A woman is held back by police shortly before the police began arresting protestors on Powell Street. All photographs by Octavio Lopez Raygoza.

The police arrived first, at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. About 20 of them stood at 19th and Dolores. More were at 18th and Dolores and 20th and Dolores. Three or four patrol cars began circling Dolores Park. On hipster hill, the area of the park south of the tennis courts, officers on dirt bikes rode in circles on the grass.

Also there: four television crews. Many, many photographers. At least a dozen journalists, in all. They stood near the entrance of the park, at 19th and Dolores, waiting.

At around 5:30 p.m., the protesters showed up, trickling into the park in small groups. A few of them carried a huge banner — black, with white lettering. It read “They Can’t Shoot Us All” in big letters, a reference to two recent shootings — one at Civic Center BART and one in the Bayview.

In smaller letters, in the lower left corner, was something else. It read, “— the Police.”

The protesters began to move around 6 p.m. They chanted “—- the Police.” They chanted “How do you spell murder? SFPD. How do you spell racism? SFPD!” The line of protesters was flanked by police on both sides. At the head of the march, police on bikes. At the very end, two SUVs silently following. In the passenger seat of one was Mission Police Chief Greg Corrales.

The group moved seemingly without a clear sense of direction. At every intersection, police stopped traffic until the crowd had passed. They walked up 18th to Castro, where part of the group split off and marched down inside the Castro Muni station ahead of the police brigade. Once they were inside, someone threw a smoke bomb and the crowd rushed out in a panic, as police rushed inside. Back in the open air, the group turned down 18th and walked back toward the Mission.

When the protesters reached Valencia, they hung a left and stopped in front of the Mission Police Station. Someone threw a blue smoke bomb. Someone else threw a flare. It landed on a police officer’s foot, and he stamped it out. Someone else threw what appeared to be black paint — it hit the greenish glass doors of the station and oozed down.

The police standing in front of the door ducked but made no other moves. A hammer flew out of the crowd, hit the door and bounced off, with no apparent damage to the door. One police officer leaned down, picked up the hammer and passed it to another officer, who passed it to another officer, at which point it disappeared from sight.

“Keep moving! Keep moving!” yelled people in the crowd. The crowd began to move again. It went down Valencia to 16th, hung a left on Mission, and turned right when it reached Market. The group waxed and waned — numbering between 50 and 100, not counting the journalists and flanked by police the whole time.

When the march reached Van Ness, a smaller group turned and began moving toward City Hall. “Don’t go!” shouted the other protesters. “You’re asking for trouble.” The smaller group turned back and rejoined the larger group. They continued down Market.

At 7:45 p.m., the group reached Market and 7th. A voice came over a megaphone. It was Corrales. “Move to the sidewalk,” he said. “I am ordering you to obey all traffic laws. Anyone who doesn’t move to the sidewalk will be arrested for jaywalking.”

The protesters ignored him and kept walking. At Powell Street they began to turn and walk uphill.

When the police realized the crowd was headed up Powell, they raced up the street, shouting at the stores to lock their doors. Tourists scattered, screaming and yelling to one another in a multiplicity of languages. Behind the glass doors of the Powell Street storefronts — the Sephora, the Burger King — tourists peered out anxiously.

Corrales’ voice came over the megaphone again. “You’re becoming a public hazard. You’re going to be arrested.”

The riot police wove in between the protesters, separating them into groups, until finally there was one group of several dozen protesters surrounded by several dozen police officers standing around them in a tight circle, about a foot apart from each other. The police unwound the plastic handcuffs looped to their belts and began putting them on the protesters, one by one, before walking them to the police van. They took their time.

Inside, the protesters sat down and waited to be arrested. It was an hour before it was over.

According to SFPD Officer Albie Esparza, the department made approximately 43 arrests at the protest, all for failure to disperse after unlawful assembly was declared. Two other arrests were made earlier in the evening: one in connection with an assault that occurred in the Castro, and one related to the assault of a camera operator filming the scene.

UPDATE: According to new information from the SFPD, the actual number of people arrested is 43. Seventeen were San Francisco residents. Twenty-six were from out of the county and one was from out of state.

They were all cited for failure to obey a lawful order by a traffic/law enforcement officer and for being pedestrians off the sidewalk and in a roadway.

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Heather Smith covers a beat that spans health, food, and the environment, as well as shootings, stabbings, various small fires, and shouting matches at public meetings. She is a 2007 Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism and a contributor to the book Infinite City.

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  1. I wonder why ANY person would be willing to be a policeman in such an environment! The city should withdraw the police and let everyone attack everyone else.

  2. The Bay Area branch(?) of the International Socialist Organization helped draw attendees to this protest. I think saying they helped “organize” would be overstating it. See the July 18 tweet from @norcalsocialism linking to this page calling for action: http://norcalsocialism.org/sf-july-19-protest-sfpd-murder

    I’d love to learn more about who these clowns were. They should be saying, “Thank the police.”

  3. protestors were a bunch of white kids from Walnut Creek… Its always the same. The IndieBay ISO anarchist crowd loves to manipulate and hijack other peopke’s causes because they are so angry about???? Being white? Being young? Sorry you have daddy and mommy issues. Why not work it out rather than steal other people’s causes…

    Nobody in the Bayview wants some skinny 20yo old girl who knows nothing about anything and has no idea what its like to live in the ghetto protesting on their behalf…

    Go back to Walnut Creek!!!! Its unbelievably racist and offensive…

    1. Oh, I doubt it was a tourist issue. Think about the geography there. You’re going from a nice wide open street to a narrow thoroughfare with shops, smaller sidewalks and traffic down the middle. And it’s pretty busy.

      Taking a protest up Powell is a teeny bit irresponsible. Civic Center would have been a safer destination.

  4. I am angry about the most recent BART shooting, and I have written everyone but the president asking for the disarmament of the BART police. But why would anyone protest the Bayview shooting last weekend? It was totally justified.

    1. So… when a drunken nut is staggering through a BART crowd wielding a knife and a broken bottle — you figure he should be left in peace, is that it?

      1. Josephine, there is a wide gulf between shooting-to-kill and leaving a “drunken nut” “in peace.” That gulf is occupied by non-lethal force. I’d appreciate it if you would not characterize my remarks in such extremes, it’s not helpful to the conversation.

    2. What was justified about this? Cops shoot a guy + then — jerk that knee — say they thought he had a gun. Oops, no gun to be found? Well, um, there really was one, + they tracked it down in some guy’s apartment, in the same neighborhood, see? Nope, I’m with the earlier comments: this article stupidly leaves out ALL the content of why the protesters were outraged.

      1. Perhaps Aaron thinks that it’s justified because the “drunken nut” in BART was white, and the boy in Bayview was Black. True, he was also a parolee and maybe not a great guy, but the cops didn’t know that when they riddled his body with bullets.

        keep up the protests!

        1. If you see the video there is clearly a gun only a few yards from where the guy went down. Several news outlets have reported gunshot residue was found on his hands. Oh, and there is an audio tape of the shots being fired and a fancy visual of where and when the shots were fired from some fancy high tech monitoring system in the neighborhood where this all went down. It shows the suspects shots being fired followed by the cops. This was also on the local news. All of this information can be easily found if you actually care about the facts of this case. Or, you could just “jerk that knee” and make uninformed, uneducated, assumptions based on rumors and word of mouth speculation.

          These protestors look like fools and anyone who doesn’t have their head up their backside knows why.

        2. My standard of justification in police shootings involves three points: whether the suspect is known to be armed, whether he/she threatens or has threatened anyone, and finally is life-threatening harm imminent, such as raising the gun toward someone or lunging with a knife. I called the Bayview shooting justified because all the reports say the police and mulitple witnesses stated the suspect was armed and fired first.

          On the other hand, in the case of the Civic Center shooting, I am skeptical that a kill shot was an appropriate choice when three officers trained in the use of non-lethal force, and presumably sober, are tasked with restraining an intoxicated man armed only with a knife and a bottle, weapons that can be deflected by plastic shield. They should have fired a taser, not a gun.

          The circumstances of each incident are simply not comparable. Many are suspicious anytime a black man is shot by police. And many, myself included, are suspicious when anyone is shot by BART police.

          On a side note, the Bayview suspect is absolutely the worst example one could hope to find for calling scrutiny to police conduct. The facts not in dispute are: the man was a convicted pimp of a 14 year old girl; was resisting arrest when he was shot; and to top it all off was wanted for questioning in a recent, unsolved homicide. You couldn’t possibly choose a less sympathetic figure.

          Every death is tragic, but I’d be astonished to hear one Bayview resident say he/she is not glad to have one less criminal on the streets.

      2. Do you REALLY think, in broad daylight, with GUNSHOT DETECTORS around, throngs of people, and more, that they randomly just MADE UP the story about the guy having a gun?

        It boggles my mind that we aren’t more outraged about this. WE are the victims here, NOT the guy who died.

        A guy:
        * Doesn’t pay fare on BART
        * Resists arrest and takes off running
        * Turns around and opens fire with a high-caliber handgun
        * Police return fire, striking him in the neck
        * Police try to find weapon, some idiot runs off with it
        * Police can’t render first aid to the “victim” aka “thug” because a crowd of yelling idiots forms, and the police have to first contain the crowd
        * After the guy dies, we find out he was a convicted felon AND wanted for questioning in a murder in WA state

        Why is anyone defending the guy who did this? Should the police have let him go and continue firing his gun?

        I’m no fan of the SFPD (they’re lazy AND corrupt) but that doesn’t automatically make the thug a victim. The so-called “community” that is defending this guy should ask themselves what they really stand for. No one has a right to live in SF — if they want to harbor violent criminals, maybe we SHOULD have a fence or deport them all to Walnut Creek.

        1. Sorry, I meant MUNI, not BART. Incidentally, we were always worried that the new T line would bring this type of “element” into the rest of the city. Not only did the MUNI “bring it”, apparently it comes without even paying fare.

    1. Jean and Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable – I was waiting for our reporter to call back with confirmation. Albie didn’t specify what the protest was about in his message to us. As it turned out, it was a general protest in response to the recent shooting at Civic Center BART by BART police, and Saturday’s shooting near the 3rd Street rail in the Bayview.

  5. How about you try to give us some useful information next time, and tell us what the Protest was even ABOUT?!

      1. I don’t have a problem with random rants, but I’d like to know what the random ranting is ABOUT.

    1. Great moniker, incoherent politics. As usual. Throw a hammer at a police station, a smoke bomb in a bart station? Oh, Herr Doktor, I’m sure the cops are quaking.

      1. What politics? I just wanted to know what people were protesting, as it wasn’t mentioned in the original post. The updates have made it clear, but the original story didn’t bother to mention what the hell the whole kerfuffle was about.