The office of San Francisco Mayor London Breed sent a statement to SFGATE condemning Saturday’s “hill bomb” event in the Mission and defending the San Francisco Police Department, which made over a hundred arrests, including 81 juveniles.
The unsanctioned, impromptu “hill bomb,” a semiregular event where skaters gather and travel at high speeds down Dolores Street, has been the subject of public safety concerns for a number of years — especially after reports of fights and serious accidents, including a fatal collision with a cyclist in 2020.
There were allegations of vandalism on Muni buses and lights this year, along with fireworks, during the annual hill bombing. However, the SFPD’s heavy-handed response has been criticized for targeting kids and further inflaming the situation rather than de-escalating it (more than a hundred cops showed up, many in riot gear, according to Mission Local).
The tweet below verifies the news:
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said officers involved in the Dolores Hill Bomb response were justified in their actions, which resulted in more than 100 people, including dozens of minors, arrested or cited.https://t.co/OP0IV955Oy
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) July 11, 2023
San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club co-president Kevin Ortiz spoke at a rally, and Mission Local reported that he said, “To go after teenagers — it is immoral, it is wrong, and there needs to be accountability.”
In a statement, the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club said it was “outraged by the large scale show of force by police in military gear against teenagers at Dolores Park,” and Supervisor Dean Preston said he was “at a loss to explain this abuse of power, waste of money, and trauma inflicted on our young people.”
The @harveymilkclub is outraged by the large scale show of force by police in military gear against teenagers at Dolores Park, which led to the arrest and mistreatment of 81 juveniles and 32 adults. See statement below. pic.twitter.com/i9y5zQVOzF
— Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club (@harveymilkclub) July 9, 2023
SFGATE reached out to Mayor Breed on Monday, asking if she thought the large police presence at Dolores Park was an appropriate use of department resources, if she thought it was appropriate for police to detain and arrest at least 81 minors, and what the mayor’s response is to parents who are upset about how SFPD treated their children into the early morning hours on Sunday.
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In response to SFGATE’s inquiry, the mayor’s office released a statement that avoided providing concrete details. “This was an unpermitted event that has led to serious problems in the past, including property destruction and physical injury,” a spokesperson wrote.
“The last time it was held, someone died. In San Francisco, we welcome public events that are conducted safely. This event was not that. People assaulted police officers, set fires, and vandalized property, including Muni vehicles. Individuals on Saturday were arrested over an hour after they were ordered to disperse by the Police and as people continued to destroy property. No one at this event was arrested for skateboarding.”
Dolores Park is located under the jurisdiction of Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who was also provided a similar list of concerns by SFGATE. There was still no word from Mandelman as of Monday afternoon.
SFPD referred to Saturday’s hill bomb as a “riot.” In a statement Sunday, police Chief Bill Scott wrote, “This dangerous and unlawful behavior put members of the public and our officers at risk of serious injury or worse.
“This behavior will not be tolerated in our city and I thank our officers for taking action to hold those accountable who brazenly engaged in reckless and dangerous behavior and violated the law. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries.”
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