Early Saturday morning, SFPD officers shot and critically injured an assumed homeless man in the Mission District after he allegedly struck one of two on-duty officers. Now, with more eyewitness accounts coming to light, the incident is being called police brutality and what one witness called an "execution in broad daylight."
The Chronicle reported the incident Saturday after two officers were called to respond to a hot prowl burglary around 8:30 a.m. Upon arriving, Officer Robert Rueca, a police spokesman, said that the two unnamed officers approached the suspect — who they later said matched the given description of the suspect — before the alleged assault took place.
❗️News Release Update❗️Hot Prowl Burglary Call Leads to Officer-Involved Shooting: The suspect was transported to the hospital and is being treated for life-threatening injuries. The officer was transported to the hospital and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries. pic.twitter.com/xO6bLYmEir— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) December 7, 2019
Witnesses, like one Lisa Ruth who was managing a nearby local discount shop at the time of the event, reported hearing multiple gunshots. Ruth described that one of the officers on the scene sustained injuries to his neck and nose, saying that some of the injuries looked to be caused by a rope. While the use of cable in the attack is the only speculation, a source who spoke to the Chronicle said that a glass bottle was involved. A neighbor, too, reported that it appeared the homeless man punched one of the two officers before six gunshots were fired by his partner.
However, new eye witness accounts gathered by Mission Local paint an entirely different picture: This wasn't an act of self-defense, they say, but rather an episode of police brutality. The publication’s own Julian Mark was reporting live on the scene when an unnamed onlooker told him that the suspect/victim was "clearly" inebriated and unarmed; he put up his hands in the air, waving them as to not come off as threatening. The victim was then allegedly chased by the two officers... who then sprayed him with pepper spray at the intersection of 23rd and Mission Streets.
Once he was on the ground, the witness told Mark that the victim was gunned down, with somewhere between eight and ten gunshots heard. He said it was “a broad daylight execution.”
The shooting is under investigation by four different city agencies: the SFPD’s Homicide Detail department, the District Attorney's Independent Investigations Bureau, the SF Department of Police Accountability, and the SFPD Internal Affairs Division.
Mission Local reported both the officer and the suspect are being treated for injuries at San Francisco General Hospital. And while the officer's state hasn't yet been made public, the suspect is said to be in critical condition.
The blocks between 22nd and 24th, and the Mission and 23rd intersection were opened later Saturday afternoon, after being previously sealed off to the public. (The second it was opened, protesters flooded the street carrying signs that said "Homeless man shot 3X by police today.")
Anyone with information about this incident should the city’s non-emergency, 24-hour tip line at 415-575-4444, or they may text said information to TIP411. If you do choose to text your tip, be sure to start the message with “SFPD.”
A town hall is slated to happen in the next ten or so days around the event.