Since two men were fatally shot by police in San Francisco this month — one by BART police officers at the Civic Center BART station, and one by SFPD officers in the Bayview — the Mission, always protest-prone, has become a hotspot for protests of those specific shootings/police with guns/BART police with guns/the concept of police, period.
We decided to ask people who live in the Mission what their thoughts were about what happened.
Then we edited it down to 60 seconds. Here’s the expanded version:
For the most part, we found out that not many people know anything about what happened in either incident. Not the police shooting of 45-year-old transient Charles Blair Hill on July 3, and not the shooting of 19-year-old Kenneth Wade Harding on July 16 by San Francisco police officers.
What they did notice was a generalized anger toward SFPD, period. “I feel like it’s bottling up,” said Efrain Chavez, 24. “There’s a lot of tension and this is giving people a reason to get pissed off about something.” To Chavez, who comes from the Central Valley, there’s a lot less to get pissed off about in San Francisco. “There’s more racial profiling in the Valley,” he said. “Cops here go with the San Francisco lifestyle. They enforce the law but they’re way more lenient.”
All of the people interviewed compared the recent shootings to the death of Oscar Grant, who was shot in 2009 by a BART police officer while handcuffed and lying on the platform of Oakland’s Fruitvale BART station. The comparisons may have had something to do with the fact that Johannnes Mehserle, the officer who shot Grant, was released in June after serving what many argued was a severely abbreviated sentence.
“Police aren’t taking their time to convince people to take it easy,” said 54-year-old Carlos, who declined to give his last name. “They just shoot to kill.”
“Yeah,” added Alicia Adams, 26. “Arrest them, but don’t shoot them.”
Chavez believes that Grant’s and Hill’s deaths could lead to stricter rules for police — a state of affairs that worries him, too. “They might feel like ‘If I have to draw a gun, I can’t because there are going to be protests.’”