Activist Equipto detained for filming and chiding police during arrest


Chaos descended in front of Mission Station on Wednesday night as some 60 activists chanted “fuck the police” and charged that police had been violent against a suspect they were arresting and unjustly detained a witness filming the arrest.

The incident began around 6:30 p.m. in front of Everlane, the clothing store at 461 Valencia St., when a pedestrian got into an argument with a couple.  The man called the police, who then arrested the suspect, a young African American man.  As they detained him, a group attending a meeting of the Black and Brown Club for Justice and Equality had been alerted and arrived on the scene.

A local rapper and activist Equipto, or Illych Sato, began filming the incident. In the video, witnesses are screaming at police, “he’s not going to do anything, what the fuck are you doing.” (The full 18-minute video is below. Sato is arrested more than halfway into it.)

At one point, an officer pushes the suspect down and the crowd erupts again.

For the most part, officers stay calm and try to establish a perimeter around the suspect and the officers arresting him, but the crowd won’t have it.  One protester yells, “They slammed him when he was cuffed.”

“Get your hands off me, get your hands off me,” another says.

The officers get the suspect on his feet and he stands against a wall. He then drops again once more before being walked way to a police car.

Minutes after he leaves, police arrest Sato and take him to the Mission Station where the crowd gathers to protest his arrest.

At around 8:30 p.m., Sato was released from Mission Station. By his telling of the events that led to his detainment, the young man was “getting his ass beat” and getting “hit with a club” while in handcuffs when Sato and the others arrived — although Sato’s video does not show a man getting beat with a club.

Filming the whole time, Sato then confronted the cops.

“I was saying that’s wrong — you all shouldn’t be hitting this kid while he’s handcuffed,” he said.

Sato said he and the others were trying to “hold space” as the arrest of the young man continued, while his mother, Gutierrez, brought out a bullhorn and began chanting from it. Sato said he then saw the officers “grab” Gutierrez, and he “came to her aid.”

That’s when six officers, according to Sato, said: “take him down.” Sato said they took him to the ground, put him in handcuffs and took him to Mission Station where he stayed for several hours. Sato was not charged, he said.

Following Sato’s release, protesters gathered at in front of Mission Station, blocking off Valencia Street. “Police are violent, we will not be silent,” they chanted.

The protesters and police then flowed into the intersection of 17th and Valencia, where they continued to chant and taunt a line of police officers. Eventually, the 20-odd police officers walked away from the protesters and back into the station.

Equipto’s video of arrest in front of Everlane from Mission Local on Vimeo.