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Though the San Francisco Police Department originally declined to comment on the raid Wednesday morning, SFPD spokesperson Sgt. Adam Lobsinger informed Mission Local this evening that the incident regards a child pornography investigation.
“Members of the SFPD Internet Crimes Against Children Unit assisted outside local agencies and our federal partners with the investigation of a child pornography suspect,” Lobsinger said in a statement, clarifying that no arrests were made. “The SFPD was not assisting or involved in any immigration enforcement, and only providing support related to the child pornography investigation.”
The Latinx family inside a house near 24th and Potrero streets awoke this morning to the sound of Homeland Security and the San Francisco police officers barging into their home.
“They were pounding on the door, saying, ‘We have a warrant, we’re coming in,’” said Joe Bender, who lives next door. He, along with other neighbors, woke up to the sounds at around 7 a.m. Looking out the window, Bender saw swarms of officers, some armed with rifles, from the Department of Homeland Security, SFPD, and at least one member of the Postal Inspection Service.
“It’s really sad, like awful, traumatic,” said Bender’s roommate, Francesca Manning, who heard voices plotting their entry outside her window around 6:30 a.m., before she was fully awake. “This family’s really nice. They’ve been there for a really long time.”
Bender said he spoke with an SFPD officer, who assured him the raid was not an immigration action, but he seemed unconvinced. As many as 15 people live in the house, including a couple of children.
In the window near the door of the house where the raid occurred sat a tiny Santa Claus, and a large Christmas tree filled the bay windows. The gates to the front steps and front door were wide open around midday. By that time, officials had cleared out. So had any occupants.
Police sources told Mission Local that the presence of the Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security didn’t necessarily mean this was an immigration matter; their combined presence could indicate that the investigation was related to a fraud or trafficking case.
A woman working near the intersection, who did not want to be named, told Mission Local that she saw one person being taken away.
SFPD spokesperson Niccole Pacchetti told Mission Local that Homeland Security is “leading the investigation,” and Sgt. Adam Lobsinger said the “SFPD’s role was to support Homeland Security.” A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said its postal inspector assisted with executing a search warrant at the property.
Manning said she counted 35 agents, in a mix of tactical vests and plain clothes. Most were milling about the property, but some carried all the chairs out of the house and set them in a semi-circle in the open garage.
The residents of the house were brought out to sit in the garage in the cold, wet morning. They were kept there for about four hours.
As she took her child to school later this morning, Manning said she saw two agents taking a child of about 9 from the garage up to the house, alone. When Manning spoke with Mission Local, she had plans to bake muffins to take next door.
Bender said the family are Latinxs who, except for the children, mostly speak Spanish. Many of the residents have lived in the house the entire eight years he has lived there.
Neighbors observing the scene were concerned that the raid may be part of an immigration operation; one neighbor, Bender said, had seen some of the same vehicles conduct a raid down the street a couple months ago.
“The thing that got me worked up was, we’re in a sanctuary city,” Bender said. “Cooperation between the SFPD and Homeland Security bothers me a lot.”
San Francisco’s Sanctuary Ordinance generally prohibits city employees from using city funds or resources to assist ICE in the enforcement of Federal immigration law unless such assistance is required by federal or state law. SFPD policy states that “Members shall not provide assistance to ICE/CBP agents for routine ICE/CBP operations, investigations, or raids.”
Messages to the Department of Homeland Security have not yet been returned. This story will be updated if they are.
“They were searching the house for something,” said Bender, who noticed a locksmith repairing the front gate later this afternoon. “The whole thing must have been incredibly traumatic.”
SFILEN, the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network, provides free legal aid and resources to immigrants who need it. For more information, visit https://sfilen.org/services/
If they suspect-childhood porn, who cares how they get them. Yes it’s traumatic ….. for the children
GRACIAS Mission local por este reportaje para mantenernos informados. Opino que nadie tiene derecho a violentar y trahumar a los residentes de San Francisco y mucho menos a los niños. No debemos permitir que en San Francisco donde hemos luchado como comunidad para conservar nuestra calidad de Santuario y haber ganado, La Ley del Proceso debido se trate a nuestros San Franciscanos con tanta violencia e injusticia.
If they were doing a raid to remove a suspect involved with child pornography I fully support them.
This article lacks a serious investigation into the events. Unfortunately when the term “child pornography “ is introduced there is an immediate assumption of guilt and a shutting down of critical thinking. The SFPD has murdered Latinos and lied about it with impunity (RIP Alex Nieto, Amilcar Pérez López , and many more). Much appreciation to the locals who were looking out for the interests of their neighbors, and let’s reserve judgement until there is more than a statement by a police officer.
Sooooo are we supposed to be feeling sorry that a pedophile was arrested for having child porn? I’d say all the members of that household (especially the CHILDREN) are better off with out them in the house. Everyone in that neighborhood should be thanking HSI and SFPD for taking a predator out of the community. Maybe bake them some muffins too Francesca Manning.
““The thing that got me worked up was, we’re in a sanctuary city”, Bender said. Cooperation between the SFPD and Homeland Security bothers me a lot.”
You are missing two points. First, SF can declare itself to be a “sanctuary city” but that is meaningless because federal law trumps local law.
And second, SFPD always cooperates with state and federal LE for the same reason. If it refused then the Feds would take over local law enforcement in the same way they did in Oakland.
Sounds like you are really arguing for the city to secede from the union.
I support all public service departments of San Francisco.
Don’t know the details but have always confused when people equate sanctuary city with immunity from the law.
Rain is finally here
The main argument for sanctuary is shielding local communities from ICE so that crime victims are not discouraged from coming forward for fear of deportation of themselves and family, friends.
Based on agenda, voices left and right of course want to lead people to believe otherwise.
I fully do not support the SFPD.
If you don’t support the SFPD “NEVER CALL THEM FOR ASSISTANCE “!
Not a betting man but if I was I’d bet ol Mike in the Mission is white and the first to call SFPD
Curry back soon. Looking forward to him sinking the 3 and gesturing night night to the opposing team. See you at Pop’s
I fully support the SFPD.