We are Mission residents, sick and tired of cops and Bart police harassing and abusing the people of this neighborhood.
Aggressions by the cops have worsened with the influx of wealth moving into the neighborhood, escalating to the recent brutal murder of Alejandro Nieto by the police on Bernal Hill. Increased policing and surveillance are part of a program to make the Mission “safe” and “comfortable” for the new – mostly white, mostly young – wealthy professionals moving into the neighborhood. But this “clean up” isn’t for long time residents. It’s for real estate speculators, banks and landlords making money off obscene property values. It’s for incoming wealthy people who feel threatened by anyone that doesn’t act, think, or look like them. It’s for people who think the Mission is cool, but then want to change it to suit their culture and lifestyles – and it’s displacing families and poor folks, many of whom have lived here for generations. While rising rents are pricing people out of their homes, the police are harassing them off the street.
The police have the authority to protect wealth no matter the cost. They assume that anyone Black, Brown or poor is suspect, and they bully, humiliate and kill without consequence. They are sheltered from the law, so they continue to brutalize people.
Mission Copwatch is an effort to push back against the cops in our neighborhood so they feel less entitled to our lives.
In our city overrun by tech, people’s interactions are becoming increasingly mediated. They pass on the street with headphones on and faces in their phones. Apps proliferate that make it possible to contract people for services without even having to speak to them. People call the cops on teenagers for hanging out on their stoop or minor annoyances that might be solved with a conversation between neighbors. This disconnection makes people more reliant on the police and enables people to passively accept violence that occurs in front of them. By simply stopping and observing, we’re watching out for each other and relying on each other.
To build resistance we need to meet and connect with one another. When you see someone getting harassed by the cops, stop, let the person know you’re there to watch the police for their protection. Something so simple as the presence of an observer could make a cop think twice. Documentation could provide evidence of the truth in cases where the police try to cover up their actions.
Let’s turn to each other for help instead of calling the police. Cops come armed and agitated and can escalate the situation quickly. Young people hanging out, smoking and listening to music are not a threat to safety. Nor is a homeless person who is in need of services. Is there another way the issue could be addressed? Look out for your neighbors and we can fight back together.