At least 3 Lower Haight businesses vandalized Saturday night [Updated]

Photos: Courtesy of Gio Acosta
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on May 31, 2020.

At least three businesses at Haight and Fillmore streets were damaged by vandals last night, as the downtown protests against the police killing of George Floyd spread into more residential areas of the city.

Around midnight, neighbors say, a group of about a dozen people smashed windows at CVS Pharmacy (499 Haight St.), Love Haight Computers (473A Haight St.) and cannabis dispensary Sparc (473 Haight St.) Another dozen or so people stood in the middle of Haight Street to watch. 

The group, which contained both white and black members, beat down the windows with bottles and skateboards. One could be heard yelling "This is our neighborhood!"

In a video posted to Instagram, neighbor Diana Gaffney captured police guarding the CVS, and squad cars with sirens on both sides of the Haight and Fillmore intersection.

A CVS representative told Hoodline via email that the store was closed when the damage occurred, and no employees were hurt.

"The store will remain closed until we can assess and repair the damage," the representative wrote. "The pharmacy’s phone system has been rerouted to a nearby open store so our patients will continue to have access to pharmacy care."

It's unclear if anything was stolen from the damaged businesses. Representatives of Love Haight Computers and Sparc did not return a request for comment by press time, though Sparc posted on Instagram that it would be temporarily closing all its locations out of safety concerns over the protests.

"We hope to return to servicing the community safely again soon, and remain steadfast in our support of dismantling systems that have disproportionately impacted communities of color," Sparc wrote. 

Mayor London Breed said in a press conference today that a number of businesses and vehicles around the city were vandalized and looted last night, and several fires were set as well. Union Square and Mid-Market were particularly hard-hit.

"That is not something that we can tolerate," she said. "I was extremely upset because unfortunately with some of the vandals they thought this was a game, they thought this was funny."

Reached via email, SFPD spokesperson Ofc. Robert Rueca said that police don't currently know how many businesses were affected. "We are still gathering lots of pertinent information," he said.

Gio Acosta, a board member of the Lower Haight Merchants and Neighbors Association, said that LoHaMNA strongly supports the protests, but does not want to see violence — "from the police or the protesters."

With an 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew for San Francisco beginning tonight, Acosta hopes that neighbors don't go outside.

"If you don't have to be out tonight, please don't be," he said.

Update 6/3: A Sparc representative sent Hoodline the following statement via email:

"There was an attempted break-in, but our security measures were sufficient to prevent any loss of inventory.

Sparc fully supports the public's right to freedom of speech, and respects the right to protest in response to the murder of #GeorgeFloyd. The valid anger being displayed during the protests has manifested in the form of broken windows, theft, and other dangerous activities, making it difficult to operate our stores in a manner that is safe for customers or employees. 

We hope to return to servicing the community safely again soon, and remain steadfast in our support of dismantling systems that have disproportionately impacted communities of color."

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