A man speaks at a podium at City Hall
Shamann Walton speaks at City Hall on Feb. 1, 2023. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

San Francisco’s only Black city supervisor, Shamann Walton, is facing attacks from all directions this week, from those opposing his work to uplift the Black community, to others who say he doesn’t do enough. 

Some of the criticism is perhaps warranted due to his own behavior — Walton flipped off a protester last week — but much of the vitriol is unfounded, his office says. 

Ahead of a reparations hearing next month that will consider repaying eligible Black residents for systemic subjugation under the city’s public policies, the District 10 supervisor, who initiated the process with a 2020 resolution, has been getting threats and hate mail. 

Walton’s office said Wednesday that it “has received multiple hateful and threatening calls and emails” from across the country “that are cause for alarm.” 

Mission Local reviewed one such letter filled with racial slurs addressed to Walton’s office. Walton’s aide, Tracy Gallardo Brown, told Mission Local that one of her interns was too stressed out to come in to work today. 

The public became more aware of the reparations plans this week, after Walton’s vacation during his birthday, and subsequent flight delays, caused the hearing, originally scheduled for Tuesday, to be delayed. Egged on by some inflammatory headlines, critics and trolls took to social media to accuse Walton of partying instead of doing his job. 

Around the same time, video from a rally last week showed Walton flipping off a protester during a rally held in solidarity after a young Black man, Tyre Nichols, was brutally killed by Memphis police last month. 

The protester accused Walton and other speakers of hypocrisy for not supporting local police violence victims: The rally organizer, Phelicia Jones, did not allow at least one victim of local police violence to speak. It is not clear that Walton had anything to do with their exclusion. 

“It’s taking away from what is really happening,” said Gallardo, Walton’s aide, of the rally interaction. “And what’s really happening is, reparations recommendations are coming out and people are flipping out.” 

In a statement today, Walton’s office offered remorse for the supervisor giving the middle finger to a heckler. 

“After repeated attacks from this individual, Supervisor Walton raised his finger and flicked him off. This action from Supervisor Walton, as a result of continued harassment from this person, was wrong,” the statement read. “Although freedom of speech is a right, this individual’s actions are a dishonor to the memory of Tyre Nichols and extremely disrespectful to the Black Community. This individual has a history of attacking Supervisor Walton, as well as other community members in San Francisco.”

Adroa “Doggtown Dro” Anderson, the protester who shouted at Walton with a bullhorn at last week’s rally, had followed him to his car in recent weeks, Walton told Mission Local, and “threatened” him at the rally. “He is upset because he is not an SF resident and I won’t keep responding to his harassment,” Walton wrote in a text. 

“There was absolutely nothing of that nature whatsoever,” Adroa wrote in a statement to Mission Local in response to Walton’s accusations. “I vented my frustration at the hypocrisy of advocating for police accountability remotely but being silent when it’s in your own city and district, as is transcribed in the video and expounded in the caption.”

Anderson said that Walton only appeared to be progressive or “a lone voice of common sense on public police policy votes” when contrasted with other more right-leaning Board members.

Whether Walton had any knowledge of the rally’s screening process by its organizer is unclear. When he spoke at the rally, he did not mention April Green, the aunt of a police shooting victim who was told explicitly that she could not speak at the rally because of her political views. Asked about his support for Green, whose nephew Keita O’Neil was shot dead in Walton’s district in 2017, Walton told Mission Local he had been supporting victims like her for years. 

“I don’t need to defend my track record,” Walton wrote in a text. “People can research ALL of the justice reform work I do.” 

This is not the first time Walton has come under fire for acting inappropriately at City Hall. In August, Walton was accused of using the N-word in a dispute with a sheriff’s cadet, in frustration over being searched more than his colleagues upon entry to the building. That, Walton suggested at the time, was in retaliation for his work to develop a sheriff’s oversight board. 

At the time, fellow supervisor Aaron Peskin told Mission Local that, even though he set off the metal detector every time he entered City Hall, he had never been made to remove his belt by security, as Walton was. 

Walton’s misfortune regarding a delayed flight following a pre-planned vacation was used by all factions to portray him as irresponsible, uniting both those supportive of and those opposed to his politics. 

“These recent actions are additional proof of how Black leaders are treated and reacted to when they seek to change systems of oppression,” read the statement from Walton’s office. “While we understand the passion for justice reform, Supervisor Walton’s work on justice reform speaks for itself.” 

Walton, who until last month was the board president and second most powerful leader in the city after the mayor, has helped push through various efforts to support Black communities, Gallardo said. This includes the CAREN Act to prevent racially motivated 911 calls, his work toward closing juvenile hall, implementing sheriff oversight, and the effort of redirecting $120 million from the police budget to the Black community.

“Let’s grade him on the work that he’s done,” said his aide Gallardo, who called the situation “very frustrating” for Walton. “Anything he does, he gets attacked for — anything.” 

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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  1. Why are the Bored of Stupidvisors (TM) even wasting their (representing our) time with this ludicrous reparations proposal?
    Pandering (ass kissing) much???

  2. This doggy or puppy Dre. Whatever he goes by. Got ran out the Mission (I was there). Now he attacking the bayview. Lol. Only a matter of time till this clown gets ran out the bayview. Shamann Walton won’t sell out. That’s why he’s being attacked by transplants and people who don’t even reside in the city. #sanfranmission! To the bayview!

  3. If anybody takes a step back and rationally looks at an issue that does not mean they are racist or ill informed. It can actually mean they have a well researched, logical argument that opposes those who think another way.
    For example the concept that has proposed to give African Americans born in, or residing in San Francisco a reparation check for $5 million.
    Logic would dictate that in a Citywith a black population of approximately 40,000 African Americans, if even 25% qualified that would be 10,000
    African Americans receiving checks for $5 million dollars. For those of you who may have taken math in high school that would be $50 billion.
    That be approximately 5 years of SF’s total budget. In what world would that be financially feasible. In addition we would be rewarding SF residents
    reparations in a state that neither condoned, authorized, nor implemented
    Slavery in any form. Objecting to such a concept would seem to me to be rational and showing a certain level of common sense., or would I somehow be a racist?

  4. I have trouble taking this reparations thing seriously. My instinct is that it’s an effort to create a large pot of funds that various corrupt allies of people on the committee (or probably in the end, the Mayor) can dip into. IE it won’t actually result in cash handouts to adult descendants of African American slaves resident in San Francisco but will morph into something more….accessible to people with their hands on the levers of SF’s cash register.

    There have been plenty of injustices in California and San Francisco history but it seems to me that these guys are using the “reparations” buzzword as progressive sounding armor for a scheme; after all, the idea of ‘reparations’ is really about slavery.

    California was never a slave state.
    The vast majority of San Francisco residents are not descendants of US slave owners. Shoot, the majority of residents probably have NO ancestry in the US dating to 1864.
    And the numbers the committee is batting around are ludicrous. $5,000,000 per adult black resident comes to approximately 236 billion dollars. These are not serious people.
    But I would be interested in hearing arguments to the contrary, this is not a rant.

    1. Your instinct is correct and it should have been obvious to all who have been duped by the SF authoritarian hand-maidens of their totalitarian rulers who like to call themselves “progressives”. Of course this – and the recently announced new housing initiative – will be like all other “programs” SF city government has come up with – merely creative ways to pay the politicians and their cronies. Although, the fake progressives will no doubt give “reparations” to a small amount of their henchmen who happen to be black and a small amount of housing to more of their henchmen (who will rent it out for sky-high rent because they’re corrupt, greedy and don’t personally need the housing).

    2. You are absolutely correct sir… look at the unfit non-profits reaping tens of millions of City money, ALL connected to Room 200 and some was referred to the FBI to investigate (image the most corrupt city ask the FBI to investigate)
      Same family and friends program was on-going since 2006 with Zula Jones and her minority certification and set aside contracts program also investigated by the FBI and lets pass by what Nuru and Kelly did with their contracts at the SFPUC and DPW.
      And finally, five “Sales Force” tower size building are EMPTY in DT SF ready for residency compliance for the friends and family program to get the money.
      What I would like to ask, what long term benefit would anyone gain when a $5M sits in their lap, would they really fix their life, go to school, educate themself and get a job or will be drugs and party until there is no tomorrow?

  5. He is the most unprofessional and rude Supervisor I’ve seen – remember when he bullied that security guard for no reason? I wonder why he gets a pass…

  6. Starting to get the feeling that Supervisor Walton, who represents my district, is on the receiving end of dirty tricks and critical innuendo because he hasn’t sold out to any of SF’s power groups. I see someone who, while human with the usual number of faults, is working hard to help people in our underserved area and addressing vital social issues such as racial justice that have way too long been set aside as too big or outside the scope of each and every government meeting. This is San Francisco! Maybe we cannot fix everything, but we can surely do something. I applaud Supervisor Walton for trying and hope his sincere efforts won’t be inhibited by insincere, ad hominem attacks and suggestions that he should be perfect in every way in order to receive the respect we all deserve and too often take for granted.

  7. Dogs**t Dro. Local unsuccessful rapper, non-SF resident troll who injects himself into local political issues. Mission local don’t give this bum the attention he so desperately seeks. This guy is uninformed and just walks around with his bullhorn starting shit. He’s a total clown.

    1. Dro has done what he has needed to do to make his voice heard, and he has succeeded in that. Walton lost his cool, and got scolded like a child.

      If Walton had kept his composure and ignored the heckling, this article wouldnt have been worth writing. Note, Dro’s name didn’t make the cut in ML’s initial reporting covering the rally’s disruptions.

      Dro made a political cash withdrawal on Walton. Walton is now on thin ice, and his temper may end up being his downfall.

      1. As noted in the comments this clown Dro is irrelevant. He won’t be anyone’s downfall. A political activist wannabe who’s all noise and no IQ. If being heard is annoying people and convincing them you’re a tool then yes he’s very much heard.

        Young Glove is back . Let’s get those rings

        1. Aww. Hopefully he sees you and Walton’s slights and learns to behave himself. I’ll keep my finger crossed.

  8. “Asked about his support for Green, whose nephew Keita O’Neil was shot dead in Walton’s district in 2017, Walton told Mission Local he had been supporting victims like her for years.”

    If that is Walton’s answer, then good he got called out.

  9. 5% of SF voters are black. Over 80% of SF voters are white or asian. What are the odds that a proposition to raise taxes to make race-based handouts will ever pass in this city?

    1. It’s not a white black issue as much as it is a completely insane idea and won’t pass solely based on the stupidity of it

    2. The Board of Supervisors doesn’t plan to let us vote on this because they know what would happen if they did.

      The insane $5 million payment based on the color of someone’s skin is an issue where a recall may be necessary to prevent it.