By Darling Gonzalez
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Heather Knight’s recent article, “More S.F. residents share stories of police standing idly by as crimes unfold: ‘They didn’t want to be bothered,’” notes San Francisco residents’ concerns over safety as police officers continue to “ignore crime” in support of DA Boudin’s recall.
Knight included a story by Danielle Kuzinich, who detailed how SFPD had witnessed the vandalization of her parklet at the SF Wine Society and simply let the vandal continue to destroy her property.
“Security camera footage from a business across the street [showed] the interaction between the cops and the man, who continued to tamper with the parklet after the officers departed, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and costing Kuzinich an estimated $40,000 in business as she repaired it,” Knight explained.
For example, Knight cited Jordan Staniscia’s stolen e-bike and his inability to receive any real help from police after tracking it via GPS, having videos of proof of theft, and showing police that his bike had been put up for sale by the burglars.
In response, Staniscia was told by police that he could pose as a buyer and ask to meet in front of the Mission Police Station where police could possibly come out to help.
“I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Excuse me?’ This person could be armed,” Staniscia said. “It seemed like a gamble to me and a dangerous one.”
When Staniscia’s bike was sold to a buyer in San Jose, San Jose police got the bike back in 45 minutes, Knight said.
Another SF resident, Eric Meyerson, said he was brushed off by the police after informing them of a tagging incident at Sunnyside Playground that also led to vandalism at the back of his home, which was next to the park.
When Meyerson described to the police that he knew the perpetrators, he claimed the police “gaslit” him instead of providing support or showing any interest in the incident, Knight explained.
On the other hand, SF Police Chief Bill Scott argued that there was a lot of good work being done by police officers, citing reports every morning about the previous night’s activities.
However, Scott did acknowledge “that the department had ‘serious morale issues’ because of understaffing, intense scrutiny amid the police reform movement and tussles with District Attorney Chesa Boudin,” Knight said in her story.
Another resident, Richard Parina, explained to Knight that he too had seen people dealing drugs and fencing stolen items in U.N. Plaza and asked some cops why they would pass by and do nothing.
After asking if Parina was a reporter, the police stated, “The D.A. won’t do anything to prosecute if we make an arrest, so we’re here to protect people like you from the bad elements.”
In the article, Knight similarly cites statistics that have demonstrated the police’s dismissal of crime in San Francisco, along with other information about their negligence on the job.
“For example, last year the Department of Police Accountability opened 595 cases into alleged police wrongdoing; the largest share by far, 42.6 percent, related to “neglect of duty,” Knight explained.
After learning about the parklet vandalism, Supervisor Hillary Ronen wrote a letter to Scott where she mentioned officers’ beliefs that arresting a suspect would be pointless because DA Boudin wouldn’t prosecute anyway.
Yet, DA Boudin has acknowledged that he has pushed for decreasing incarceration rates, but denies the police’s claim entirely, says Knight.
According to Knight, Ronen’s letter also includes that out of all the crimes reported to SF police in 2021 only 8.1 percent led to arrests, the lowest in the decade.
Knight emphasized that Kuzinich has remained proactive on getting justice for her parklet and has complained to the Department of Police Accountability despite being warned that its resolution could take up to nine months.