After a vocal critic of DA Brooke Jenkins was disinvited at the last minute from speaking at a Wednesday City Hall vigil to honor Tyre Nichols, the apparent stage-management attempt went wrong, and spurned activists shouted Breed down.
This past weekend saw multiple Bay Area protests after the release of the video of the beating and killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. And as Nichols’s funeral was held today in Memphis, emotions continue to run raw. So here in San Francisco, the vigil/rally event Kneeling for Tyre was scheduled for Wednesday morning on the steps of City Hall. Mayor London Breed was among the scheduled speakers at this anti-police brutality demonstration, which is something of a tightrope walk for her, considering that she tends to side with the police on most controversial matters.
Several people gather at San Francisco City Hall to pay respects for and take a knee in solidarity with family of Tyre Nichols as his funeral is underway in Memphis. pic.twitter.com/iek6AtOWZj— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) February 1, 2023
Also scheduled to speak, originally at least, was April Green, the aunt of SFPD shooting victim Keita O’Neil. The officer who shot O’Neil in 2017 is heading to trial in the first prosecution of an SFPD officer for an on-duty killing, and O’Neil’s aunt Green was a vocal supporter of Chesa Boudin (who decided to bring charges), and conversely, she’s been a vocal critic of new DA Brooke Jenkins, whom Breed appointed after Boudin’s recall.
Development in #TyreNichols event in San Francisco today at City Hall...— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) February 1, 2023
April Green, aunt of Keita O'Neill, a man fatally shot by an SFPD rookie, was disinvited from speaking there today.
Why? She planned to critique DA Jenkins handling of the case, and had supported DA Boudin. pic.twitter.com/FA2vFRdISO
But as we see above from KQED’s Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, April Green had her invite to speak yanked at the last minute. Per text messages seen above that KQED obtained, the event’s organizer Phelisha Jones texted Green saying, “First of all you are pro chesa and you and I have gone back and forth on this.” That exchange went south, with Jones later texting, “This platform is not for you. I cannot allow you to speak at my event.”
At a Tyre Nichols event held today at San Francisco City Hall, 'Pro-Chesa' speakers were screened out.— Mission Local (@MLNow) February 1, 2023
One showed up anyway, disrupted the proceedings, and heckled Mayor London Breed off the podium.
Form @miss_elenius https://t.co/ZupGhgWy4s
This did not make the event run more smoothly! Quite the opposite. Green showed up anyway, and as the SF Standard explains, “Protesters heckled Mayor London Breed until she abruptly left the podium before completing her speech.” Mission Local’s reporting on the matter notes that “Green today burst into the proceedings on the steps of City Hall while Mayor London Breed was speaking,” and that “Breed immediately stopped speaking and stepped back after the interruption. The event organizer, Jones, tried and failed to regain control. Eventually, the DJ began blasting the reggae tune ‘Solidarity’ to drown out the discord.”
Green was getting some press attention, and according to Mission Local, Jones was shouting “Don’t take pictures of her! Don’t take pictures of her!” at reporters. Apparently things calmed, as Mission Local adds that “Eventually, the protesters quieted down and the regularly scheduled programming continued.”
But for Mayor Breed, this is one public photo-op that was hardly picture perfect.
Image: Feline Finesse Dance Company via Facebook