"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Infamous day for the SFPD, arresting a 9 year old boy & followed by brutality.


Yesterday (March 21, 2009), I attended the action organized by the ANSWER Coalition in SF against the 6 year-old occupation of Iraq, what started as a day with some drizzle, turned out to be beautiful weather for a peaceful demonstration / rally at Civic Center Plaza.

It was peaceful in spite of a couple of dozens pro-Iraq occupation counter-protesters, waving Israeli flags, and the usual verbal exchanges between the two sides across a cops-lined Polk street.

I started hearing that the cops were arresting a young boy behind the stage, I was located to the left of the stage as you face it and saw that there was a commotion to my right and saw cops and ANSWER Security volunteers moving toward the side where I was, the group marched and continued to an area to the left of my location, I started to shot video with my cell camcorder as I moved toward the area where they had stopped.

As you will see in the video, the group was calm, I started to hear that the cops had decided not to arrest the boy after all, while I have not confirmed that this is what happened, this was indeed the info that was circulating among the people around me.

One of the cops in the back of the group, relative to my location, can be seen given instruction to the other officers, then he moves in to where the boy and what I assume was his mother, were starting to leave walking in my direction, the cop intercepted the boy and started to push him to the back and right, members of the group started to yell in protest of the cop's action, what happened next was chaotic, to put it mildly, the other officers charged the group, pushing them as other cops converged in a flash, pushing, shoving and clubbing people in what appeared to me to be in a undiscriminated and unwarranted fashion.

As a eyewitness to these events, in my opinion, the police over-reacted and their actions were totally disproportionate to the situation, they inflamed an, albeit emotionally charged, peaceful conditions, into a melee where police abuse of force can be seen.

SF Cop moves in to arrest 9 year old boy

In this clip (1 of 4), a Cop moves in to arrest 9 year old boy - 032109 SF Anti Irak Occupation March & Rally

This is one of the clips I shot with my cell camcorder during the protest in SF against the 6th year occupation of Irak, some of it was done with my hand over the head trying to aim by feel, sorry if I miss the heads of participants in some scenes but by chance I got some of
the action.

As a witness, in my opinion, the cops' actions were unprovoked and disproportionate to the situation, they over-reacted, although to call it over- react may not be the correct term to use, a more accurate description would be to say 'they acted'

On this clip, you can clearly see how all was relatively calm, as the video rolls, there was a small cluster of people and cops on the street, the young boy they wanted to arrest, his mother? when the young woman, the boy and a young man started to walk away because I believe the decision was made not to arrest the boy, a cop on their right moved in to stop them and push the boy back, from then on, as you know, was very chaotic, anyway, this is the clip that captured some of that action.

UPDATE: This video taken by Meklorka of same scenes but clearer.

- Here is a completely unedited video of the very beginnings of this confrontation, which clearly shows the police attacking the crowd without provocation.

The situation began when it was announced from the stage that the police were trying to arrest a nine year old Palestinian boy for reasons they would not divulge. A crowd of people rushed over to video tape and witness what was going on.

UPDATE: This video taken by herbnotbombs is more complete in that it shows the very beginning, it also includes the scenes of the other two videos above.

- The video start after the police have plucked the boy from the other demonstrators, from here they walked in the direction where I was located, you can see that all was calm, you can see protest's volunteers talking to officers in what appear to be negotiations to not have the boy arrested.

The peaceful discussion continued until one cop goes and talks to a grup of officers and then moves in to detain the young boy, this scenes ware the ones captured by the videos above.

Young man arrested - cop with loaded grenade launcher

- In this clip (3 of 4), I captured some of the activity when a young man was arrested and at the end he was led away, somewhere in the middle of the clip, there is cop with a fully loaded grenade launcher and two more grenades on the butt of the launcher, he looked very menacing,on two times I focused on him, you will catch a brief sights of another cop on his right with what appears to be a belt full of grenades

tell a friend 1

Seeking Eyewitnesses & Video of Mar. 21 SFPD Attack;
Demand Release of Those Arrested

San Francisco police arrested 10 people and assaulted many more during and after a permitted March 21 rally in the Civic Center marking the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Dozens of people suffered bruises, cuts and other injuries in unprovoked attacks. The police particularly focused their attack on young Palestinians and other Arab Americans. As of this writing, eight of those arrested remain in jail, all but one facing felony charges, their average bail is set at $50,000. One of the women arrested remains hospitalized for a head injury inflicted by an SFPD officer. The ANSWER Coalition, which was one of the central organizers of the March 21 march and rally is calling upon everyone to take action. What follows are: 1) An appeal for anyone who has eyewitness testimony and/or video to call the National Lawyers Guild Hotline; and 2) An appeal from Arab American community organizations to make calls to the offices of the Mayor, District Attorney and SFPD demanding that charges against all those arrested at the March 21st rally be dropped and that they be immediately released.

Legal Update from the National Lawyers Guild on Mar. 21 Anti-War March in S.F.

There was a large amount of police violence at yesterday’s anti-war rally and march. The SFPD arrested ten people. Five are being held on felony Lynching and Resisting charges after a skirmish with police in the Civic Center. Their bails are $53,000 each. At least one woman reportedly suffered a head injury during the arrests. During the same incident SFPD also reportedly seriously injured two women who were not arrested but were hospitalized with numerous injures including reports of head trauma and multiple broken bones. Another five people were arrested in the BART station as the rally was ending after an incident involving pepper spray. Police arrested five Arab youths who were reportedly the victims of the pepper spraying. Two of them who were under eighteen were released to their parents; the other three are being held on Battery and Conspiracy charges also with bails of $53,000 each.

The NLG and legal volunteers are keeping track of evidence concerning these arrests. If you witnessed the incidents or know anyone who did, please have them call the legal support hotline at 415-285-1011.

The NLG will also be looking for lawyers to help with arraignments anticipated for next week.

Immediate Action Alert from Arab American Community

You can use the following to call or email city officials about the March 21st arrests:

Hi my name is____________________________.
I am calling about the arrests of:

Mustafa Albouyha
Majdi Abu Hamdieh
Elizabeth Haskell
Mohammed Ibrahim
Nadeen Elshorafa

These individuals were wrongfully arrested while participating in a legal, peaceful march yesterday. We are demanding that the charges be dropped immediately and that they be released to their families.

Make your call immediately to all of the following:

SFPD Public Affairs
(415) 553-1651 (ph)
(415) 553-9229 (fax)

SF District Attorney
Bureau of Investigation: (415) 553-1030
Public Inquiries:
Erica Terry Derryck (415) 553-1167
Connie Chang (415) 553-9108

Mayor Gavin Newsom
(415) 554-6141

If you find out any update about these arrests during your calls, please let us know by calling (510) 534-7933.

Additional calls for action are to follow.

Forward Widely

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERcoalition.org http://www.answersf.org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24

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