San Francisco cops were caught on video beating a man with a nightstick as he cried for help Wednesday, resulting in him being hospitalized.
As always, the police side of the story is in complete contrast to the witnesses’ side of the story.
While several people may have been recording, only one video has emerged so far; a 45-second clip that shows one cop swinging his nightstick at the man while another cop wrestles him to the sidewalk.
The man ends up on his hands and knees and the cop with the nightstick then elbows him hard in the back as the man being arrested continues to yell for help, prompting the cop to order him to “stop fighting.”
The man then winds up on his side and the cops appear to be trying to turn him over on his stomach so they could do the usual pile-on as more sirens can be heard in the distance, a sign of more cops to join the pile-on.
But the videos cuts out, so we are unable to see what takes place afterwards.
According to KDEQ:
Eyewitness accounts of what transpired in the moments before the video was filmed differ from the official police narrative. Gray Hinojosa, a longtime San Francisco resident who said he’d been across the street at an empanada shop, Chile Lindo, when the whole thing started, said he saw Porter headed east on 16th Street on his bicycle when “his jacket got caught. He got off the bike, and he was pissed.” When he stopped suddenly, he was nearly hit by oncoming traffic.
Hinojosa said he watched Porter cross the street via the crosswalk, then lean his bike against a building on 16th Street to untangle his jacket.
“He was swearing in frustration. As he’s making all this ruckus, there’s a cop car driving down … they decided to pull him over. One of them jumped out of the car on the passenger’s side … and went by him. … There was a scuffle, and all of a sudden I heard the cop say, ‘get down on the ground’ … he wasn’t getting down.”
That’s when “one of the cops took the baton and hit him in the leg,” Hinojosa said. “And then, at that point, he got free and started running, and came around the corner and they caught him … They hit him again, twice, with the baton. And then they finally got him down on the ground. And then another [police] car came, and two more came, and they just jumped right on top of him. It wasn’t like, ‘what’s going on? Let’s check out the situation.’ They just started pounding him. … It was excessive. There were police coming from every direction.”
According to the narrative in the police report, two officers on regular patrol “saw the suspect on a bicycle, weaving in and out of pedestrian foot traffic,” Gatpandan said. “Then he … walked against a red light, causing vehicular traffic to stop for him. That’s a violation. … The officers approached him to stop him and detain him for that vehicle code violation. At that point, the suspect tried to get away.”
She said Porter also “struck the officer in the chest more than once,” with his bicycle, causing an injury in the officer’s abdomen. Since the encounter started with a simple vehicle code violation, “he could have been released at the scene after he had been identified, but it went the other way, because he decided to swing the bike towards the officer,” Gatpandan said. “At that point, you’re committing a felony.”
Accordingly, Porter faces a felony charge for assaulting an officer, Gatpandan said, and four additional misdemeanor charges relating to substances found in his possession suspected to be narcotics, plus charges for obstructing an officer of their duties and a probation violation.
Hinojosa stated emphatically that he did not see Porter strike an officer with his bike. “He was trying to untangle his jacket,” Hinojosa said. “I didn’t see him strike an officer or anyone.” Once he’d set his bike against the building, “he didn’t grab it or pick it up,” he said.
Cynthia Crenshaw, another bystander who said she witnessed the encounter, said “he dropped the bike and ran. … And then he was coming around the corner, and there were four on him. And then there were six on him. He didn’t do nothing. But, he’s a black man, with white cops after him. I’m a white person, but I know how these cops are. I’m part of this Black Lives Matter stuff.”
The man’s body appeared limp when officers lifted him up off the sidewalk to transport him to a police vehicle, but an officer on the scene dismissed bystanders’ accusations that he’d been beaten unconscious, saying, “He was never unconscious. He just didn’t want to walk.”
On Friday, two days after the incident, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr announced seven police officers would be suspended for their role in a scandal where they were sending racist text messages, including some that talked about lynching black people and burning crosses.
While that scandal does not appear to be connected, this incident is not going to help their image much.