Protesters Allege Police Misconduct

James Burch, left, and Christopher Rudd, right, embrace after being arrested during a rally against alleged police brutality on May 6, 2016. They reunite outside the San Francisco County Jail at 850 Bryant St. on May 7, 2016. (All Photos by Natasha Dangond/Special to The Guardsman)
James Burch, left, and Christopher Rudd, right, embrace after being arrested during a rally against alleged police brutality on May 6, 2016. They reunite outside the San Francisco County Jail at 850 Bryant St. on May 7, 2016. (Photo by Natasha Dangond/Special to The Guardsman)

33 PROTESTERS ARRESTED

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.

All 33 protesters were released throughout the following morning and afternoon on May 7, where they were greeted by fellow activists and supporters.

City College Criminal Justice student, Yesenia Cielo, sits with a blanket wrapped around her after being released from county jail. (Photo taken by Natasha Dangond/ Special to The Guardsman)
City College Criminal Justice student, Yesenia Cielo, sits with a blanket wrapped around her after being released from county jail. (Photo taken by Natasha Dangond/ Special to The Guardsman)

Several activists alleged misconduct and brutalization by the sheriff’s deputies during their arrest at City Hall.


“I’m only ten times stronger than I was yesterday.”

—Camille Safiya


“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.”

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.”

Gabe Kahn, a protester at the rally inside City Hall on the night of Friday, May 6, stands in front of the SF County Jail after being released. (Photo taken by Natasha Dangond/ Special to the Guardsman
Gabe Kahn, a protester at the rally inside City Hall on the night of Friday, May 6, stands in front of the SF County Jail after being released. (Photo taken by Natasha Dangond/ Special to the Guardsman)

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.”


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Send an email to: Marco Siler-Gonzales or tweet mijo_marco