Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Violence mars
San Francisco Pride weekend

NEWS


s.hemmelgarn@ebar.com

Protesters upset with a prison-themed Pride dance party gathered outside the Armory Saturday night. Photo: Rick Gerharter
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There were at least two anti-gay attacks and several other violent incidents during Pride weekend, although it's not clear if several of the crimes were directly related to the party and celebration.

One of the incidents occurred Saturday night, June 28, during the Pink Saturday street festival in the Castro neighborhood, which was attended by thousands of people and organized by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Sister Maryin A Mann, 43, who asked that his real name not be published, and his husband, Frank Capley-Alfano, 38, said they were attacked at about 9:30 p.m. near 18th and Castro streets, an intersection packed with people.

Attendees of Pink Saturday in the Castro had their bags checked and metal detectors passed over them prior to entry. Photo: Pete Thoshinsky

Mann said the crowd seemed "tense" and as they walked through, they heard the words "cocksucker" and "bitch" coming in their direction.

He said a white man with a "long ponytail" was "strutting back and forth gesturing at people." Mann said he "wanted to try to dispel" some of the "hostility," and he introduced himself to another man using his sister name.

The man said, "I'm not gay. Get the fuck away from me,'" said the sister, who tried to explain the nature of the event to the man. But the man told him, "I said get the fuck away from me."

Mann said he tried to call police but his phone was knocked out of his hand, and  "there were no police" in sight.

He then felt blows against his head, jaw, neck, and shoulder.

The sister, who was in full garb that night, said that as he was attacked "there were all sorts of people saying things, people rooting them on," but he didn't remember what specifically was said. "My veil got knocked over my head," he said, and he had trouble seeing and hearing what was going on.

Capley-Alfano said there had been "about seven to 10 people," who he described as "young, thug kids" with "the worst look on their faces of disgust" when they were walking through the crowd.

He said he "got pulled away" from his husband and "the next thing I know I was on the ground being kicked in the head for quite some time." He said he was also dragged, punched, and "thrown around."

Capley-Alfano, whose injuries included scabbed knees and pain in his jaw, said the word "faggots" was used before and during the attack. He said, "I remember some people cheering it on," but there were "a few people saying 'Stop, stop.'"

After the attackers "took off," he said, a woman "sucker punched me." When he asked her why, he said she continued hitting him and pulling him around. He got the woman into a headlock.

There had been "no police around whatsoever," said Capley-Alfano, but when police arrived, he said he was detained while the attacker was released. The police indicated to him that they'd asked the woman if she wanted to press charges against him, and she declined, he said.

Like Mann, Capley-Alfano could provide only vague descriptions of the others. He said the attack involved a "mixed group" that included one African American man in a green tracksuit, while the rest were "pretty much" light-skinned Hispanic people. Two, who had "the same long ponytail," appeared to be brothers.

Mann and his husband were treated near the scene. The sister said he's experienced soreness since the incident and his eye has been "a little puffy."

The couple plans to file a complaint with the Office of Citizen Complaints, said Mann. He said the sergeant who'd detained Capley-Alfano had refused to give her name.

Captain Dan Perea of Mission police station, which oversees the Castro, "assured me" he and other police officials "were aware of the situation," said Mann. Perea was on vacation Tuesday, July 1, when the Bay Area Reporter called, and the acting captain wasn't available for comment.

Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said officers have "attempted to verify" Capley-Alfano's statement that police had let the suspect go but there's "no way to verify that occurred through our Mission command."

Another incident, which police called a "possible hate crime," occurred earlier Saturday at 5:33 p.m. at Ninth and Mission streets, as people in the neighborhood headed toward the Pink Saturday celebration.

Esparza said in a summary that two women, 27 and 24, were walking south on Ninth when six men approached them. The men punched the victims, and the younger woman "was kicked and punched several times." Esparza said one suspect "made derogatory comments" to the women, and the suspects fled the scene. In a phone interview, Esparza said the remarks had been anti-gay.

The 27-year-old suffered a broken left wrist and the other woman had an abrasion on her head. They were treated at San Francisco General Hospital.

The volunteer group Castro Community on Patrol encouraged witnesses to the incident involving Mann and his husband to contact Mission police station at (415) 558-5400. The station's email address is sfpdmissionstation@sfgov.org

 

Kink party protest turns ugly

Also Saturday night, a prison-themed party drew protesters to porn company Kink.com's Armory building at 1800 Mission Street. The protesters felt the party glorified being imprisoned amid high rates of incarceration within minority communities.

Kink.com spokesman Michael Stabile said several people threw rotten fruits and vegetables at security guards and people entering the party. Among other problems, one security guard was punched twice in the stomach, said Stabile, who didn't witness the incidents. People with Kink called 911. According to Esparza, three people were arrested and three others were cited.

Erin McElroy wrote on 48Hills.com that "As far as I saw, the protest was peaceful, and no one was hurt," but "Several protesters were clubbed and beaten to the ground."

In a news release after the incident, the group Gay Shame said that Kink had "ordered a brutal police attack against trans and queer activists, many of whom are people of color." The group urged people to call the District Attorney's office and demand that charges against the three who'd been arrested be dropped.

DA spokesman Alex Bastian said Tuesday that he didn't know how many people had called, but formal charges against the three people who'd been arrested wouldn't be filed "pending further investigation."

 

Market Street shootings

This weekend's incidents also included shootings that occurred fairly close to the Pride festival area but after the party had concluded each day.

The first incident occurred at 7:08 p.m. Saturday at Mason and Market streets, according to police. A suspect, described only as a black man in his 20s, shot a 19-year-old man in the hip.

Then, at 7:29 p.m. Sunday, June 29 at Golden Gate Avenue and Market, a 22-year-old woman was shot in the wrist near the Warfield Theatre at 982 Market, said police. Arriving officers took a boy, 16, and two men, 19 and 20, into custody.

Both victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Suspects Robert Smith and Kawme Williams were expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon on felony charges of attempted murder, assault with a firearm, and negligent discharge of a firearm, among other counts. It wasn't clear whether they were being charged in connection with both of Sunday's incidents. Bay City News reported that Smith is 20 and from Hayward, and Williams is 18 and from Oakland.

In an email Tuesday, Esparza said that, over the weekend, there had been 70 public intoxication arrests, 15 felony arrests, 11 misdemeanor arrests, and three guns seized.

Concerns about security at Pride were highlighted in May when Trevor Gardner, who was shot at last year's festival, filed a lawsuit against the city's LGBT Pride Celebration Committee in San Francisco Superior Court, claiming organizers neglected to provide adequate security.

The Pride Committee's response was filed Thursday, June 26. Among other defenses included in the court filing, the organization claims Gardner had failed "to use diligent care." The documents also say the shooting "should have been prevented" by the city, "who had security responsibilities for the patrons of the event where the incident occurred."

Gabriel Zitrin, a spokesman for the City Attorney's office, declined to comment.

Police Lieutenant Toney Chaplin, who was supervising a platoon at Pride Saturday, said, "The staffing is a whole lot better than last year." With three times the number of officers present, "We have it staffed pretty nicely for once," said Chaplin.

 

Car crashes into Cliff's

At the very end of the weekend, a car crashed into the front of Cliff's Variety at 479 Castro Street.

"Nothing says Monday like that 4:30 a.m. phone call that a Mercedes has parked in the front window of the annex!" Terry Asten Bennett, whose family owns Cliff's, wrote in a June 30 Facebook post.

Esparza said, "There was some blood left behind" but the driver fled and nobody had been arrested as of Tuesday.

In a Facebook exchange with the B.A.R. , Bennett said, "The front windows were pushed about three inches back," and the "entire window structure has to be rebuilt," among other repairs.

On her page, she said, "It is a miracle that no one was asleep in our doorway."

People with information in any of the weekend incidents may call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to 847411 and type SFPD, then the message.

Pete Thoshinsky contributed to this report.

 

 

 






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