From August 7ths beautiful Lunada Literary Lounge: Poetry Against the Police!
Share with urgent amor!
Poetry Against the Police
At La Mision’s monthly Lunada Poetry Reading on Monday, August 7, 2017, in the heart of La Mision, during an evening of love and celebration, a packed crowd witnessed the unreasonable logic and entitled arrogance of the San Francisco Police Department.
After singing a poem and during intermission, I saw a clearly distressed frail white homeless man fearing for his life. He was almost crying. He then stopped in front of me and the people I was speaking with, and he threw himself on the ground and completely submitted himself in front of us. A buffed out San Francisco police officer with his shotgun in port arms position was aggressively running down the street towards the crowd and then he and his partner arrested this distressed man. There was absolutely no reason for the police officer to have pulled out a shotgun to apprehend this frail man. There was absolutely no reason for this police officer with a loaded shotgun to endanger and terrorize the community. The police officer could have easily gotten nervous and started pulling the trigger. This is not an isolated incident. The San Francisco Police Department has unlawfully killed many Mission community members, including Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, and Luis Gongora.
The senior police officer at the scene tried to justify his partner’s actions, but he was either lying or ignorant about what a “less than lethal” shotgun can do. Note the language of the firearm’s name: it is less than lethal, but not totally non-lethal. We, the crowd, were at point blank range, and if any one of us would have reacted justifiably apprehensive because of this buffed out police officer’s demeanor and actions, then he could have started shooting at us in the crowd. If you think this is hyperbole, please investigate the case of Alex Nieto, who was shot at 59 times by the SFPD for eating a burrito in a gentrified neighborhood.
After I educated them about why we would be reasonably in fear of our lives, the senior police officer dismissed us and then started leaving. The buffed out police officer, before getting back into the squad car, stated “They’re ignorant.” When I rebutted this snide comment, the police then began to try to intimidate me and the crowd, even though all I was doing was practicing my guaranteed First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The senior police officer got out of his car and stated: “You’re not going to stand out here in the middle of the street and walk up to me.” I was totally unarmed. He was going to try to arrest me or worse! I rebutted him with clear and concise arguments, and he did not seem to know how to respond, so they left. Note that no matter how nice the senior police officer may have seemed to be to some people watching this video, he was going to exert beyond his full force once someone questioned his arrogant authority. We, brown people, must experience this type of brutal, condescending, and dismissive attitude on a daily basis.
Yet we rise! We fight! Our culture cannot be killed.
Amor for Alex Nieto and La San Fran Mision!
Benjamin Bac Sierra, M.A., J.D., USMC, SFM
Love and credit to Luis Gutierrez, a reporter with KBBF, for filming the encounter.