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PCJF, SF Latinx Democratic Club Urge SFPD to Change Tactics and Protect Children at Annual Skateboarding Event 

Today, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund sent a letter to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the city’s attorneys in response to SFPD’s June 26, 2024, statement threatening to again make mass arrests in connection with this year’s planned Dolores Hill Bomb scheduled for July 6. PCJF urged the SFPD to change its tactics to protect the youth participating rather than target them. 

Each year, high school students organize a skateboard event in which community members gather to watch participants skate down Dolores Street. Last year, more than 100 police officers with the SFPD descended on the event, sealing off streets, and proceeded to corral, trap, and arrest 113 young people, without giving notice, warning, or opportunity to disperse. The minors, primarily children of color, were then held outdoors and on buses for up to 7 ½ hours, handcuffed, in the cold, without access to bathrooms. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund has filed a civil rights class action lawsuit against San Francisco and police commanders on behalf of the children and young adults who were victimized by the police.

“If SFPD takes an aggressive and provocative approach again this year, it is predictable that the SFPD will create a situation resulting in unlawful arrests, unlawful force on minors, and attendant liability to the City, as well as injuries and trauma to our community’s youth. The teens arrested last year have described now mistrusting police and feeling less safe when officers are nearby – a cycle that will only continue if the SFPD continues to act unlawfully,” Rachel Lederman, Senior Counsel with the PCJF, said in the letter.

“It’s unacceptable that after last year’s hill bomb and the mass arrest of nearly 100 youth of color, that there has been zero work done by the city to prevent history repeating itself. The lack of city preparation is evident and will only result in increased policing of our young people. The city must fully permit and plan for the event, ensuring the safety of participants and bystanders. Our community and youth deserve better than this half-hearted approach to public safety,” said Kevin Ortiz, Co-President of the San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club.

“Last year, my 15-year-old son was on his way to a friend’s house when police corralled him, refused to let him leave, and detained him until three in the morning along with so many other kids. He had never even heard of the Hill Bomb. It’s shameful that SFPD has not learned its lesson and seems intent on repeating its mistakes and that our children will be the victims of those mistakes,” said Lisa Etherington, a mother to one of the 81 children arrested in 2023.

The PCJF stands ready to take all appropriate legal action to address further civil rights violations from the SFPD should they once again attack participants in this community event.