Nov. 19, San Francisco
Photo: Krissana Limlamai
On Nov. 15, D’Paris “DJ” Williams was accosted and beaten bloody by three thugs at the Valencia Gardens housing project. When two members of the Valencia Gardens community came to his aid, they were beaten and arrested as well. The thugs happened to be undercover members of a “Violence Reduction Team,” which is a euphemism for narcotics officers. The pretense the officers used for beating Williams was that they claimed he fled when they tried to cite him for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk. Although the police department stated that they had video to back up their claims of Williams’ resistance, they were unable to produce any evidence of it. While the department states that their officers’ actions were justified, they have yet to explain why their undercover narcotics officers were stopping Williams for such a minor traffic offense. When the police searched Williams after his arrest, they found a cupcake and a Capri Sun.
On the cold and rainy evening of Nov. 19, the family of DJ Williams and about 150 people from San Francisco and Oakland joined the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and other organizers to demand an end to police violence. The action started at the Valencia police station with a community speak-out and marched around the block to symbolically encircle the station. Speakers brought up the racial profiling that was obvious in this case and in other cases across the country, and the blue code of silence that is still protecting the officers who committed these violent acts. One speaker made a very impassioned point about the connection to police violence and the ever-accelerating gentrification of the city of San Francisco.
That so many people—organizers, community members and families—came out in the rain to protest this injustice speaks volumes. The people are watching the police and we will continue to organize against police violence and oppression. Rain or shine, when the police commit atrocious acts of brutality, the people will be there to shine a spotlight on their lies and demand accountability.