Drop SF PIE-throwers' charges: protect homeless, free speech,

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 28 Nov 1998 23:18:26 -0400

Lawyer Kim Malcheski writes below that in San Francisco, CA "[t]he City has
a de facto policy of harassing homeless people to drive them out of certain
business districts and fashionable neighborhoods."  That the pie-throwers
facing charges were protesting Mayor Bown's role in
these "street sweeps" has largely been ignored by mainstream media reports.

FWD  Letters, 11/26/1998, San Francisco Bay Times [paper not on Internet]

Kim Malcheski
San Francisco

        The Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution regarding the
recent pie-throwing incident involving Mayor Brown.  At the Board's meeting,
community leaders called for the felony prosecution of and state prison
sentences for those responsible.

        I am writing as an attorney for one of those accused with battery as a
result of the pie-throwing incident, because the pie-throwing incident has
been completely blown out of proportion in regard to the gravity of the
incident.  Many public figures and political leaders have been pied over the
years without felony arrests or prosecutions of the pie throwers.  Only in
liberal San Francisco has pie throwing become such a great threat to public
safety.  Certain supervisors seem to have misplaced priorities in regard to
how this incident compares with the more pressing social issues facing this

        It is indeed unfortunate that Mayor Brown's ankle was injured
during the
incident.  That was certainly no one's intent.  It must be understood that
Mayor Brown was not injured as a result of the pie throwing, but was in fact
injured when he physically wrestled one of the pie throwers to the ground.
While the Board of Supervisors may be justified in their concerns in regard
to their and the Mayor's safety, the pie-throwing incident cannot be
compared to violent attacks on San Francisco public officials in the past.
A pie cannot seriously be compared with a firearm.  Quite simply put, pies
are not deadly weapons.

        A supervisor was reported to have said at the Board's meeting that
there is a "crisis of incivility" in the City.  If there is such a crisis of
"incivility," it is the way in which homeless people and ordinary folks are
treated by the police on a daily basis.  While the Matrix policy was
officially ended by the Mayor, the Matrix practice of citing homeless people
on a variety of minor offenses continues to this day.  The City has a de
facto policy of harassing homeless people to drive them out of certain
business districts and fashionable neighborhoods.

        Just recently, several homeless people had their throats slit while
were sleeping on the streets of San Francisco because of the lack of
adequate housing and decent homeless shelters.  One woman--who was sleeping
in front of the Women's Building in the Mission District died from having
her throat slit.  Why hasn't the Board passed a resolution condemning the
assaults on homeless people?  Why hasn't the Board passed a resolution
calling on SFPD to stop harassing homeless people?  Where are the cries of
outrage in regard to the mistreatment of homeless people in this city?  Are
homeless people entitled to any less protection than their elected public

        Even liberal San Francisco has a double standard of justice:  One
for those in power, and one for the poor, people of color, youth and the
homeless. Not only do the police mistreat and harass homeless people, but San
Francisco police officers have killed several unarmed people in the last
several years.  None of the police officers arrested [should be
accused-tyler] in those killings have been arrested, jailed, or prosecuted
for their crimes.  What has the Board of Supervisors done to stem the
epidemic of police violence in our city?  Nothing.  Has the Board passed a
resolution calling for an investigation into these recent deaths?  No.  Has
the Board passed a resolution calling for the banning of pepper spray?  No.
Will the Board investigate the recent military-style raid on a housing
project in the Western Addition?  The Board's silence on these critical
issues speaks volumes.

Kim Malcheski
San Francisco
Letters, 11/26/98, San Francisco Bay Times

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