Student Beaten Unconscious By SFPD for Riding Bike on Sidewalk is Suing City

D’Paris Williams, who in November of 2013 was pulled from his home and beaten unconscious by SFPD for the crime of riding his bicycle on the sidewalk outside of Valencia Gardens, is suing the city and three police officers in Federal Court. Williams, who at the time of the incident was a 20-year-old City College student, is seeking “punitive damages for excessive force, assault and battery, unlawful arrest, unlawful seizure, and civil rights violations.”

Photographer Travis Jensen reported on the story at the time:

Yesterday afternoon, while riding his bicycle home from the Make A Wish Foundation’s “Bat Kid” happenings, DJ was confronted by two undercover police officers in an unmarked vehicle at the Valencia Gardens Apartments in the City’s Mission District. Apparently, the officers said something to DJ about riding his bicycle on the sidewalk as he was pulling up to his home in the complex. It is unclear whether the officers identified themselves or not, but did proceed to get out of their car, grab DJ from behind as he was entering the home and beat him for no apparent reason. A police search uncovered a cupcake and juice that DJ had just purchased from the corner store.

Williams was later arraigned in SF Superior Court on five separate charges that could have resulted in up to 12 years in prison, but the District Attorney quickly discharged the case following the release of cellphone video showing Williams screaming in pain.

Notably absent from the reporting at the time was any comment from Williams, who was beaten so badly that a source told Uptown Almanac that he “[looked] like he was in a bad car accident” and was unable to speak to the press. We now finally get to hear from Mr. Williams. Via Courthouse News:

No sooner had he entered him home than he heard someone say, “Come here,” Williams says.

He turned and saw the three defendant police officers, all in plainclothes: Gregory Skaug, Milen Banegas and Theodore Polovina, according to the complaint.

Without identifying themselves as police, Kraug told him he had to come out of the house “because he rode his bicycle on the sidewalk,” Williams says.

He says he apologized for riding his bike on the sidewalk, but said the officers “had no right to ask him to come outside of his house.”

But they reached inside, dragged him out, punched him in the face and in the back of the neck more than 5 times, causing him to lost consciousness. When he awoke, he says, they were choking him.

They cuffed him and took him to the cop shop, then finally to San Francisco General Hospital, Williams says. He spent three days in jail, charged with resisting arrest, assault with force and riding his bike on the sidewalk.

Considering that all charges against Williams were dropped, and the video of the aftermath, it appears likely he has a solid case against the city.

[Portrait by Travis Jensen]

24th Street

High Winds Down Trees Across the Mission

Today’s high winds downed several trees across the Mission, with 24th Street hit particularly hard. The above picture shows 24th at Treat Avenue (right outside of Blind Cat). 

Then there’s just up the hill in Noe Valley:

And with the National Weather Service issuing a wind advisory through midday tomorrow, we could be seeing more fallen trees across the city. It’s a good thing then that everyone is paying super close attention with the very Bay Area #hellawind hashtag.

[Photo: ramunerastonis]


The Bold Italic Managed to Get Their Employees' Social Security Numbers Stolen

On the evening of December 13th (or in the early morning of December 14th) the offices of The Bold Italic suffered a break in and were burglarized. In addition to the theft of computers, “paper documents” containing employees’ personal information were also stolen.

As detailed in a letter sent out by The Bold Italic to its employees notifying them of the incident, the documents contained names, social security numbers, email addresses and home addresses of The Bold Italic employees and independent contractors. It is worth noting that most of the writers for The Bold Italic are independent contractors.  

And while it is perhaps unusual that “paper documents” were taken alongside more commonly thieved items such as computers, it should come as no surprise to the taste makers at The Bold Italic—after all, handcrafted paper documents are so much more authentic than their digital counterparts. 


"Slow Fashion" Comes to San Francisco

Proving once more that appending the word “slow” to an existing thing is a way to get noticed, the San Francisco Chronicle clues us in on the next big thing to hit the SF scene: slow fashion. What is slow fashion, you ask? The Chronicle explains:

It’s not about large volume on the cheap. It’s about quality over quantity, said Janet Lees, a senior director at SFMade, a local manufacturing advocacy group.

“It’s small batch, high quality, limited edition, customizable,” Lees said. “You can’t compete on low price points. That’s not what’s being manufactured in San Francisco. It’s really artisanal manufacturing.” […]

“Just like we’ve had this huge movement of slow food,” [founder of Jeanne-Marc clothing company Jeanne Allen] said, “now people want slow fashion.”

Reading like a Kinfolk SEO campaign, the “local manufacturing advocacy group” proclaimed trend should be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise us if a Bold Italic piece on “artisanal clothing” is already in the works.

[Photo: SFMade]

The Rocking-Horse Winner

Modern Nativity Scene Promises Gifts, Disappointment

Refusing to let a little thing like lack of walls or roof get in the way of Christmas cheer, this charming picture of mid-century blandness was spotted Saturday on Valencia at 18th. Built by Justin Bettman, a Brooklyn-based artist known for creating domestic scenes out of free items off Craigslist, this is the first time his #setinthestreet project has come to SF.

Delivering a bold artistic statement on how even in the 1960’s holidays with the family could be a major drag, this Christmas themed pop-up installation reminds us of simpler times when kids were disappointed about receiving rocking horses in lieu of BB guns.

[Photo: laurenpoulos | h/t Capp Street Crap/Mission Local]

Please Can We Quit It With This Already?

Philz Continues Long Tradition of Caffeinated Pretension With "Coffee Artists"

Philz’ owner Phil Jaber has already successfully convinced the Bay Area’s leading venture capitalists that the swill served by his establishment is worthy of multi-million dollar startup status. But now Jaber has boldly upped the game once more with the groundbreaking introduction of coffee “artists.”

Interviewed as part of a Chronicle series on 24th Street entitled “A Changing Mission,” Jaber eschews the more recently popularized (and ultimately meaningless) term of “maker” in the act of grasping for something more authentic: “This is not coffee. […] This is art. I don’t have barista makers. I have artists.”

It seems that the recent influx of venture capital into his homegrown, sixteen-store micro-chain has thoroughly convinced Jaber of the necessity of adopting the tech industry’s habit of self-aggrandizement. Jaber doesn’t just employ any old schmoe able to pour hot water over burned and ground up plant matter. No, he’s positively contributing to the artist community by employing its members. And if his employees are artists, then of course Philz is itself in fact making art at the low low price of $16 a pound.

All of this leads to a weird alternate reality in which Phil Jaber is some patron saint of the food service arts, and we are the consuming masses hungry for his next creation. I think I’ll pass. Besides, Subway already employs enough artists for my taste.

[Photo Still Taken from “A Changing Mission”]

Food & Lines

Burma Superstar Tail-Ends Valencia's Trendiness With New Mission Outpost

Burma Superstar, the much-loved local Burmese chain, is set to open their long awaited Mission location on Valencia Street (at Duboce) in a few weeks. An employee that answered the door Monday night informed Uptown Almanac that the official opening is planned for shortly after Christmas.

According to Tablehopper:

This is the fourth location for the local chain, joining the original on Clement Street, in addition to outposts in Oakland and Alameda. […]

The menu doesn’t differ from their other locations, but there is the exciting addition of a full liquor license and therefore a cocktail menu. Cocktails are all priced at $10 and are not overly complicated.[…]

When they do open, hours will be 5pm-11pm daily, and lunch will be added in a few months.

Using such descriptors as “warm-hued,” “cool gray,” and “smooth wood,” the Tablehopper piece devotes considerable space to the new location’s interior design (photos of which are here) and reads almost as if Burma Superstar’s new location is a replacement for the displaced Therapy furniture store down the street. And while we love a good “scallop motif” represented in a “metal open-work wall” as much as anyone else, it’s the food we’re excited for—which, it should be noted, appears to be more expensive than at the Richmond location.

In many ways Eddie Codel sums up news of the opening best:

[Photo: @x]

People Still Make Zines

Boozy Zine Release Party this Saturday at Vacation

Everyone’s favorite Tenderloin based zine is set to drop a third edition this Saturday, and the creators are throwing a party to celebrate. Tales From the Tenderloin, which is billed as a “collaborative zine that seeks to document the tales, trials and tribulations of life in the Tenderloin,” is a usually funny and sometimes touching look at life in the Tenderloin. 

The website lets you know what to expect:

This Saturday (12/20) we’re gonna be releasing the third issue of Tales From the Tenderloin, which we’re calling the HOLLADAZE edition. […]

[It’s] all going down at 9pm at VACATION (651 Larkin) and there’s gonna be some killer bands, a (hopefully) pretty cool zine, good friends, and all the booze you can carry in!

In addition to being both free and BYOB (which we love), the brown bag friendly event will feature live sets from San Francisco’s Seatraffic and Hot Flash Heat Wave.


Is The Mission Creek Microhood Here to Stay?

When we wrote last April about the then newly coined “Mission Creek” microhood, it seemed the designation of the Eastern Mission as a bespoke cocktail mecca deserving of its own branded name was an act destined to fade into the dustbin of the next tech bubble.

As such, we were surprised to see the above pictured sign last night at Bender’s. While “The Mission Creek,” a mixture of Southern Comfort, 7 Up, and lime, definitely eschews the artisanal ice cubes Mission Creek is better known for, the use of the name implies an embrace of the microhood that we found surprising.

And although it’s certainly possible that the bar was simply making a joke about the rainstorm we’re all currently experiencing, it seems just as likely that acceptance of the Mission Creek name has spread to places as no-bullshit as Bender’s. And if Bender’s is on board, well, then the The Mission Creek microhood may be here to stay.

But all is not lost. After all, the drink is only $3.00.