Monday, February 1, 2010

Compare and Contrast

... articles about the police raid at the benefit party. Start with the article in the Examiner. Among other things is the awesome line
Officers are investigating whether it was a properly permitted party.
Unfortunately the writer couldn't get in touch with "Occupay California" to comment on whether a proper party permit had been acquired.

The Chronicle actually talks to someone besides cops:
But partygoers said it was the police who turned violent, roughing up people for taking photos and asking to see a search warrant, said Kassia Korkus, 23.

"I feel they knew it was a politically motivated party, and that fueled their aggressiveness toward the attendees," Korkus said.

The party began as a way to raise cash for legal help needed by protesters arrested last fall at San Francisco State University and campuses of the University of California, where students occupied buildings to protest tuition increases and layoffs. Campuses have dropped most charges. But partygoers said they expect more activists to be arrested when demonstrations heat up again in March.


Jared Aldrich, 32, a student at Laney College in Oakland, said he was the first person arrested at the party and now faces misdemeanors for resisting arrest, delaying an officer and battery.

"I don't know what that's about because I'm the one with the broken arm," he said, adding that police threw him down and pulled two fingers back to his wrist. He said his wrist is swollen and needs an X-ray.

Sam Brown, 22, said he left when he saw people in plainclothes that he and others took to be police shove partygoers against the wall, swear at them and demand to know who was in charge.

"I was very shaken up," Brown said.
The SFSU paper [X]press was the first one on the scene:
At 12:47 a.m., police and firefighters entered a storefront warehouse at 154 7th Street between Mission and Howard Streets and ordered everyone to vacate the premises. It is not immediately clear why police decided to order everyone to leave.

What followed was a few, tense moments as police struggled with some of the people in attendance amidst cries of protest from others watching in the street.

An all-out brawl broke out between some of the partygoers and police. Within minutes of the outbreak, several more police cars arrived on the scene with officers running from their vehicles to break up and restrain the fight.

Small explosions were also heard and seen erupting near some of the police vehicles parked in front of the building, although it is not clear if that came from the police or from people on the street. The scene could only be described as chaotic as police shouted commands, some with their weapons drawn, and people on the street shouted obscenities at the officers.

Rocks and bottles were thrown at police cars as they arrived on the scene, chants of "F*** the Police," echoed from all sides of the street, and police shoved people who were standing in the street ordering them to move onto the sidewalk.

An unconfirmed total of nine people were arrested, according to party attendee Aaron Buchbinder, 26, who said commanding officer Borges informed him of that amount.

Police would not speculate when asked for details about how many people were arrested or why they broke up the party.

SF State student and [X]press reporter Krystal Peak was also arrested as she took pictures of the scene. Police allege that she was impeding a criminal investigation.

"We saw a guy being pinned down, and a man and somebody else getting pushed up against a car," CCSF student Yarilis Vasquez Guzman, 24, said, "The guy was saying... he was complaining about his finger. There were too many cops outside, too much aggression."
And finally, a comment on that "Occupay California" blog:
Last night a peaceful party to raise funds for arrested students was attacked by the police and ended in 11 arrests. Until the cops arrived, inside the venue was a mellow scene with some fun dancing and socializing, and a number of folks discussing upcoming March 4 actions.

Sometime around midnight police arrived in force, with no apparent provocation, and blocked the exits of the venue. Along with many others who had come to enjoy the social occasion, I tried to leave when the police showed up and was not allowed to. When I asked why we were not allowed to leave the police told us they were “investigating”. I told them it was illegal to detain us. In the meantime, undercover cops on the inside provoked people by grabbing the videos and cellphones of those who were taking pictures and throwing them against the wall. The police then escalated the situation by using excessive force to arrest one of the young men at the party, provoking many of us, appalled, to yell at them to stop.

What followed was a melee. I saw cops throwing kids down on the ground, sometimes three to a youngster, while the rest of us, in utter amazement, yelled at the police that this was unlawful and unnecessary. The cops, by now backed up by dozens of cop cars, lunged at the crowd of youngsters and picked out their prey. They eventually allowed the rest of us to leave. A crowd of 40 people then went to 850 Bryant Street, where the arrestees had been taken. Despite police threats to “arrest all of the kids who were in the lobby if they didn’t disperse”, the group stayed until dawn, when most of the arrestees were released. There are some heavy charges against one arrestee whose court hearing is set for Thursday in San Francisco.

The police action was outrageous and unprovoked and needs to be investigated.

We need help from lawyers or others experienced with the law to make this happen.
Update: More from Indybay:
According to one account, there were at least two undercover officers already inside the party when the fire marshal showed up. He said the undercover officers started arresting people and "held them up against the wall by their necks," when the fire marshal entered the party. The part-goer told Indybay that when the people streamed out of the party they found cops outside, with more officers continuing to arrive.

"There was no mention of any undercover officers," said Chan, after reviewing the police's report. He said that the SFPD do use undercover officers, but doesn't see why they would have been at the party.

One of those arrested told Indybay that he was tazed after police threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. But when he spoke to arresting officers about the incident, he was told that the San Francisco's police officers don't carry Tazers. The officer confirmed to him that he had been tazed and suggested a civilian must have tazed him while the police were arresting him, he said.

Chan confirmed that the department doesn't use tazers. He said he doesn't have any information to indicate another police agency was involved in the incident, but it is still early in the investigation and that more information be available later in the week.

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