SFPD's bodycam video shows moments before 100+ people arrested, cited at skateboarding event

Thursday, July 20, 2023
SFPD's bodycam video shows moments before Hill Bomb arrests
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San Francisco Police Department's newly released bodycam video shows moments before more than 100 were people arrested and cited at Hill Bomb event.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's been a little less than two weeks since the annual Dolores Hill Bomb skateboarding event became an intense standoff with San Francisco police.

Officers in riot gear moved in to disperse a crowd of hundreds of skateboarders who took over Dolores Street.

After more than 100 people including juveniles were arrested or cited, San Francisco police on Wednesday released body camera video of the unpermitted event in the Mission District.

Their timeline points to officers setting up barricades on July 8 around 4 p.m. on multiple streets around Dolores Park. Around 5:15 p.m., officers told skateboarders the event was not happening.

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

An hour later, officers reported fireworks being set off and reports of vandalism. A 7:07 p.m., a sergeant reported getting struck in the face by a female with a nail and then a firework projectile landing close to bystanders and officers.

Their body camera video shows multiple verbal warnings to the crowd to leave the area. They captured explosions, fireworks being thrown bottles hitting officers and at least one Muni train vandalized.

Police arrested or cited 81 juveniles and 32 adults.

"He has charges of inciting riot and conspiracy against him. He was detained from 8:45 p.m. until 1 a.m. on the street. Some of that time he was zip-tied," said Lisa, San Francisco resident.

Lisa says her 15-year-old son was riding a scooter on his way to a friend's house at 8 p.m. when he and two other friends got caught up in the crowd and later detained.

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

Luz Pena: "Did he know about the Hill Bomb?"

Lisa: "No he did not. They actually asked some of the police what to do because there was a group of police there and they asked where do we go? What should we do? The police pointed to them to go the other direction and they did. That's when the other riot police came forward and detained them."

Wednesday, SFPD Chief Bill Scott said they are still investigating.

"Look, I acknowledge there could've been some people who got caught up in the situation but I will say this and you will hear this tonight. There were multiple, multiple warnings given to leave the area. Dispersal orders," said Chief Scott.

Parents like Lisa heard charges against juveniles would be dismissed. We contacted the city's Juvenile Probation Department. In a statement they said:

"At this time, the Juvenile Probation Department is awaiting completion of SFPD's investigation of the incident in order to determine what action may be taken on the youths' arrests. We are in the process of contacting all parents/guardians to let them know that we will reach back out to them when we have more information," - Chief Katherine Miller, San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department.

Civil Rights attorney Rachel Lederman says she's in talks with at least 40 families to take further action against the city and commanders responsible for these detentions.

"We are considering filing a class action to challenge the unlawful arrest and detention of both the juvenile and the young adults who were simply swept up," said Lederman.

Out of the 32 cases of adults who were detained or arrested, one of our sources confirmed at least one of the adult cases has been dismissed.

SF police chief defends the department's arrests

One by one, police commissioners grilled San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott at Wednesday night's police commission meeting.

"I do still believe there was a failure of de-escalation," said one police commissioner.

Fireworks thrown at officers can be seen in another clip and then landing and exploding near officers.

"People laugh, oh it's just a firework, not so funny when you've lost your hearing or you've had a finger blown off," said Chief Scott.

Some of the individuals arrested spoke Wednesday.

"I just don't understand why we were treated like animals and zip tied the way we were," said one girl.

Some city officials are calling for a full investigation into the treatment of the juveniles.

"Do you have the age of under 18's?" asked one commissioner.

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

"One 12-year-old, eight 13-year-olds, seven 14-year-olds, twenty-seven 15-year-olds, twenty-four 16-year-olds, eighteen 17-year-olds," said Chief Scott.

At least one member of the public could then be heard yelling, "Shame!"

Chief Scott though, took a hard tone at times during this meeting saying that two firearms, a replica firearm, six knives, nine fireworks, and backpacks containing spray paint were all recovered.

"There needs to be some accountability for those acts that were happening this was not all fun and games," said Chief Scott.

As public comment played out it was clear that the room was split with those backing police and those questioning police tactics.

"A snack, bathroom, phone call, and none of those things were done and nothing can change the look on my beloved son's face when we got him that night," said one parent whose son was arrested.

"I guess the concept of responsible parenting is no longer a fact of life anymore, you allow a 12-year-old to go to an event like that," said a community member who lives near Dolores Park.

Those questioning the police tactics would like to see charges dropped but that is to be determined at this point. The Department of Police Accountability is investigating complaints to determine if reform or changes are needed going forward.

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