San Francisco police aren't likely to get a lot of help in identifying some rowdy demonstrators who allegedly attacked them with wooden shields and vandalized a police van on Pride Sunday in the Mission. The incident took place during an LGBTQ protest the sole aim of which was to call for defunding the police, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
KQED covered the events of last Sunday, when a scheduled Pride Is a Riot rally at Dolores Park inevitably turned into a march to the SFPD's Mission Station. They describe a tense standoff that occurred when a police van tried to prevent marchers from turning down Valencia Street from 18th Street.
That lone police van and roughly a half dozen police officers formed a line to try and stop hundreds of marchers from heading up Valencia.
Protesters shouted “quit your job!” and “you’re killing black people.” The officers then tried to leave and inch forward, but could not exit the crowd, which surrounded them. Pride marchers spray painted the van. Officers exited the van again, as demonstrators kicked the van and hit it with their fists. Officers rushed towards them with batons raised and pushed members of the crowd away.
One officer was reportedly sprayed in the face with red spray paint, and the SFPD says the van sustained some damage.
The marchers then continued on toward the Castro via Market Street, and the event ended with a dance party there — this was Pride Sunday, after all.
Now the Chronicle is covering the incident without any mention that these were LGBTQ protesters and people of color protesting the police — only telling the cops' side of the story, which is that they were hit with signs and wooden shields, a protester tried to take one of their batons, and one of their tires was punctured.
In a statement, Police Chief Bill Scott says, "San Francisco has for years been a world-renowned voice for peaceful, progressive change. It has never been a City that tolerates violence against members of their police department, and it isn’t now. I’m asking that anyone in the community with information regarding this incident to come forward and work with investigators."
KQED's report notes that officers raised their batons at the protesters, and were trying to prevent their peaceful protest from going toward the police station — which Chief Scott does not acknowledge.
Last year saw Chief Scott apologizing to the trans community in a historic statement, acknowledging the SFPD's role in the Compton's Cafeteria Riot in 1966.
And last year the SFPD also arrested around a dozen protesters who halted the annual Pride Parade down Market Street who were, ironically, protesting the presence of police and corporations in LGBTQ Pride celebrations. Charges ended up being filed against two of the protesters, and the SF Pride Board subsequently asked the police department to drop those charges.
It took until March of this year, but new District Attorney Chesa Boudin did indeed drop the charges.
Official San Francisco Pride celebrations were called off this year in favor of a virtual celebration, however a large march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter proceeded peacefully nonetheless down Polk Street, led by Juanita More and other activists.
The unaffiliated, decentralized Pride Is a Riot event at Dolores was billed as a protest both against the business-as-usual Pride and against police in general. "Corporate Pride erases queer and trans BIPOC," the anonymous organizers told SF Weekly last week. "This event is meant to celebrate those BIPOC ancestors to whom we owe so much, in a way that permitted, corporate sponsored pride could never do."
Photo: Lee Hepner/Twitter