Protesters Allege Police Misconduct
By Marco Siler-Gonzales
Those protesting at City Hall identify themselves as the Frisco 500 in solidarity with the five people (dubbed the Frisco Five) who held a hunger strike from April 21 to May 7 to demand the firing or resignation of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, who they hold responsible for what they call racist and unaccountable policing by the department.
Captain Paul Tamayo of the Sheriff’s department told Mission Local that those arrested at City Hall were charged with unlawful assembly, trespassing and resisting arrest and were held in the county jail at 850 Bryant St.
Several activists alleged misconduct and brutalization by the sheriff’s deputies during their arrest at City Hall.
“They (the officers) slammed me on the floor and dragged me to the elevator by my hair,” Frisco 500 activist Camille Safiya said in an interview with The Guardsman just after she was released from the jail. “I told them my cuffs were too tight, and the female officer that was in the elevator tightened my cuffs, actually spraining my right hand.”
“I’m only ten times stronger than I was yesterday.“
Protesters Reflect on Day of Action After Release
City College student and Frisco 500 activist Yesenia Cielo believes Safiya was targeted by the sheriff’s deputies during the City Hall protest.
“I feel like they made an example of her, because she was the one leading,” Cielo said outside the jail. “They grabbed her from the middle of the group. There were about four police officers on her and they dragged her to the elevator.”
Cielo was also arrested, and said she was not provided medical attention until 2 a.m. after she made multiple requests for her bad knee to be checked by a medic.
Eleven men, 21 women and 1 minor from the Frisco 500 were arrested, but despite the long night of containment and alleged abuse, the activists rejoiced in their commitment to one another and to their cause.
“I’m only ten times stronger than I was yesterday,” Safiya said. “And I am so ready to continue fighting because I refuse to bring a child into this world with them (SFPD and Sheriff’s Department) treating us the way they are.”