Clayton Plake reports on the angry response to a video, released online, of San Francisco police assaulting an African American college student.
SAN FRANCISCO police have sparked anger and outrage after officers were caught on videotape carrying out a vicious, unprovoked assault on Kevin Clark, a young African American man, in the city’s Mission district.
Footage of the attack on Clark was captured by what appears to be an anonymous bystander, using their cell phone camera. The video was posted to the Internet by activists from the Idriss Stelley Foundation—a leading organization in the struggle against police brutality in the Bay Area.
Over four minutes in duration, the video opens with an unidentified motorcycle cop riding his bike up onto the sidewalk near the 24th Street BART station and approaching a pedestrian now identified as 18-year-old Kevin Clark, a student at City College of San Francisco. The first cop was followed closely by another officer, also on a motorcycle. Neither cop appears to deliver a command for Clark—who was peacefully walking on the sidewalk—to stop walking or otherwise obey directions.
In the video, one cop uses his motorcycle—the front wheel pointed squarely at Clark’s body—and alternately accelerated and decelerates, seemingly to terrorize Clark. The terrified Clark yells, “Are you going to run me over?” Then the other officer, having stepped off his bike, grabs Clark from behind and throws him to the asphalt with staggering force, pushing him face first into a gutter.
Both cops then throw themselves on top of Clark. Each grabs one of Clark’s arms and pulls them up and back, and one cop digs his knee into Clark’s back. Clark’s screams of pain become interspersed with frantic pleas to be left alone. One cop, still keeping Clark’s arm in a locked position, starts to push the man’s face into a sewer grate.
In short order, a squad car arrives, as do a host of other police officers—no less than 10 officers were deployed to the scene, despite the fact that the victim appeared unarmed and was not resisting arrest. Comments from off-camera eyewitnesses reveal that this is the second African American man the police had stopped in the area in less than 10 minutes.
A rally and march against police brutality has been planned for February 7 at 5 p.m. at 24th and Mission Streets. Visit the Facebook event page for information.
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