Impromptu Demonstration Gets Out of Hand; Police Blame Protesters, Protesters Blame Police
|There's rocks in those bags|
Office Gordon Shyy tells us that these protesters wore all black and identified themselves as members of criminal street gang the Black Bloc. If there were some traffic delays along Market Street on Saturday afternoon, then these guys are to blame, police said.
When officers were called out to break up the chaos, demonstrators allegedly tossed projectiles, road flares, and paint bags filled with rocks, hitting at least one officer in the head. They also vandalized cars and storefronts along their route, according to police.
"Several officers were struck with these "paint grenades," which covered the officers and their uniforms in paint," Shyy said. "Due to the ongoing assaults against police officers and the threat to public safety, police moved swiftly to stop their progress and place them under arrest at California and Battery streets."
A portion of the group broke through the police line and ran to the area of Pine and Sansome streets where they were arrested by additional officers standing by. In the end, 20 people were hauled to jail and booked on the following charges: conspiracy; riot; refusing to obey a lawful order from a peace officer; resisting, delaying, or obstructing a peace officer; and assault and battery on a peace officer.
Police searched the backpacks of those arrested and found that many of them had been armed with hammers, ice picks, road flares, illegal fireworks, more bags of paint containing rocks, and other weapons, Shyy said.
However, witnesses explained to KTVU that police had used "undue force," meaning they used their batons.
Police believe that many of these protesters were also responsible for the chaos that occurred in the Mission District last month, where cars and businesses were damaged when an unruly group of people rallied against police hours after an undercover cop shot and injured an alleged gang member.
Anyone who saw what happened Saturday is asked to notify San Francisco Police by calling the Special investigations Division at 553-1133, the Anonymous Tip Line at 575-4444, or text-a-tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.