Today is May 1, 2012. The first of May is also commonly known as Mayday due to US history. This morning the Mission District in San Francisco woke up to broken glass, vandalized cars, and much more destruction that included a the Mission Police Station. This is the kind of behavior that makes the Occupy movement look like ignorant thugs. The fact that they targeted vehicles and small businesses in the mission only distorts their political message and mounts hardworking 99%ers against them. The cars that were vandalized belonged to hardworking middle class San Franciscans, not the 1% which the Occupy movement claims to target.
The vandals were in a small group that marched from Dolores Park just before 10 in the evening on Monday April 30, 2012. The vandals were said to have just left a rally which was in place to discuss what would happen on mayday. Police said that the vandals traveled down 18th Street and onto Valencia Street while wearing black masks and all black clothing. As they marched, the masked protesters smashed windows with crowbars, tore down signs, threw paint on buildings, and spray painted anarchy symbols on the hoods of several parked cars along the way.
“All I heard was, ‘bang, bang, bang,’ and some dude had the valet sign, trying to break our window,” said Adam Koskoff, a manager at Locanda restaurant on Valencia Street. “I didn’t even see the crowd, and I ran outside and got egged.”
The idiots threw paint, eggs, and rocks. They smashed windows at more than 30 businesses; which included Tartine Bakery at 18th and Guerrero streets as well as a clothing store Weston Wear on Valencia Street. In addition, both luxury and everyday vehicles along Valencia were damaged with crowbars, spray paint, rocks, and eggs. Most notably, an Aston Martin had its windshield shattered, and brown spray paint covered the hood.
The small group of vandals even attacked the Mission Police Station at 17th street and Valencia. More specifically, Pink and yellow paint marred the barricaded and pellet guns cracked glass doors of the station. “It was like the station was under siege,” said an officer, who asked not to be named at this time. Mission station Capt. Robert Moser said the vandalism had “unfolded quickly,” and that someone had taken a hammer object to the front station doors.
After all was said and done, one lonely person was arrested on suspicion of a vehicle code violation and resisting arrest. However, he was cited and released. Many business owners said that given the extent of the destruction, more vandals should have been arrested and asked to pay restitution for the damage.
J.H. Kostelni of Farina restaurant on 18th Street said he had seen police cars at the front and the back of a group of about 30 people who threw paint and eggs at his windows and overturned his outdoor tables. “It looked like police were escorting them,” Kostelni said. “They didn’t stop them.” When the police were asked about the criticism of their lack of control, Capt. Moser stated that “We wanted to ensure we had enough personnel for public safety and for the safety of our officers.”
About 15 officers in full riot gear stood in front of the Mission police station Monday night, as other officers moved up and down the street, documenting the damage, leaving cards on defaced cars and speaking to business owners about the damage.
Jeremy Tooker, the owner of Four Barrel Coffee Company, was wiping paint off his store’s windows as broken glass crunched beneath pedestrians’ feet. He said a good friend had alerted him of the damage to his store after stopping a protester from smashing the glass storefront with a crowbar while taking a hit to his arm. “This just seems like they’re frustrated with their impotency at this point,” Jeremy Tooker said. “It’s like, ‘Look at me, I’m still here, I’m still occupying.”
It is important to note that, although the march sprang from a rally for an Occupy protest, other Occupy movement protesters shunned its participants as outliers. Many business owners, however, said Occupy bore responsibility for the damage to their companies. “Occupy is saying it’s not them, but we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Occupy, now would we?” Michelle Horneff Cohen, a real estate broker, said as she shivered next to the broken window of her workplace. She went on to explain that she had been dragged out of bed to deal with the destruction. Although her company has insurance, she said, it will have to pay for much of the cost of repairs. “I think it’s bulls—,” Horneff-Cohen said. “We are the 99 percent, and this is bulls—.”
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