[Hpn] Cop harassment/violence report

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Thu, 09 Nov 2000 20:22:27 -0700

Cop harassment/violence report

by Adam Arms, COH Staff Attorney

On September 22, I visited the SFPD holding cell at the Hall of Justice.
This was an involuntary visit.  I was arrested, in my capacity as a defense
attorney, for trying to walk through an illegally formed police line to
visit clients arrested in a demonstration that occurred earlier in the day.
I was handcuffed and brought to the cell, where I had occasion to witness a
disturbing display of police brutality.

A San Francisco Police Officer led a handcuffed man into the holding cell.
The officer spun the man around and told him to sit down on the bench.  The
cop said this on his way out of the cell, almost as an afterthought.  The
man was not acting out and was simply standing near the corner of the room.
The man responded, "I'd prefer to stand, thank you" and remained standing,
facing the officer.  Five or six feet separated the officer from the
handcuffed man, who was much shorter and smaller than the cop.

The officer stepped back into the cell and faced the man.  The cop shifted
his weight back and onto his left foot while beginning to lift his right
leg.  The officer then lunged forward with a solid kick to the handcuffed
man's chest.  The subject was driven into the wall by the force of the kick.
Because his hands were handcuffed behind his back, he could not ward off the
blow to his chest and there was no way to soften the impact of his body
against the wall.

The man bounced off the wall and slumped down onto the bench, obviously
stunned and hurt.  The cop then approached the subject.  He kneeled down,
lifted up his head and said "now you be a good little boy."  The officer,
who was white, then slapped/patted the man, who was African American, on the
side of the face, and repeated "now you be a good boy."


Ain't the worlds best writer, ain't the world's best speller, but when
I believe in something, I'm the world's loudest yeller.   Woody Guthrie

A Publication of the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
415 / 346.3740 - voice
415 / 775.5639 - fax