YouTube video sparks backlash

Demonstrators march down Mission street to protest the arrest of City College student Kevin Clark on Feb 7. Photo by Shane Menez / The Guardsman

Footage shows excessive force and leaves out prior incident

By Minter McHugh
The Guardsman

A protest rally was held Feb. 7 to demand justice for a City College student who two weeks earlier was pinned against the ground and had his face pressed into a metal water drain by two police officers at 24th and Mission streets.

Left: City College student, Kevin Clark, 18, dodges a police officer who nearly runs him over at the northeast corner of 24th and Mission streets. Screenshot courtesy of YouTube.

The incident was captured in an amateur video and uploaded to YouTube.

Kevin Clark, 18, was cited and released on two counts of resisting arrest.

Seven police cars and six police on motorcycles arrived to assist in his arrest.

 Though the video stirred up anger among viewers, it failed to show the events leading up to the arrest.

“The suspect was challenging another individual to a fight, and then began to get into an altercation with that individual. The officers then attempted to detain the suspect for that incident,” the Media Relations Department at the Mission police station told The Guardsman.

City College student Debray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter, who was pinned to the ground by police officers in October 2011 and later convicted of three misdemeanors, including assaulting a police officer, said he felt that the officers escalated the situation with Clark.

“They created the situation,” Carpenter said. “They should have handled the situation by leaving it alone.”

While the community gathered together for the rally, approximately 50 San Francisco police officers watched from the other side of the street.

SFPD holds kevin clarks face against a sewage drain for resisting arrest. screenshot courtesy of youtube.

Community members questioned the tactics police used to enforce the law.

The rally was meant “to bring awareness to the community, because people see excessive police force all the time and notice it ,but don’t say anything,” said Antoinette Marquez, a fourth-grade teacher and volunteer with the ANSWER Coalition.

The Guardsman was unable to contact Clark before going to press.

The video is available on Mission Local’s website: http://missionlocal.org/2013/02/sfpd-responds-to-allegations-of-excessive-force-rally-planned-tonight/

 

Follow Shane on Twitter: @menezshane

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