Cops in the Club: SFPD’s Racism and Bigotry Don’t Mix with SF Pride


Police BlueBy Leslie Fulbright and Charlie Fredrick

Update: Several SF Pride Grand Marshals and awardees, including Janetta Johnson, Black Lives Matter, TGI Justice Project, and the St. James Infirmary, withdrew this morning from participation in Pride, stating that “increased policing and militarized security makes LGBTQ communities of color unsafe.”

The decision by SF Pride and the City of San Francisco to dramatically increase police presence at this year’s festivities creates a dangerous situation for LGBT people of color, the exact communities the organizers are recognizing with their 2016 theme, “For Racial and Economic Justice.”

Cited as a response to the recent massacre of 49 people at a Latinx themed night at the Pulse club in Orlando, the “safety measures” will include an increase of federal, state, and local officers on the street, undercover police in LGBT clubs, and wands and metal detector screening at the festival at Civic Center.

The increased policing was facilitated by SF Pride, the same organization that rightly welcomed Transgender Gender-variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) an organization led by transgender, gender-variant, and intersex people of color — inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centers, to be a community grand marshal. Also being recognized is St. James Infirmary, an organization dedicated to supporting sex workers. These organizations work with people who face continuous state violence and criminalization.

The history of pride is rooted in rioting against bigoted police and has been led by LGBT youth of color. And the LGBT people in this city, especially LGBT people of color, deal with regular profiling, discrimination and harassment by law enforcement.

As we have seen time and time again, there are systemic problems within the SFPD that must be addressed. Increasing the number of officers on the streets will not only alienate and prevent people from coming to celebrate but may put those who do show up in danger.

A 2015 report by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission on violence prevention found high levels of mistrust of police among LGBT community members of color.

“Only 50 percent of LGBTQI people of color believe the police would help them if needed, 46 percent of transgender respondents, and 40 percent of transgender people of color shared that belief,” according to the report. “Respondents identifying as Native American or Middle Eastern are least likely to believe the police would help them if needed.”

While the SFPD promotes the message that San Francisco is a welcoming city for the LGBT community, it fails to point out the history of racism and bigotry within its ranks. This is the same police force that was recently in the news again when officers were exposed for exchanging racist and homophobic texts. This is the same police force that treats people of color as enemies and arrests black people in dramatically higher numbers. This is the same department that had its police chief dismissed because his officers continue to murder people of color in the streets.

Racism and bigotry are alive within the SFPD. We can’t let this hate play out on our streets in an event themed “For Racial and Economic Justice.”

To keep San Francisco’s LGBT communities of color safe would mean systemic change to end the deep-rooted failures of the SFPD in interacting with marginalized communities. If they can’t be held accountable now, we should not be increasing their presence at SF Pride.

Cops in the clubs won’t make people feel safer. And SF Pride should not be an excuse to over police the city’s most vulnerable communities.

Leslie Fulbright is a Communications Strategist with the ACLU of Northern California. Charlie Fredrick is a Senior Organizer with the ACLU of Northern California.


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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18 thoughts on “Cops in the Club: SFPD’s Racism and Bigotry Don’t Mix with SF Pride”

  1. Barack Palin

    It sure looks like the LGBT people of color are just looking for problems in order to try and create an issue over nothing.  After all it was the SF Pride group that asked for the increased policing.  This all comes across as a fake controversy.

  2. Tia Will


    It sure looks like the LGBT people of color are just looking for problems in order to try and create an issue over nothing.”

    I am sure that it does look that way to you. I am equally sure that it looks like a real problem to those of my acquaintances who do not feel that the police are as protective of their community as they are of others viewed more favorably by the police.

  3. Tia Will

    It’s known as a “fakryversy”

    BLM is just a media phenomena without any genuine support from actual people.”

    Wow ! How quick we are to pass judgement on groups to which we do not belong about matters which do not affect our own lives.

    1. Barack Palin

      Please, the SF Pride org. asks for increased police presence.  So if the police say no and someone gets hurt then the cops are held responsible by SF Pride.  If the cops say yes then we have some LGBT people of color group crying that they don’t want more police.  The cops can’t win either way.  You don’t have to be a member of any group to have the common sense to see what a ruse this is.

    2. quielo


      My comment is based on empirical evidence. The last BLM rally in LA drew 8 people and they wandered into traffic just to irritate people. One of the best known BLM organizers recently ran for mayor in Baltimore. There is no more favorable venue for BLM than the Baltimore Democratic primary. He polled less than 2%.


      Despite the fact the group has no support in any demographic other than knee-jerk liberals and some anarchists the media insists on presenting them as if they meant something. During the recent Pride parade they organizers and participants have a message to present in the shadow of the tragedy in Orlando.  Yet what is the headline? Some media whores from BLM…

    3. hpierce

      Tia… do I hear you saying that there are “matters which do not affect our own lives”?  Ever read John Donne?  His most famous ‘devotion’ includes, “no man is an island…”

      Recommended to all…

      Bon soir…

        1. Barack Palin

          I don’t see Frankly posting on here anymore.  Vacation?  Ticked off because of the Nishi vote and MRIC withdrawal?  Tired of getting moderated?

  4. tribeUSA

    BP–yes, an interesting development–heard a police officer say it was the most violent counter-protest at the Capitol ever. Yes, the 400 or so counter-protestors against “Hate” expressing their more loving attitude by covering their faces in masks, destroying property, and brandishing large sturdy sticks with which to beat the hate out of the demonstrators!–maybe they didn’t go far enough, to truly beat down the ‘hate” they may have needed to beat their bodies to a bloody pulp! Ah yes, some of the medieval philosophies making a comeback! Appropriate, perhaps in the context of a globalist system that is bent on directing most of the global population toward techno-serfism.

    1. Barack Palin

      Yes Tribe, I was reading that the leftist counter protesters were from a group called BAMN and starting beating on the TWP members who had a legal permit for the rally.

      A hate group beating the hate out of another hate group.  The irony abounds……..

  5. tribeUSA

    Dear Mr. Greenwald,

    I wonder if you or someone on staff or another volunteer would like to write an article on the recent violent clash between demonstrators and counter-protestors on the Sacramento Capitol grounds? If I had time, I’d volunteer to research and write an article, but will be too busy with work for the next couple weeks.

    After all it was a classic civil rights clash, between two groups who had different views on civil rights; going to the heart of the central civil rights theme of this forum.

    Three interesting facts about the counter-protestors:

    (1) There were estimated to be about 300-400 of them; outnumbering the 30-40 demonstrators by a factor of about 10:1.

    (2) They violently physically assaulted one or more members of the news media, and aggressively physically intimidated others who were attempting to cover the demonstration and fracas that followed.

    (3) Many (?most?) of them chose to cover themselves in black masks and wore black robes, reminiscent of the garb of ISIS (I’m not implying that they were ISIS followers or sympathizers; but the similarity of choice of clothing by these two violent groups is interesting).

  6. Barack Palin

    Just as Officer wilson was acquitted of charges in Ferguson we’re now finding that two of the  Baltimore Six have been acquitted and the cases are falling apart on the other four.  It looks like Moseby overcharged the cases and is coming out of this so far with egg on her face.  This is a story you’re likely not going to read here on the Vanguard.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Officer Wilson was not acquitted, in fact, he wasn’t tried. In terms of the Baltimore officers, I’m not surprised by the acquittals – it extremely hard to convict police officers are crimes of this nature committed while on duty. I am pleased that Moseby at least tried.

      1. Barack Palin

        Officer Wilson was not acquitted, in fact, he wasn’t tried. 

        And found not guilty.  The point was that during the Ferguson and Baltimore ordeals we had many commenters here who let the biases show and were adamant that the officers were guilty while others were more subjective and analyzed the evidence and came to the conclusion that they were indeed innocent.  It’s looking like the latter group was right.

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