SFPD chief speaks after officers in tactical gear arrest, cite 100+ people at skateboarding event

"Do we expect our officers to stand there and be hit with bottles? And explosives and not protect themselves," Chief Scott said.

Luz Pena Image
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
SFPD chief speaks after 100+ arrested, cited at skateboarding event
San Francisco police chief is speaking out after officers arrested and cited more than 100 people at the "hill bomb" skateboarding event last weekend.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- New response Monday to last weekend's chaotic scene at San Francisco's Dolores Park. More than 100 people include many juveniles were arrested by police during an unpermitted skateboarding event called a "Hill bomb."

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said they initially went into the event hoping to prevent it.

A chaotic scene as 81 juveniles and 32 adults arrested or cited on Sunday in San Francisco. Images show officers wearing tactical gear while fireworks were being thrown at them. Multiple Muni vehicles also vandalized.

"Do we expect our officers to stand there and be hit with bottles? And explosives and not protect themselves. That will never happen and the public should not expect the officers to be in that position," said Chief Bill Scott.

VIDEO: Protestors rally at SFPD station after dozens arrested at skateboarding event in Dolores Park

Dozens of protestors gathered Sunday in front SFPD's Mission District station over police response to an event at Dolores Park Saturday night.

The unpermitted event attracts hundreds of skateboarders to Dolores Park to skate down the hill. Gordon McNee has lived in the area for 22 years and called 911 after hearing screams out his window and witnessing a fight.

"One got on the ground and was being pretty much beaten up," said McNee and added, "I know they were young but they were definitely with people that were causing a lot of trouble. It was very intimidating just walking up and down the street. People were closing up shop."

This skateboarder who did not want to be identified saw the images and said police overreacted.

"I see them in riot gear. Nobody was having a riot. People just came out to have fun."

MORE: Speed bumps installed on Dolores Street in San Francisco after skateboarding injuries

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Chief Scott said they gave the group over an hour to disperse before making any arrests. He said they only changed to tactical gear after an officer was hit in the head with a sharp object.

"What is excessive about an officer putting on safety protective equipment when they are having explosives thrown at them? Bottles thrown at them. Getting punched in the face and spat on," said Chief Scott.

Supervisor Dean Preston is now calling for an investigation of SFPD's response to the event.

"I'm going to be reaching directly to the police commission and I hope they exercise their oversight role here to ask some questions and to really figure out exactly what happened and why it went down like this," said Supervisor Dean Preston

In years past there have been several concerning incidents. In 2020, a biker was struck by a skateboarder going down the hill - the biker later died. Monday, Chief Scott said they are going to look into the tactics they implemented on Sunday.

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