'Occupy SF' protesters disrupt police meeting

October 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The San Francisco Police Commission got up and walked out after "Occupy SF" protesters disrupted Wednesday night's meeting. However, when the meeting resumed, there was a better decorum by the protesters and some promises made by the police.

Camping out in the name of economic change just got a bit more convenient and the demonstrators left city hall pretty happy by the end of the meeting.

The meeting started with some shouting and the public comment session dissolved into argumentative chaos. That's when the Police Commission walked out.

The protesters chanted "SFPD where is your humanity?"

This outrage follows the arrests of five Occupy San Francisco demonstrators on Sunday night as police tried to take down tents at their encampment at Justin Hermann Plaza across from the Ferry Building.

After a break, the session resumed in a more orderly fashion and the public comments period continued.

Jeremy Miller, an Occupy SF protester, pointed out to the commission that these were "San Francisco police officers brutalizing peaceful, youthful protesters exercising their first Amendment Rights of freedom of speech and assembly."

Occupy SF protester Regina Johnson said, "I am one of tens of thousands of people in this city who live check to check and are waiting to be on the street like the people who are occupying San Francisco."

In the end, the Police Chief Greg Suhr promised to back off and even offered support. He said, "We realize that this movement could go on indefinitely and as such, I'm actually working with the mayor's office personally to put the port-a-potties and the hand washing stations down there. I can assure you that our efforts are to keep it safe and facilitate the First Amendment demonstration."

The crowd erupted in applause after Suhr said that.

Earlier on Wednesday, former labor secretary and political economist Robert Reich of UC Berkeley addressed Occupy San Francisco in person and fueled the fire.

"The 400 richest people in America own more of America in terms of wealth than the bottom 150 million put together," said Reich through a bullhorn to the crowd.

To reporters he said, "I think this movement is really shining a spotlight onto something that has for too long not been discussed."

Reich advocated patience and persistence.

There is no word yet on how much the port-a-potties the police commission promised will cost the city, but there does appear to be consensus that Occupy SF is here to stay.


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