What began as a night of celebration – The San Francisco Giants winning their 3rd World Series in 5 years, despite what stupid Joe Buck wanted – quickly devolved into a violent riot full of flashbangs and alcohol-fueled attacks on the police.
When the last out was called, I quickly made my way to the center of celebration from my home in the Castro, finding a vivacious crowd chanting with flags and smiles on 18th and Mission. Quickly, the smell of smoke filled the air and one could see a crowd gathering around a couch set aflame.
Firetrucks arrived to quell the flames, but the crowd would not make way. Shortly, the police arrived to disperse the crowd and allow the firemen to do their job in a safe manner. Quiet rumbles of “fuck the police” made their way through the crowd, but most people were respectful and dare I say it, sane. The emergency personnel left without issue.
Walking further South on Mission Street, towards 24th St, it was clear there were other fires on the street. At 22nd and Mission, two larger fires were raging, exploding loudly from the fireworks thrown into them.
The crowd here was quite a bit more aggressive, and more and more folks lacking the Giants’ trademark orange peppered the group, bandanas across their faces and spray paint in their hands.
The police arrived in the same manner as they did near 18th street – an attempt to disperse the crowd in order to allow the firemen to work. No deal. The crowd was not allowing it. Glass bottles were being thrown left and right towards the officers, who professionally maintained their composure in a way that I certainly would not were I being attacked with bottles. Shouts of “FUCK YOU PIGS,” and “FUCK THE POLICE” dominated the air, yet the officers stood their ground.
It is totally understandable why officers are required to push everyone back – even nonviolent celebrators – in an effort to disperse a crowd that grows more and more dangerous. To suggest that the police played any role in the germination of violence tonight is pure ignorance. I watched it devolve, and it was the crowd that instigated every confrontation. I left once police released flash bangs, which in my opinion was quite a bit later than was necessary. The people out there were terrifying.
As a proof point of that statement, there have been two shootings already, one on 21st and Valencia and the other on 26th and Treat, as well as stabbings. And yet some people would still prefer there to be no police presence. That is insanity to me.
And it is insanity watched a populace destroy the city they wanted to celebrate. What’s the point of victory when it turns out we’re all losers?
As a bonus for making it through my diatribe, here is a photo taken of me taking a #riotselfie earlier tonight. Enjoy, and Go Giants.