SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The San Francisco Police Commission held a meeting Wednesday to discuss the investigation into the hill bomb mass arrest. Police shared bodycam footage of some of the violence they encountered. Parents are still enraged with how it was all handled.
Parents and community members want police to be held accountable for how the kids were treated while being detained at the hill bomb. There are reports of most charges being dropped by the DA, but parents of kids arrested say otherwise.
The body cam footage showed SFPD’s response on July 8 at the Dolores Park hill bomb. More than 80 officers responded to the unsanctioned event.
It ended with 81 kids and 32 adults arrested with a tactic called “encircling,” which is confining a mass group in one area and not letting them leave. Police Chief Bill Scott says they were waiting for a Muni bus to take all the detainees to the police station. People say it took more than four hours, with no contact with parents.
“We saw kettling of young people, not letting them go pee, people having to pee in buckets,” said Kevin Ortiz, the San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club President. “We wouldn’t treat dogs this way. We certainly wouldn’t treat our kids this way.”
One 15-year-old boy was scootering with friends and stumbled upon the hill bomb just before 9 p.m., his mother said.
“They asked the policemen where should we go, the police pointed, said, ‘Go that way.’ They were detained. They were told to stay. They were not allowed to call us. They were zip-tied and forced to stay with a huge group of kids until 1 in the morning,” said the boy’s mother.
The treatment and strategy of arresting children is still being investigated. A lengthy discussion about the police response was held at the police commission meeting Wednesday night. Chief Scott broke down the timeline of events.
“After so many warnings, if you are here regardless of your purpose you are violating the law,” he said.
Police slowed down the video to explain why they reacted the way they did, showing glass bottles and fireworks thrown at officers.
“It was a very dangerous situation,” Scott said. “People laugh at, ‘Oh, it’s just a firework.’ It’s not so funny when you lose your hearing permanently and you lost your career. It’s not funny when fingers are blown off.”
Chief Scott also says weapons were recovered from the scene. Police commissioners questioned Chief Scott and if juvenile arrest protocol was truly followed.
The Department of Police Accountability is still investigating all the complaints and is working on getting more of the bodycam video, but there is a lot to comb through. They will be investigating if the arrests were lawful and if the police processed the kids according to policy.