File photo.

A Dolores Park visitor who took video of a confrontation between his friends and some parks enforcement officers who cited them for playing amplified music says he could have handled the situation better.

Matthew Card, who recorded an encounter with Recreation and Parks officer J. Chan after being cited for playing amplified music, said he and his friends are now thinking about ways they can help contribute to keeping the park clean, like organizing a cleanup crew. But they still have some reservations about the way the park rules were enforced.

“The more I think about it, the more I know and admit that I could have handled the situation better,” Card wrote. “I think we reacted the way we did because the officers came up to us out of nowhere and ticketed us right off the bat, but continued to exclaim they were there to clean up the trash.”

Card and his friends had brought a laptop and a mixer to the park and were playing music through a speaker. An argument then developed over whether or not the group could have a table in the park with them. Connie Chan, a spokesperson for Rec & Park, confirmed Card’s friend was cited for playing amplified music, and said that informing people about other rules they might be breaking is another part of a parks officer’s job.

“Our Park Patrol officers focus on outreach and education as well as issuing citations when people are warned and do not comply,” Chan wrote.

Rec & Park was unable to immediately arrange an interview with the parks officer in the video.

From Card’s perspective, enforcement still seems inconsistent.

“We weren’t doing anything anyone else wasn’t doing that day, so it was just really confusing,” Card wrote.

In fact, he took video that day of another group playing amplified music and recalled the parks officers talking with a different group of people selling hamburgers from a table. It’s not clear whether or not those vendors had a permit, though the park is known and, in many cases, sought out for its collection of unpermitted and sometimes illegally practicing vendors. They do sometimes get caught – among the 12 citations issued in Dolores Park that weekend, Chan wrote, some were for unauthorized vending.

Once the video was posted by KRON and SFIst, Card found himself inundated with criticism, and some sparse support, from media and readers who had watched his then public Facebook video of the incident. Some of it, he says, was unfounded.

“We’re not tech bros,” he wrote. “The group I was with represent a variety of backgrounds, some new to SF and some lifers, some gay and some straight and so on.”

For now, Card says he’s trying to put the whole incident behind him. The Facebook video has been removed, and he and his friends are thinking about ways to contribute to keeping the park in good shape, perhaps even finding a way to collect donations for Rec & Park.

“I care about SF and Dolores a lot, and it sucks that I went about this the wrong way,” he wrote. “So I guess moving forward, I’m going to approach this kind of thing differently and I’m just hoping the rangers do too.”

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  1. Compare and contrast: we were having a nice picnic in a Paris park with some (French) friends when two rangers informed us severely that it was illegal to drink wine in the park, so would we please hide it – “and keep it out of the sun! That spoils the wine.”

  2. Sorry Mr Card, but your public Mea Culpa lacks conviction. Maybe it’s really just the embarrassment factor that is driving your tepid response to our overwhelming digust at you and your friends actions. My suggestion would be for each of your party to make a very heartfelt private amends to the officers you so readily offended.

  3. It would have been hilarious if Officer Chan took Bro-hole up on his “request” to ticket everybody. Because Bro would have been the complainant of record.

  4. These people are trash. The park rules are established by the city. The officers enforce the rules established by the city. If these jerks have an issue with the rules they need to take it up with the city. Yet, these people have no respect for the rules or officers. Most of the people in the city are like this. No respect for law enforcement. Thank the media who always parade these kinds of encounters as headlines. It is this kind of behavior that causes the extreme rift between city law enforcement and the people they try to protect. That situation could have quickly turned into people throwing stuff at the officers.

    The park officer should have cited the guy for delaying an officer, a misdemeanor.

  5. I took the time to read the Park&Rec. code. Household ‘furniture’ (not household ‘items’ as the officer stated) is not permitted under the ordinances related to ‘camping.’ I believe the individuals involved were ‘picknicking’, so a table should be permitted. In this regard the officer was wrong, IMHO. There are even picnic tables at some locations in SF parks, and people set them up all the time for parties. (PS, I am not the RK above).

  6. Card my try to work on his attitude and the way he treats people. How dare he speak to anyone like this.

  7. Kudos to Officer Chan. He’s out there trying to do his job and when questioned about what laws he’s there to enforce, he states it clearly. If the “bros” had passed the attitude test in the first place by just being polite, taking responsibility, and addressing their indiscretions, maybe they wouldn’t have ended up with a ticket and instead, gotten a warning, learned about the rules, and enjoyed the rest of their day.

  8. Nah, the officer can handle the situation better. When questioned what the rule is, and why only they are targeted, then there is an issue. The citizens handled it fine.

  9. well, everyone’s doing so why did we get in trouble?

    it’s called diffusion of responsibility. you’re not supposed to do it, but because everyone else is doing it, you feel safe in the crowd and get away with it. someone was going to get confronted by the rangers sooner or later. just own up to it, no buts, no nothing. you did it. you are no better than all the other bros out there.

    1. Yup, I see the same thing every day in Lafayette Park re: dogs. Dogs are required to be leashed in the park except for in the ample off-leash area.
      This rule is roundly flaunted….is it ’cause “everyone else is doing it”?

  10. Officer Chan deserves a medal. Keeping his cool impressively against arrogance and self-entitlement: I’ll thank him personally if I ever get the privilege. To be fair, it sounds like Young Master Card might finally be discovering an overdue sense of awareness and responsibility..

  11. What a bunch of stupidity all around. The cops could have handled that better and the bros with the music.

  12. Stop being jerks !! Follow the rules !! Everybody knows there’s no smoking in the park
    Spoiled little brats !!

  13. i say cite them all! i’m tired of dolores park looking like a junkyard and i’m tired that a select few ruin it for everyone!

    1. I’ve walked my dog there many times over 15 years as do all the animal owners in the city, it’s only crowded on the weekends, usually by naked people sitting on all the poop and pee left by our animals. Debauchery at SF’s best and then someone builds a huge park for children and there are complaints. Hmmmmm

    1. Ditto. Why can’t this guy just follow the rules. He sounds like an 8 year old: but they are doing it.. so I can break the rules too? And name calling.. yeah.. so mature….

  14. Matthew. I was one of those people who viewed the clip with total dismay and disbelief. The first thing you you need to do is apologize to the officer you insulted, for one thing. He’s doing the work the citizens of this city want him to do. And he really doesn’t get paid enough to deal with your incomprehension that you might be asked to place limits on your behavior so that everyone can enjoy the park.

    You also really need to understand that not everyone who goes to the park wants or needs to listen to amplified music. I personally can’t stand it, and I know I’m not alone in this. The biggest issue with increased density is increased noise. It isn’t relaxing to listen to loud music.

    It’s relaxing to listen to the sounds of the city itself, you know? Birds singing, the sound of human voices… to relax. I’ve lived in the Mission for 24 years and believe me the insane and non-stop gregariousness that has descended on the Mission District sucks, to put it bluntly.
    I’m going to ask SF Parks and Rec to start enforcing all the codes that in years previous hadn’t been enforced including drinking and amplified music. Dolores Park feels off limits to anyone to anyone who might just want to go lie in the sunshine and read a book. Which is what I used to do.

  15. I wouldn’t feel to bad for the Rec and Park police. While in plain clothes as a spectator dad at a youth baseball game of 11 and 12 year olds, an SF Rec and Park coach assaulted a juvenile umpire. When the umpire pushed the coach away from him, a spectator baseball dad came from the stands and also put his hands on the juvenile umpire. When the umpire pushed this dad away from him as well, the model citizen dad pulled out a badge and threatened to arrest him.

    The dad was none other than Jonathan Chan of the SF Rec and Park police force.

    This happened just two weeks ago and was in plain view of numerous spectators and reported to SF Rec and Park. The result? The SF Rec and Park coach is still coaching kids and Jonathan Chan is till on the police force.

    I guess it’s OK to assault kids under color of authority, but everybody needs to cry Officer Chan a river when a punk hipster backtalks him.

  16. what about the people who wound up sitting near you, who didn’t want to listen to your friend’s beats? what about that? did you ever think that maybe not everyone wants to listen to your amplified music? you guys were out to lunch from the very start bud. grow up.

  17. He should be forced to wear a public shaming sandwich board at the park this weekend.