riot and with
>a police officer. Most of the protesters were released within 9 hours
>their arrest and are scheduled to appear in San Francisco Municipal
>on 31 August 1998.
>==================Please repost======================
>It's time to overturn San Francisco's fraudulent stadium election
>Copy of petition: Dougcoms at aol.com
>Web info: http://www.e-media.com/stadium/petition.html

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