On Sunday, protesters rallied at the SFPD station in the Mission District following the arrests of dozens of individuals, including many juveniles, at the Dolores Hill Bomb skateboarding event in Dolores Park according to ABC7 News the night before, sparking outrage among community members who decried the use of excessive force. The unsanctioned event attracted hundreds of skateboarders who took over Dolores Street, leading to reports of vandalism, illegal fireworks, and chaos.
Although the Dolores Hill Bomb is not a new occurrence, having taken place sporadically over the years, its unsanctioned nature has often led to clashes with the police and caused numerous accidents. The arrests of at least 32 adults and citations for 81 juveniles on Saturday, however, have sparked an outcry from community leaders and residents who argue that the level of force used by police officers in riot gear was disproportionate and unacceptable. Protesters are now calling for an investigation into the incident and the decisions that led to the aggressive police action.
While SFPD Chief Bill Scott defended the actions of the officers in a statement according to the Daily Mail, stating that the dangerous and unlawful behavior put both the public and officers at risk of serious injury, others such as San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston have taken to Twitter to criticize the response. Preston described the police action as an "abuse of power, waste of money, and trauma inflicted on our young people," adding that he was ashamed of the city's leadership for the "militarization of our streets and attack on our youth."
The Dolores Hill Bomb event has a history of violence and accidents, with incidents ranging from a stabbing during last year's gathering to severe injuries sustained by local skater Tomoko Oikawa in 2019 as mentioned by SFGATE. However, community leaders maintain that the aggressive police response to this year's event was excessive and unjustified. Jeffrey Kwong, president of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, condemned the use of force and demanded an investigation into the incident, stating to media that it was "egregious" and "absolutely unacceptable in San Francisco."
Others have also pointed out that the resources and personnel mobilized for the event could have been better used to address other issues facing the city. One mother questioned the priority given to arresting kids at the skateboarding event instead of tackling the increasing crime rates and ongoing drug epidemic. In recent weeks, San Francisco has seen a surge in robberies and a significant increase in fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths, raising questions about how the city is allocating its resources to tackle these problems.
As protesters demand an investigation into the incident at Dolores Park and criticize the city's response, it remains to be seen whether the authorities will address the concerns of the community regarding the allocation and prioritization of resources. ABC7 News reports that the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is grateful that none of its staff or passengers were injured during the event, and that the overhead lines were de-energized to prevent any further dangerous situations.