San Francisco police detained a large group of black men who were doing nothing but recording a rap video in public, ordering them on their knees, handcuffing them and emptying their pockets.
It is not clear from the 11:20 video, which shows the men singing and swaying in front of a video camera to a rap song, what probable cause police had to detain them.
One man was rolling a tobacco product, possibly a marijuana blunt, but that is not enough reason to detain an entire group of men and treat them like dangerous criminals.
But police came out of nowhere within 30 seconds into the video and demanded everybody place their hands up and get down on their knees.
The music stops and one man tells the cops, “we’re shooting a video,” but that didn’t seem to matter to the cops, who proceeded to handcuff each and every one of them, ordering them to sit against a wall while reviewing their identifications.
“Black hoodie, walk back to the sound of my voice now,” one cop can be heard saying moments after ordering the men to place their hands in the air.
“Every one on their knees,” a cop can be heard saying.
The video was uploaded today to a Youtube channel under the username, Brian Storm, titled “W/ Yung Lott shooting artists verses in Hunter’s Point for new joint DEMO.”
According to the Youtube description:
Young men in a poverty stricken neighborhood, purposely staying busy to stay out of trouble, gathered together to do something positive, creative, and productive and ended up being violently stereotyped and prejudged. When there are many murders in San Francisco, is something as harmless as young men shooting a video something almost the entire sfpd needed to be in one place, armed for? If this is the response for that, why is it that when we in poverty stricken neighborhoods need and or call on the sfpd, they do not show up? Food for thought.
The video begins with a man holding a camera, but then he is ordered to place it down and it continues recording, capturing the multitude of cops detaining the men.
The men were extremely cooperative, perhaps even too cooperative, because they should have made a stronger stand for their rights.
But they were also keenly aware that it wouldn’t have taken much to cause those cops to “fear for their lives” and start opening fire.
UPDATE: PINAC investigator Felipe Hemming interviewed Brian Storm, the 29-year-old man film major, who recorded the video. Storm said he also produced a feature film a few years ago called “A Choice of Weapons” where he uses his cameras to expose the injustices of his Bayview neighborhood. Storm told Hemming that he has never been arrested.
Storm said he was shooting the video when the cops confronted them, handcuffed them, rummaged through their pockets and checked their identifications for warrants. The cops then took cellphone photos of the men as they were cuffed. And one cop looked through his camera.
The men were released in an hour without any explanation as to why they were being detained. Storm is not sure if any arrests were made because police had separated them into groups at different locations throughout the park.
Hemming also obtained the dispatch traffic for the incident, which didn’t reveal much. That audio along with a trailer of “A Choice of Weapons” is posted below.