July 10, 2023
Saturday night, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) conducted an abusive and outrageous mass attack on and arrest of children gathered for an annual skateboarding community event. The SFPD deployed more than 100 officers to kettle, trap, and arrest children, including pointing less lethal weapons at them and using baton force against them. They arrested 113 children and young people, most ages 12-18, confiscated their cell phones so they could not reach their worried parents, handcuffed them with painful zip ties, and detained the terrorized children outdoors in the cold until the early morning hours.
The SFPD is charging the children and young people with incitement to riot and conspiracy among other charges. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund demands these charges be dropped immediately. PCJF also demands that there be an independent community investigation into the command officials who planned and executed this assault and that there be disciplinary action taken against them.
“This was the second police attack on the Mission community in a week. This time Mayor Breed and the SFPD decided to criminalize an annual youth skateboard event, putting children in their crosshairs. They willfully traumatized kids and families to signal how ‘tough on crime’ they are,” said Rachel Lederman, Senior Counsel at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and its project the Center for Protest Law and Litigation. “Leveling these extreme charges against these mostly BIPOC young people de-futurizes them by enmeshing kids in the juvenile or adult criminal system and stigmatizing them with an arrest record for the ‘crime’ of group skateboarding. There is nothing in these actions by city officials that creates a safer community in San Francisco. We demand that the police department, Chief Scott, and Mayor Breed be held responsible for their willful disregard of the safety of these youth.”
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) and its project, the Center for Protest Law and Litigation (CPLL), are free speech, constitutional rights, and civil rights organizations that have represented thousands of individuals and organizations in defense of First Amendment rights for more than 25 years in Washington, DC, and around the country. The PCJF and the CPLL are based in Washington, DC, with a West Coast office located in Oakland, CA. For more information visit www.justiceonline.org or follow us on Twitter: @thePCJF and @ProtestLaw.