The predictable onslaught of illegal Mission District fireworks displays on July 4th turned into a hour-long melee between police and various skateboarders and sideshow aficionados, though the scene did not get as violent as last year’s Independence Day hullabaloo.
With apologies to Chinatown and Daly City, one of the biggest epicenters of illegal Bay Area July 4 fireworks displays is San Francisco's Mission District. Last year’s revelry brought hostile confrontations with police, plus there was a mass shooting in the Mission District just three and a half weeks ago, so law enforcement presence in the neighborhood was stepped up. And apparently the boys in blue busted out riot gear for the occasion, as Mission Local has pictures and video of a July 4 skirmish at 25th and Harrison Streets where police dispersed a rowdy crowd, with most of the heavy conflict coming between midnight and 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.
SFPD has rushed the crowd assembled at 25th & Harrison, aiming rubber ball rifles at the crowd, which quickly dispersed— Joe Rivano Barros (@jrivanob) July 5, 2023
The corner has for years hosted July 4th fireworks
SFPD for hours had a strong presence on 24th Street for the night & suited up in riot gear at midnight pic.twitter.com/D6kGQV9kWi
Per Mission Local, there were “sizable crowds” at 25th and Harrison Streets, “lighting fireworks and holding sideshows.” That outlet details that there was a fight between two women which was quickly broken up, and some sort of boxing match between two shirtless men with boxing gloves. Mission Local describes the gathering as “rowdy but largely peaceful before the police intervention,” though police may define “largely peaceful” a little differently. And reportedly just before midnight, police declared the gathering to be an unlawful assembly.
“I am Captain Harvey, a police officer of San Francisco,”one officer, presumably Mission District station Captain Thomas Harvey, is quoted shouting on a police siren “I hereby declare this an unlawful assembly.”
After about an hour, the bulk of the officers left in at least 14 SFPD SUVs and vans— Joe Rivano Barros (@jrivanob) July 5, 2023
Each car was packed full with officers pic.twitter.com/4e8LRnzZ6E
The open-container crowd continued to shoot off cherry bombs and fireworks, but a phalanx of officers did manage to disperse the crowd block-by-block. You’ll notice they had riot helmets and batons, and one attendee told Mission Local he suffered an injury when he got “a baton in the back of my knee.” Though we do not currently have any reports of arrests or serious injury.
By 1 a.m., police had managed to clear most of the crowds.
July 4th #SFFD STATS:— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA (@SFFDPIO) July 5, 2022
247 fire calls
67 outside fires
68 odor of smoke
82 wildland fires
2 investigations of smoke calls
2 structure fire responses
16 miscellaneous calls
1 cliff rescue
1 Bay Rescue
263 medical calls
29 behavioral emergency calls
49 alarms pic.twitter.com/dYOa2xAXlE
The above numbers are from last year’s July 4, we have not seen SF Fire incident numbers posted yet for this year's Fourth. (Though we do know there was one coastal rescue early Tuesday evening.) But considering last year’s Mission District July 4 chaos saw fires lit in the the street and SFPD claims that “12 officers were injured,” this year’s proceedings appear to be less violent than the late-night Mission District Independence Day confrontations from 2022.
Image: @SFFDPIO via Twitter