Three protesters from the demonstration that turned reportedly violent outside the Armory on Saturday night, stemming from a controversial Pride weekend circuit party with a prison-fetish theme, were released from Sheriff's Department custody early today.
SFist confirmed with the Sheriff's Department that the three were released shortly after 1 a.m. this morning. The District Attorney's Office has decided to dismiss charges against them pending further investigation.
The three arrested were Sarai Robles-Medez, 21, of Oakland, Rebecca Luisa Ruizlichter, 24, of San Francisco, and Prisca Carpenter, 32, of Oakland, as SFPD spokesman Albie Esparza confirmed. Robles-Mendez and Ruizlichter were booked on charges of lynching a prisoner, while Prisca was booked on charges of criminal threats against a life, resisting arrest, and assault with a deadly weapon.
As we earlier reported via anecdotal reports from the scene, the deadly weapon was at the very least a "metal object" that was thrown in the direction of security guards who were working the door of the party near 14th and Julian Streets around 10 p.m. on Saturday. At least one person mentioned seeing a slingshot, but that was not in the police report. A statement from Kink.com said that one of the guards had been punched in the stomach, and they said that rogue protesters had also targeted partygoers nearby, assaulting them and breaking one of their cell phones.
Protesters from Gay Shame, one of the organizers of the demonstration, deny that it was anything but a peaceful protest until cops arrived. Member Lacy Johnson told Mission Local, "There was nothing being thrown, we didn’t even have metal objects." Protesters and a few partygoers have been arguing on this Facebook page both about their objections to the party itself most citing issues with the prison-industrial complex and incarceration rates among LGBT people, and the misunderstanding that this Pride weekend event was endorsed or in any way sponsored by the SF Pride organization, which it was not and to the kind of BDSM and fetish porn that Kink.com produces.
In a release sent out on Sunday, Gay Shame claimed that Kink.com (which was a co-sponsor of the party along with European circuit producers WE and local promoter Audrey Joseph) "order[ed the] brutal police attack against trans and queer activists" on Saturday night, and said "a Kink.com security guard followed the protestors back to 16th street and approximately 30 minutes after the protest ended began targeting people who were casually standing on the sidewalk getting ready to return home."
Another protest supporter makes a spurious claim that "the big dudes who started screaming, throwing barricades around, acting violent, and pretending to be crazy protesters were actually ID'd by a neighbor as Kink employees." Kink obviously denies this, and we should note that the three protesters arrested are all female.
According to Esparza, a couple of the guards, who were employed by the party and not Kink itself, led police from the Armory to 16th and Mission around 11 p.m. in order to identify specific protesters who had assaulted them. Three other protesters who were arrested Saturday night were released early Sunday morning.
Meanwhile the party itself was a very typical circuit party, with large projections, expensive drinks, shirtless men, and loud house music, with a couple of platforms surrounded by fake prison bars that attendees could get inside and dance, or be photographed in. There was in fact no access to the Kink.com Armory or its fetish-themed porn sets unless you had purchased a VIP ticket, and Kink was only a one-third partner in the event. It was the first time that a big Pride Weekend event had taken place in the Armory's vast Drill Court space.
Protesters, many of whom remain highly engaged about the gross inappropriateness of the party's theme, and about faults with the criminal justice system in general, were planning another demonstration tonight, July 2, at 6 p.m. at the 16th Street BART Station, though it's unclear via Facebook whether that will still be taking place. It would likely have lead to a march over to the Armory as well, since Kink is bearing the brunt of the blame for all of this. As you can see from the flyer below, there was already a call to "Free the Gay Shame Three."
Meanwhile, as a Facebook fan was quick to point out, there's a prison- / Orange Is The New Black-themed party for lesbians now happening at Beatbox later this month. Cue the next protest.