When a downtown wine bar's prize-winning parklet was thoroughly vandalized on December 31, security footage indicates SFPD approached the vandal, but then left and allowed him to continue.

When the San Francisco Wine Society opened in January 2021 at the site of the former Hidden Vine, the wine bar became a fast favorite for its very deluxe parklet. The Financial District wine bar was awarded the Best Parklet in the City prize by the SF Chamber of Commerce. Eater SF described the parklet’s full splendor, “dotted with small details, items like a 1983 Hitachi cassette player (soon to be refurbished so guests can select music from a collection of cassettes), old books on music, art, and culture, vintage wallpaper, and framed photos, as well as centerpiece items like four chandeliers and two fireplaces.”

Aaaand that parklet was thoroughly trashed by a vandal the night of December 31. Though it was protected with boards and locks, the vandal was able to cut through them all. The Chronicle reports that police arrived on the scene, but then promptly left, allowing the vandal to complete the damaging deeds.

“I’m speechless at this point,” SF Wine Society owner Danielle Kuzinich told the Chronicle, after reviewing the security footage. “This is ridiculous. No one is doing anything.”

That security footage has not been made public, so we cannot review it. But the Chronicle has seen the footage. “It shows that the officers talked to a firefighter who appeared to motion at the vandal, sitting next to the pile of parklet debris, and then return to his station,” the Chron reports. “Officers then searched the man, looked in the parklet, motioned for him to move on, left the destroyed property strewn around, and drove off. The man quickly returned to the parklet to continue vandalizing it.”

The case is reminiscent of the November robbery of the BASA dispensary, where security footage showed police arriving at the scene during the robbery, but waiting until after the burglars drove away to approach the scene of the crime. And in the ever-escalating battle between SFPD and district attorney Chesa Boudin, this adds more fire to the narrative of “police are slow to arrive, and never do anything” that Boudin’s supporters say is the real scandal of lawlessness in the current state of the city.  

The police union counters that morale is low, the department is under-staffed, and one retired detective tells the Chronicle that officers don't want to stick their necks out for property crimes and risk a fight with a suspect when so few of these crimes get thoroughly prosecuted.

Related: City Investigating SFPD for Lax Response to Dispensary Robberies, Pot Shop Owners Unsatisfied [SFist]

Image: Andrew C. via Yelp