A disastrous public meeting between the San Francisco mayor and board of supervisors ended in chaos as protesters booed and a brick was thrown in opposition to planned crackdowns on the city’s drug problem.
Tuesday’s scheduled monthly meeting between Mayor London Breed and the board had been moved to a public venue at United Nations Plaza as Board President Aaron Peskin sought to highlight the mayor’s plan to address rampant overdoses and curb homeless drug markets. However, unruly protesters chanting “no more cops” forced the meeting back to City Hall when the discussion of establishing an Emergency Operations Center to address the problem began.
At the time public officials were leaving the plaza, according to the Los Angeles Times, one rabble-rouser rushed through the crowd and launched a brick that ended up striking a female high school student and junior ROTC member who had participated in raising the American flag at the beginning of the meeting.
The Brick Thrower at today’s aborted Board of Supervisors/Mayor London Breed meeting held outdoors in UN Plaza. Hecklers interrupt the meeting and a brick was thrown. Police grabbed the suspect. pic.twitter.com/GOFFEsoNHL
— Richie Greenberg (@richieSF2016) May 23, 2023
Later identified as 26-year-old Elysia Katet, the suspect was booked into San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and child endangerment. The victim reportedly sustained no injury after getting hit in the foot by the projectile.
During the time Breed had to talk before leaving the plaza, the mayor had said, “We can’t keep speaking out of both sides of our mouth.”
“On the one hand we want change, and we want to hold people accountable, and on the other hand, we’re willing to let people get away with murder,” she went on and added, “We have to make the kinds of decisions that are going to allow for people to get the help and support they need, but to not allow things to continue in the way that they have for far too long. It’s time for a change.”
Breed’s pilot program had been confirmed ahead of the meeting and would allow state law enforcement to remove people who are a danger to themselves or others in relation to drug possession or usage from public spaces.
The first quarter of 2023 saw a rise in drug-related deaths by 41 percent compared to the same time last year, according to San Francisco’s Chief Medical Examiner, climbing from 142 to 200. Other cities have taken similar action as the drug crisis has grown out of control, especially as fentanyl has continued to flood across the southern border.
Reacting specifically to the brick-wielding suspect, Peskin issued a statement that read, “The attack on a young person in the Plaza today when a violent protester threw a brick is only another tragic example of how we are losing control of our public spaces.”
“If we can’t guarantee everyone’s safety when the Mayor and her security team are present — we have lost control of our public realm,” he added justifying the intent of the program. “And that is our shared mission: to regain control of all of our public spaces, so that they are safe and clean for everyone always. We simply can’t defend this status quo, and we must continue to demand change.”
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