Woman hit with foam projectile weapon at Warriors celebration in SF

The foam bullet fired on the crowd of bottle-throwing fans. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

A 26-year-old Warriors fan ended her night in the emergency room with a bruise and two stitches over her eye after police fired foam projectiles into a crowd at 22nd and Mission streets to disperse a crowd that had been throwing bottles at the line of officers.

The woman, a San Francisco resident, requested anonymity. She said she had done nothing wrong, and had in fact been trying to keep safe, and her injury appears to be the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I understand why they did what they did in a way, because I get people are throwing bottles at them, which people should not have been doing,” she said. Nevertheless, she asked, “Why shoot into a crowd of 20 people when there’s kids there? I just know that there may be other ways that they can get crowds to settle down.”

She and her boyfriend had returned to the city from watching the game in Oakland because they feared Oakland might become unsafe. After meeting with her cousin and her boyfriend’s brother and dropping in at Balancoire, she and her group headed along Mission Street to the car she had left parked on 22nd Street.

On the way, it became clear that police were starting to move people off Mission Street, having declared the gathering illegal over loudspeakers. Revelers had lit a bonfire in the street, and many threw glass bottles at officers.

Then the woman heard officers firing something, which those on the scene guessed were rubber bullets. Police confirmed officers fired 40 millimeter (1.5 inches)  foam batons.

The injury.

The woman says she and her group ducked into a Wells Fargo entryway alcove facing Mission Street. A group of 20 or so others, including a boy the woman estimated to be five or six years old, also huddled to avoid being hit.

“It was hidden so I thought it would be safe in there,” she said. The woman tried to protect her younger cousin. “I’m like, ‘stay behind me…If you get hit with one it’s not like getting hit with a paintball.’ She wanted to go up and take video.”

But it appears that the projectile hit the woman after ricocheting off the wall of the alcove.

“I’m thinking we’re good, we’re safe, we’re in the corner. I guess it hit me and I didn’t even realize it for like three seconds,” she said. “Someone said, oh shit she’s [bleeding]. I thought it was my cousin. My blood literally was squirting on her.”

A Mission Local photographer encountered the woman almost immediately after she was struck, but at the time, she declined to be photographed.

A police spokesperson, Sgt. Michael Andraychak, wrote that after several fires were started police tried to escort firefighters to the area, but that they were unable to access the fires because of the bottles being thrown by the crowd.

“Several dispersal orders were given but members of the crowd continued to throw dozens of bottles at officers,” Andraychak wrote. “Officers used extended range impact weapon (ERIW) projectiles after identifying members of the crowd who were throwing bottles.”

Andraychak did not have any information by press time about the number of civilians injured. He encouraged civilians to bring complaints to any supervisor at a police station or to the Department of Police Accountability, formerly the Office of Citizen Complaints.  

The woman has filed a complaint with the Department of Police Accountability.

Next, she will wait for the swelling on her eye to go down in order to get her eye examined, in the hopes that no permanent damage has been done to the eye on the injured side.

“I didn’t realize how much I use my eyebrows when I talk,” the woman said Thursday morning by way of describing the extent of her pain. “It’s not that bad anymore…At least I still have my eye.”

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One Comment

  1. Ben Toro

    Wait – some random bystander got not one but two whole stitches. Is this news? Next time lead with the source acts of violence. Really grasping on this one. #newlow

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