Last night hundreds of San Francisco police showed up at Justin Herman Plaza in riot gear to forcibly remove a hundred or so people at the encampment of OccupySF… Occupiers described it as a sneak attack as police swarmed in from all directions including cops on motorbikes.. 70 people were arrested as police stood guard while sanitation workers trashed tents and threw away full backpacks containing everything from homeless people’s life possessions to laptop computers.
During the raid there were a number of cops who could be seen sneering and laughing at the protestors who yelled at them to stop. As cops made arrest of those refusing to disperse, folks yelled out badge numbers so those watching on live Ustreams could bear witness and better identify offending officers.
As folks watched the officers go to town on SF Occupiers one could not help but note how important it was that they connect the dots and be reminded about the brutality SFPD routinely unleashes on citizens in SF’s Bayview district.
One individual in particular, Fly Benzo is a frequent target by police because he’s so outspoken on their brutality. He has been a leading dissenting voice after SF police shot to death 19-year-old Kenneth Harding this summer. Harding was accused of not paying a two dollar bus fare and fleeing from police when confronted… Benzo during a press conference angered police by pointing out how what they did in killing Harding was not unusual. He also noted the irony of the police not being able to solve any of the murders in their community, but somehow seem to be able to ‘find’ everyone who doesn’t have proper permits for amplified sound, expired car tags or drinking in public.. For speaking out Fly Benzo found himself being arrested and hemmed up by police on at least two occasions…
Today when OccupySF regroup at the Ferry Building at noon, we hope those who were brutalized by police last night keep in mind the plight of folks like Fly Benzo and find ways to break bread, share resources and fight back the police together… Here’s a recent video from Fly
We also wanted to share with you some of the day to day work Occupy SF was and continues to do… below is some of our coverage from a march they did over the weekend about foreclosures….