SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, May 23, a protester was arrested for throwing a brick during Mayor London Breed’s public drug hearing at U.N. Plaza. The brick hit a female Galileo High School student and member of the junior ROTC troop who helped raise the American flag at the start of the meeting. According to reports, she was not seriously injured.
The protester was identified by the San Francisco Police Department as 26-year-old Elysia Katet. Katet was booked on charges of child endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon. After the San Francisco Board of Supervisors left the meeting, the attack ensued.
Aaron Peskin who is the President for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was at the meeting and issued a statement later that day that read:
“The attack on a young person in the Plaza today when a violent protester threw a brick is only another tragic example of how we are losing control of our public spaces. If we can’t guarantee everyone’s safety when the Mayor and her security team are present – we have lost control of our public realm. And that is our shared mission: to regain control of all of our public spaces, so that they are safe and clean for everyone always. We simply can’t defend this status quo, and we must continue to demand change.”
Peskin moved the first part of the board’s weekly meeting to a plaza in the Tenderloin neighborhood near San Francisco City Hall where drug use is a known problem. During the meeting before the attack took place, he asked Mayor Breed if she would commit to setting up an emergency operations center and coordinate departments to shut down “public drug dealing” in open sites such as in the plaza within 90 days.
A large group of protesters began chanting “no more cops” and they grew increasingly loud. This prompted Peskin to move the meeting towards the back of city hall before Breed could answer his question.
“We can’t keep speaking out of both sides of our mouth,” Breed said during the meeting. “On the one hand we want change, and we want to hold people accountable, and on the other hand, we’re willing to let people get away with murder.”
“We have to make the kinds of decisions that are going to allow for people to get the help and support they need, but to not allow things to continue in the way that they have for far too long,” the mayor said. “It’s time for a change.”