FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2023
Media Contact: PubDef-MediaRelations@sfgov.org
SF Public Defender Mano Raju Condemns SFPD Tactics Detaining Youth at Dolores Street Skateboarding Event
The militarized police response to a youth-led skateboarding event was a tremendous overreach that escalated tensions, endangered young people and onlookers, and violated people’s rights.
Showing up in riot gear, pointing their weapons at people, kettling children, and detaining them on the street or at the police station for several hours, is emblematic of the SFPD’s misguided use of resources and their willingness to criminalize youth.
We are very concerned that the SFPD may have failed to follow protocol that requires a defense attorney to speak with any youth before they are read their Miranda rights and questioned by police. Our Youth Defense unit was notified in real time that police had detained approximately ninety youth, but never got a call back to provide legal advisories to any of them to inform them of their rights. It is unclear whether those youth were questioned or Mirandized.
We have heard from several parents whose children were detained for up to four hours, and some were taken to SF General Hospital for unknown reasons before being released to their parents. We have heard from at least one family whose child was detained on their way home despite having no skateboard or any affiliation with the event.
While we are prohibited by state law privacy protections for juveniles from discussing any details about individual cases, we do know that at least two youth were booked into jail, and we believe up to eighty others were cited or charged with misdemeanors for undisclosed reasons.
We are calling for a thorough investigation into the SFPD’s questionable and concerning tactics and the resources expended to carry out this police operation, and transparency and swift remedial action with regards to any findings of misconduct and gross misuse of public resources.
If you need assistance filing a complaint with the Department of Police Accountability for any alleged misconduct by SFPD officers, please contact our Integrity Unit at PDR-Integrity@sfgov.org. To contact our Youth/Juvenile Defense Unit, you can reach them at 415-753-7601.