The SUV is in the background. Photo by Lydia Chávez

Police officers pulled over a white SUV on Mission Street just north of 21st Street, at 3:10 p.m. today jumping out of their cars and approaching the SUV with their guns drawn, according to witnesses who watched the incident from the sidewalk.

A young couple sat in the front of the SUV; their two toddlers watched from the back seat.

Police said they had gotten a tip that someone in a similar car – down to the same SF Giants seal on the back window – was driving around with a weapon. A block away, the Mission was celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

After handcuffing the couple and questioning them on the street, someone appeared to figure out that they had the wrong suspects. While they were questioning the suspects, one officer stayed at the SUV, talking to the toddlers through the window.

Police on the scene said they were still investigating, but the woman, terrified and in tears, was released from her handcuffs. Her husband, Olman Jose Ramirez, was also released and by 3:40 p.m. appeared free to go.

“They pointed a gun at me as if I was a delinquent,” Ramirez, who was also near tears, said in Spanish. “My children were in the back.”

Ms. Galaroso, who did not give her first name, said she was waiting at the bus stop when four police cars converged on the SUV and jumped out with their pistols drawn.

“Excuse me this was just stupid,” she said in Spanish. “There were a lot of people here. All of the kids on the street were so afraid and were running. We could have lost some of them.”

It was unclear how many of the 12 officers in the four police cars on Mission Street had drawn their guns. Some witnesses said four and others six.

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I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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30 Comments

  1. Thirty minutes?? Truly SF’s finest. Finest group of overpaid, under IQ’d idiots.

    So which of the 12 “officers” was the one who brought the brain and realized that this family weren’t gun toting gangbangers after the extensive investigation?

  2. Of course, the SFPD’s story is that the SUV matched the suspected SUV down to the Giants sticker. Not too many vehicles with that kind of sticker, right?

    They’ll never admit to any mistake or apologize for traumatizing innocent people. Probably looking for a beat up blue Pinto and got confused. At least, they didn’t shoot into the vehicle like their LAPD cousins did when they almost killed two newspaper delivery people in a totally different make and model vehicle 100 miles away from where Dorner was hiding.

    Still no definitive answer about the friendly fire incident on Florida Street a couple of months ago. So much for transparency after officer involved shootings, Chief Suhr. Why should we believe anything these state-sponsored terrorists say without independent corroborating witnesses?

    1. Being an SFPD cop means never having to say you’re sorry or even really be held accountable for doing your job.

      1. So you agree that the SFPD should never have to say that they are sorry or be held accountable for the quality of work they do.

        Infinite excuses for power, infinite compliance for everyone else.

        1. No, I said that you have no reason to believe that the cops did not apologize to the inconvenienced party here.

          They don’t have to apologize to you or me because they were doing the job we elect and pay them to do.

        2. Did I comment as to the course of events in this particular incident? No, I made a blanket statement on the attitude of the commuter SFPD to the San Francisco residents who pay their salaries, where they never apologize to the citizenry for their errors and the bureaucracy never holds cops accountable for their conduct.

        3. The SFPD were not doing their job, they were doing something other than their job.

        4. SFPD were doing their job in chasing down a vehicle that was identical to one reported.

          That fact that their success rate can never be 100.000 percent doesn’t make their actions here wrong.

        5. John’s comment “they were doing the job we elect and pay them to do” needs correcting.
          Police are never “elected”. They are hired.
          Carry on.

        6. If cops had to stand for election in the districts in which they worked, they would conduct themselves quite differently, don’t you think?

        7. John, I understand all too well how it works, which why was able to correct you.
          You said “The cops did not apologize to the inconvenienced party here.They don’t have to apologize to you or me because they were doing the job we elect and pay them to do.”
          Presumably “they” mean the cops. The cops are not elected. My point stands. If you meant to say “mayor” you should have said that.

        8. Governance over the SFPD is shared between the Mayor and Police Commission. The Police Commission nominates candidates for Chief and the Mayor can only appoint from that list. The Chief serves at the joint pleasure of the Mayor and Police Commission. Shared governance.

        9. The voters imposed dual threads of accountability on the SFPD because it proved itself in need of significant hand-holding. But the corruption in SF government means that the Police Commission, like the MTA Board and Planning Commission, is illegally beholden to the mayor, in contravention of the express will of the voters.

        10. The SFPD does not call the Mayor for every decision they make in real time, the chain of command at that level does not exist. as your disciplinarian authoritarian brain requires.

          The police are managed by split authority vested in the Police Commission first, and the Mayor as the selector of the Chief as nominated by the Commission. Since you hate San Franciscans who voted this into existence, I can see why you hate what we support. Really, you’d be happier elsewhere with your own kind. Ukraine?

        11. The chain of command forks above the Chief, as he is accountable to both the Mayor and the Commission.

        12. No delusions at all, in 2003 several of us came together to run a campaign to amend the Charter to divest the Mayor of unchecked authority over the SFPD by creating new lines of authority, some of which ran through an expanded diversely appointed Police Commission. I co-managed that campaign and we beat the POA and Feinstein’s TV ads even though we were outspent 5:1.

        13. Is it that difficult to get the fact that the Police Commission shares power with the Mayor through your skull without turning the conversation back to argumentum ad hominem when you’ve had rings drawn around you logically?

        14. This thread is not about me. The SFPD answers through the Chief of Police to both the Mayor and Police Commission. The onus is on you to disprove my expert statement.

        15. No, the onus is on you to substantiate your claim that “several of us” divested the mayor of power.

          I asked you to prove your alleged role in that and you have ducked, leading doubt to your assertion.

          A newspaper article naming you as a key player would be sufficient. I’ll wait.

        16. Search the Ethics Commission database for ID# :

          1256226

          It has all of the campaign filing details as I was also treasurer of this campaign.

  3. Maybe today the SFPD will point weapons at you and your family, traumatizing your children, while you explain to them that they weren’t harmed and dismiss their fear as unreasonable.

    Just an honest mistake as they terrorize you or someone else.

    News flash: the police lie, commit crimes and are very rarely held accountable.

    From all reports, the Cinco de Mayo festival was peaceful and without significant incidents except for this exuberance from the armed, occupying, untouchable purveyors of state sanctioned violence.

  4. Typical ass racist cops! Fuck Mission station cops they will always be racist ass pigs!!! They do this to our people all the time!!! But if it were a white tech motherfucker everything would be ok! They will just walk up to the car and politely knock and ask if he or she has wepons. Fuck you hipster motherfuckers because you are the ones that “tipped” them off! I bet you said they were brown to. I hope your Google bus catches on fire or you get run over by a recology truck in your Vespa or smart car bitch.

      1. Since the SUVs with Giants stickers which were driven by white families did not get stopped and SUVs with Giants stickers which were driven by a Latino family were stopped and harassed.

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