SFPD Responds to Allegations of Excessive Force During Arrest; Rally Planned Tonight

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The Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition is organizing a rally at the 24th and Mission Street BART station at 5 tonight to protest the recent arrest an 18-year-old San Francisco resident. The arrest, which the group called a “brutal beating,” was caught on video and posted on YouTube.

Police told Mission Local that the 18-year-old suspect, identified as Kevin Clark, was assaulting another citizen in front of officers near the 24th and Mission BART plaza.

In response to allegations that police used excessive force during the arrest, Officer Gordon Shyy told Mission Local that “the use of force in this incident appears to be reasonable.” An investigation was conducted by the police department and has now been closed.

Shyy said that officers had reasonable suspicion to detain Clark for assault and to prevent injury to another citizen.

“As officers attempted to detain Clark, he walked away and failed to comply with a lawful order from police to stop,” Shyy said.

Officers then caught up with Clark, Shyy said, and when he continued to resist, used a leg sweep and held him down until other officers arrived at the scene.

Clark was cited for two counts of resisting arrest and released, according to police.

Protesters will gather at the 24th and Mission BART plaza and march to the Mission police station at 17th and Valencia streets.

 

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission, Trouble

52 Comments

  1. scum

    I hope the cops are ready to stop any and all vandalism.

    • forthright

      Gee I guess this means the shopkeepers down there will pay the price for this, ultimately. Nice group of protesters.

  2. Ramon

    As always, all violence and destruction will be brought to you by those who do not live in, nor have any connection to The Mission.

  3. randolph mortimer

    Well, we have a group (ANSWER) to hold accountable if this protest goes the way these ‘protests’ in the Mission usually do.

  4. randolph mortimer

    I notice the organizers of the protest don’t mention the victim of this ‘brutal beating’ (which is a hilarious description of what I saw in the video) was resisting arrest for delivering his own ‘brutal beating’ to someone else at the time, as well.

    • John Cousino

      But you gotta wonder why he wasn’t charged with assult after all.

      • Tom in SFCA

        It may be that they charged him with what they can prove. They have two cops who will testify that he resisted arrest. As for the original assault, who knows what exactly the cops saw and where the first alleged victim is.

    • :)

      What do u mean to someone else he didn’t harm nobody he had a discussion ,,,

      • marco

        Were you there? I’m not sure what you’re saying — “he didn’t harm nobody” means he harmed somebody. If so, let us know what happened. I would hardly call this a “brutal beating”. My brother used to do this to me all the time when we were kids. The fact is that the officers asked him to stop and he decided to take off.

  5. Susan

    Looks really awkward and uncomfortable to me, but it ain’t no Rodney King moment.

    • Blurpy

      That kid could’ve made it a whole lot easier on himself had he not mouthed off at the cops and ignored their orders to stop. Police operate off resistance, for better or worse, and if you give them some they’ll be more than happy to escalate and put a little hurt on you.

      I’m all for police being accountable for their actions, and I’m not one to condone corruption or brutality, but this particular situation isn’t really enough to get too huffed about.

      • Angela

        Well said.

      • Jogom

        That’s a bunch of bull. “Police react on resistance” lol. U must be some yuppie or hipster who just moved to the mission or city. I guess u haven’t really been around this kind of stuff before. That type of stuff happens on a regular basis wit the cops. Some cops take advantage of the power they got.

        • Blurpy

          Try again. And next time, try something original. The whole “hipster/yuppie” thing is so played out already.

          I’ve lived in SF for over 20 years, and I come from SoCal, where the cops are REALLY corrupt and you REALLY fear them. SFPD are barely even present, which makes all these cries of “police brutality” borderline comical.

          • I’m also from LA, and witnessed some real brutality there, and I’m happy to report the LAPD has changed its culture considerably, and since the riots LAPD have played a big part in making L.A. a better place to be a citizen. I’ve also been impressed with a number of theSFPD officers I’ve met at Mission community meeting, some of them beat cops who are obviously beloved by parents and kids alike who are several generations deep in the Mission.

        • marco

          It’s simple. When a cop asks you to stop you stop, you don’t go running off.

          • I am a LA to SF transplant too. I am not a yuppie and not a hipster. I support my brown brothers and sisters who get the brunt of most police brutality. However, if a cop tells you to stop, then stop. What does a person think will happen if they mouth off to a cop who suspects you of a crime? If we were innocent of their suspicions, more reason to talk to them and move on with the day. The aggression people have with one another today is astounding.

          • Although the face to the gutter was gross and unnecessary! But I remember the riots of the 1990s, no comparison.

  6. Nick

    No, this was not a ‘brutal beating’ in the slightest. If it were, he wouldn’t be able to speak or even stand up. And the victim that he was assaulting before the police showed up? Do we have video of that incident?

  7. js

    Whatever reason the police had to stop him is one thing. The main question here is why did the officer ram into the 18 year old with a motorcycle, tackle him, and then shove his face into the gutter?
    By what standards is that legal, reasonable, or helpful?
    And as SF residents, do we want our tax dollars to pay for police to brutalize residents? Or should our police humanely stop and question suspects?
    This definitely deserves further investigation and props to ANSWER for organizing this protest!

    • gspot

      Fror every hour I hear the police helicopter hovering overhead, I think, “Gee, there goes another teacher salary down the drain.”

    • Angela

      If you watch the video closely, as the suspect was clearly attempting to leave the scene/evade arrest, the police officer lightly swiped his leg with the motorcycle to get the suspect to stop.

      They did not tackle him, but they took him down with what appeared to be as little force as possible, and attempted to handcuff him. He resisted arrest for the majority of the video, and had he not done so, his face would not have been on the grate. He kept moving while on the ground, and his head ended up on the grate due to his own belligerence. As a San Francisco resident, as a Mission District resident, I do want my tax dollars to go to these police officers who are working to keep our streets safe and who arrested a suspect who was reportedly assaulting someone else immediately prior to when this video began. It’s difficult to “humanely stop and question” a suspect when they are attempting to leave the scene of a crime, are resisting arrest, are mouthing off and are creating a scene when none had to be made. Shame on ANSWER for manufacturing this incident into something that it’s not — this was not a brutal beating.

    • Tom in SFCA

      The SFPD says Mr. Clark tried to get away and physically resisted his arrest. Both of these actions are crimes (separate from and in addition to whatever cime they thought they saw him commit when they decided to arrest him). If the police told Mr. Clark to stop and be taken into custody then he was legally obliged to obey. According to SFPD, they only used force because Mr. Clark evaded and resisted. This is how it is supposed to work.

  8. Susan B.

    Watch the video. Cops were unprofessional through and through. Not a clean bust. Hate to see my tax dollars spent on another unnecessary brutality payout. Maybe Oakland will hire them. 1) They literally assault the victim with a motorcycle. 2) They spend 3 minutes grinding the victim’s face into a metal sewer grate. C’mon SFPD, get your act together!

  9. SFDave4U

    While I have nothing against the reasonable use of force if all other measures fail, I think a reasonable citizen viewing the video can conclude that they pushed the suspect’s face into the sewer cover and used excessive force possibly in violation of 42 U.S.C. Sec 1983 the suspect’s foul language and attempt to escape notwithstanding.

  10. Angela

    I was prepared to see a “brutal beating” while watching the above video, and I was sad to think it had happened. But there was none. Period. I watched the video three times to see if I’d missed something. I’m against racism in all forms, and I’m against police brutality. But this is ridiculous. The suspect resisted arrest, and from what I can see in this video, the police did nothing wrong. Given that it’s been reported the suspect was assaulting another citizen immediately prior to when this video began, where’s the video of that? And where is the justice for that person? Oh yes, the justice was the arrest of the suspect who assaulted someone and then very clearly resisted arrest.

    As a result of this brouhaha over nothing and tonight’s “protest”, police resources have been diverted from dealing with real issues that impact our neighborhood and city on a daily basis. This evening, I saw 5+ officers at the 16th and Mission BART station. There’s a police helicopter flying around the Mission (and has been for at least an hour). And the Mission Police Station is literally barricaded at all entrances with gates and armed policemen. Finally, there are at least 7 police cars lined up on Valencia Street in case this “protest” gets out of hand as many protests and even “celebrations” do in the Mission.

    Shame on ANSWER and others who are “protesting.” I hope they don’t cause more harm to the neighborhood, damage local businesses and act foolish late into the night. ANSWER and other “protestors” need to get their priorities straight and protest real injustices, not manufactured ones such as this.

    To top it off, this protest is on a day that police across the state are conducting a manhunt for a deadly ex-LAPD officer who has already killed a few people. Not only that, but we have legitimate problems in the Mission that the police should be focused on, not dealing with this nonsense. There are murders, gangs, robberies and vandalism in the Mission, and our police have better things to do today (and everyday) than be sidetracked by this kind of foolishness.

    I sincerely hope this ends soon and that no people, homes or businesses are injured during this “protest.”

    As an aside, I’d also love to go to sleep at a decent hour this evening, but because I live near the police station, I’m afraid I’ll be listening to the police helicopter and protestors all evening.

    • joblow

      Rest assured Angela, that the people involved today have the attention span of those “occupiers” and BART protesters from last year. People are quick to criticize SFPD but have no idea the stream of issues flooding the department and the limited bandwidth of the SF officers. They’re actually doing a tremendous job and you need not go any further than scansf.com to get a glimpse of their daily workload. But hey, give the hipsters something to feel good about tonight.

  11. Dexter Hate

    Y’all should explain:

    1) The cops didn’t give any verbal orders of any kind. It’s difficult to comply with a lawful order that wasn’t verbalized.

    2) Why is is necessary to push a non-threatening prone citizen’s face into a steel grate with both hands and with maximum force?

    My bet is that a lot if the posters here are cops themselves. Call me a psychic. ; )

  12. Valenchia

    @JS: In fact if an 18 year old is resisting arrest then it is perfectly appropriate for the Police to use force. All evidence, including this video, suggests that the police acted appropriately.

    ANSWER is violent organization that condones violating the law in order to advances its radical political agenda. This march is about their politics not the “victim” that they are exploiting.

    It is good to see that most people understand that it is ANSWER not the police that are a danger to our community.

  13. Blurpy

    Yeah, thing is, when there’s a “protest” in the Mission, often times stuff gets vandalized and people act a fool. Cops are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  14. Dave

    Those were news helicopters. The police don’t have any in SF

    • Maz

      I don’t see where godzuki said they were *SFPD* helicopters. At least one of these was definitely LE, as news helicopters are rarely painted navy blue or carry umpty-zillion candlepower floodlights. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the pink slip: The SFPD paid to have a [CHP, most likely] helicopter pounding the Mission for several hours yesterday, including an agonizingly long stretch directly above this block of SVN.

      (And, frankly, as a former small business owner I have no beef with the police beefing up their presence, given the high ambient stupidity level at some past Mission protests. I’d simply prefer they leave the bird idling at Candlestick until there’s an actual need for it. And, no, you can’t convince me the 45 seconds they save would ever be significant.)

  15. Unkown

    Type of stuff u see all the time in the mission, police doing whatever they want. If he was at fault then why did they only charge him with resisting and not with the supposedly assualt in front of the officers?

  16. ChrisM

    It’s really a shame that the organizers chose to invoke the spectre of racism and the topic of “gentrification” when promoting public response to the issue of abuse of police authority. This sort of divisive rhetoric only serves to detract from their stated cause and makes them appear disingenuous.

  17. John Doe

    It’s funny how they phrase it, that he was “assaulting another citizen”, the kid was in a verbal altercation, when these cop who were across the street detaining another young black kid and writing him a ticket, came over to him. Instead of leaving their bikes across the street these cops rode over and straight at him, causing him to move out of the way and begin walking away. I hardly call it resisting arrest when this kid was slowly walking away from a situation that would’ve completely ended without anyone being hurt if the police just let everyone involved just leave. Another exaggeration of course is calling this a brutal beating, but for sure I believe these officers went too far and handled the whole situation poorly, If you wanted to just detain the kid, simply get off your bike and order him to sit down, don’t drive at him, and if you’re going to take him down like that, do you really have to put him face first into the sewer drain? and when you clearly have control of the kid, do you have to pull his arm further back into that position? That’s the main thing that irritates me, is that police know damn well that if you have someone on the ground like that and pull their arm in that manner, no matter what it’s going to make them struggle, and that always allows them to say, “SEE! he’s resisting again!” I dont think anyone could sit still while that’s being done to them, of course he’s going to struggle. To top it off, putting your knee on the side of his head and leaning you weight into it…… really? Although this is far from a “brutal beating” I truly believe this is a perfect example of police just taking things too far, which happens way too often in SF, especially in the Mission District……

    • Todd

      Thank you for having a more complete description of events. I hope you are able to go on record with your account.

      I got to know Kevin Clark a little as a substitute teacher in high school. As a student he was always sweet and friendly, though not very good at academics. I’ve seen him act out many times (though by his senior year, he had mellowed quite a bit), but I never saw him get at all violent.

      These actions and attitude by the police will just erode any trust with the community they are supposed to be serving.

  18. John Doe

    Usually the uniform officers aren’t that bad in the mission, its the undercovers you have to watch out for though. I’m not going to start on the insane things that they get away with when no one’s watching….. I just hope some day someone will catch that stuff on camera……got some real “Training Day” type of shit goin on out there….

  19. SafeStreets

    rule #1 – when a cop tells you to stop, you stop.

    if you walk away, mouth off, or fight back you are a stupid idiot and deserve being thrown to the ground. You are too dumb for your own good.

  20. Jay

    If ANSWER wants to have any kind of credibility, they should think carefully before having this rally. This is most definitely not “protest-worthy.”

  21. MissionSTreet

    Not a brutal beating, but since we been watching football, a “unnecessary roughness” penalty might fit.

    Expect the police will be be found to have acted within the law, but still the incident cost above a $100 k protest, notes in the officers files, etc. Which mean less police to deal with issues crack sales at 16th, and broken into cars all over the place.

    I’d suggest less cops on those motos, that seem to induce a Darth Vader aggression, and more on normal bikes.

  22. Ramón

    As an (almost) lifetime resident of The Mission and a Latino, I have seen first-hand how unreasonable some cops can be here. However, for every cop who acts like that, there is at least one – if not several – who really want to be a positive liaison within our Community. A pair of partners once told me that they would do almost anything to take care of legitimate crimes and to not have to deal with “quality of life” issue (e.g. Drinking in the park or sitting on a sidewalk). San Francisco police are not nearly as violent or disrespectful as those in other large cities. All we have do to is look south to Los Angeles and their unofficial, yet well known, motto, which is “Don’t F— with the LAPD.” (Sorry for the censorship, but as a regular contributor to Mission Local I don’t want to be banned from this forum.)

  23. nfsagain

    From the basis of the tape, & the tape alone, the cops behaved completely appropriately. The kid disobeyed a lawful order & then resisted arrest after attempting to evade the cops. This isn’t an NYC Stop & Frisk absurdity and there is nothing in the tape to make one believe that there is a racial reason for the altercation. As for lack of an Assault charge, the other individual has to choose to press charges & has to be available for the police to interview to do so; it is quite possible the person simply left.

  24. Eddie

    The many comments here excusing police brutality show how easily people will accept a slide into a police state.

    Did you know that the President of the United States has legal authority to assassinate you without charge, trial or any other due process? Just from suspicion that you may be supportive of a group that he defines as the enemy.

    That’s right. Right now. Do you care? I doubt it, based on your willingness to allow the police to beat a person for walking away without being ordered to stop. A person the police had “reasonable suspicion” was arguing with someone else.

    Have you ever had an argument with someone in a public place? Did the police intervene and beat you? You’d be okay with it if they did, right?

  25. hoag

    The guy ignored the officers orders to stop then he tried to run. He deserved what he got and it was not police brutality by any stretch.

    This guy was on the news last night and lauged and walked away when reporters asked him if he had assaulted someone and that’s why cops stopped him.

  26. Native Missionero

    SFPD needs to treat its own SF citizens with respect. I hate seeing SFPD assault their own residents they swore to protect and serve. Sad part is most of these SFPD dont even live in San Francisco but instead commute over the bridge to ruff up our citizens that have to live here.
    The police could have easily slapped the handcuffs on the kid and stood him up. Instead they grind his face into the sewer-gutter(very professional SFPD)for over 3 minutes.
    Ontop of that we have an epidemic in SF with our African American population. They are down to a historic low of 4% of the SF population but make up 50% of all the inmates at SF county jails.
    Incidents and videos like this show that the City has an active policy in fuckin with African Americans!
    Would they have done this to a white person or perhaps an Asian? I doubt it!
    Let the Riots commence!!!!!!!!!!

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