Castro vandalism over SF Pride was work of 'hooligans,' community patrolman says

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Thursday July 23, 2020
Share this Post:
Graffiti filled a Muni bus stop at 18th and Castro streets on Pride Sunday, June 28. Photo: Stuart Goldstein
Graffiti filled a Muni bus stop at 18th and Castro streets on Pride Sunday, June 28. Photo: Stuart Goldstein

A Castro Community on Patrol leader told members of a neighborhood group that the vandalism that occurred over Pride Sunday last month was largely the work of "hooligans."

Greg Carey, chief of patrol for the volunteer CCOP, gave the update before a forum on the future of policing held during a virtual meeting of the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association July 21.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, several neighborhood buildings had their windows smashed or were graffitied as various protest marches merged in the Castro neighborhood that afternoon.

"The Castro was pretty badly damaged by a group of hooligans on Pride Sunday," Carey, whose group often provides security at protest marches, said. "We weren't directly involved with that one but I was monitoring it on the police radio. ... The graffiti was not instigated by the group engaged in the demonstration. At the beginning of the protest in Dolores Park, the police noticed a number of anarchist-type folks who had backpacks and possibly weapons, and as we look at the video we see most of the damage was done by folks using skateboards as weapons, outsiders attaching themselves to the main group probably to discredit the main group."

The main group organizing the Pride is a riot march called "for the liberation of Black, Brown and Indigenous people, and to demonstrate that trans and queer people are in this fight."

When asked to comment by the B.A.R., San Francisco police did not answer whether Carey's characterization was correct, but did state that two incidents "that involved the 'smashing' of windows and appear to be related to the march" were reported that day — one of which was in the Castro.

"[At] approximately 4 p.m. officers were dispatched to a business located on the 200 block of Valencia Street. Suspects smashed the windows of the bank and spray painted 'Black Trans Lives Matter Fuerta' and the letter 'A' inside a circle on the exterior walls," a police statement to the B.A.R. July 23 reads. "At approximately 4:45 p.m., officers responded to an alarm call on the 200 block of Church Street and found the front window of a business had been shattered. These are open cases with no arrests."

'Race is the baby of white supremacy'

The panel discussion afterward featured San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin; Sheryl Evans Davis, the executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission; the Reverend Dant´┐Ż R. Quick of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Vallejo; and Laurel Beeler, a magistrate judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton had originally been scheduled to attend but could not due to the concurrent Board of Supervisors meeting.

The panelists agreed that racial disparities in the criminal justice system could not be solved simply by police reform, but that a culture of white supremacy in housing, education, and other areas of society contributed on the back-end to the issues seen on the front-end, such as police brutality disproportionately used against Black Americans.

"Black children are the least likely to be born healthy. When they are born, they are born with trauma, which is infused throughout their lives. They are developed and systematically trained for that encounter with a police officer from the day they are conceived. To fix policing we have to change the totalizing gaze of white supremacy," Quick said. "We can't start by talking about race. Race is the baby of white supremacy."

Quick said that city councils have to be held accountable for food deserts, school districts have to answer for gaps in achievement between races, and states have to be held accountable for access in equal access to health care.

"These are all crimes against humanity that need to be prosecuted from a civil rights point of view," Quick said.

Quick, who served previously as a legislative representative for the Atlanta Board of Education, said that the U.S. Department of Justice used elementary school test scores to predict how many spaces were needed in U.S. jails.

"We know there's a systematic question at play," he said.

SF DA Chesa Boudin spoke at the virtual EVNA meeting.  

Confusion over 'defund the police'
The panelists also agreed that the rhetoric about defunding the police has confused some observers.

"When I think about defunding the police, this is distinct from a conversation about abolition," Boudin said. "It's the same conversation we as taxpayers have every year about every public agency and service, but it's one we haven't had about the police in decades. Is this the best way to use our money from what we spend on it?"

Boudin said that the vast majority of police calls in San Francisco are not for "violent crime in progress," and that money should be rerouted to community groups who can respond better to specific incidents, such as homeless individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

"We're spreading the police thin and asking them to do all things at once," Boudin said. "We need a wider array of emergency response teams who don't carry guns."

Beeler suggested that police shouldn't be the agency to enforce traffic laws, for example.

"What the heck are police doing with traffic violations. In England, it's like AAA," Beeler said, referring to the automobile association.

Boudin and Quick discussed the case of Sean Monterrosa, who, as the B.A.R. previously reported, was a 22-year-old San Francisco man shot and killed by Vallejo police last month.

The Solano County District Attorney's office has recused itself from the case, and as of press time the state Attorney General's office is only investigating allegations of destruction of evidence, stating in a news release that "absent a conflict of interest ... the Department of Justice does not assume responsibility for local investigations or prosecutions typically handled by the local authorities."

Quick suggested that the recusals may have been part of collusion between the offices, which Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams denied in a statement to the B.A.R. July 22.

"We listened to our community and their concerns for a transparent, conflict-free and independent review of the facts and circumstances," a news release states. "We heard their voices
and recognized how an independent review from someone not involved in Solano County law enforcement might work to ease concerns and restore trust in the system. Since our initial request, we have made repeated requests asking the attorney general to help our community heal, to lead our community through this unique time, and provide the transparency so many have demanded. We stand by that request today."

Editor's note: If you liked this article, help out our freelancers and staff, and keep the B.A.R. going in these tough times. For info, visit our Indiegogo campaign. To donate, simply claim a perk!