San Francisco police are being accused of brutality after cell phone video footage showed officers beating a 20-year-old for apparently riding his bicycle on the sidewalk.
D’Paris Charles “DJ” Williams was arrested around 3:40 p.m. Friday at his Valencia Gardens public housing complex for riding his bike on the sidewalk, despite warnings from plainclothes SFPD.
Williams’ family says he had earbuds on and was listening to music. They claim he couldn’t hear plainclothes officers tell him to stop riding on the sidewalk. They believe officers used excessive force to detain Williams.
“One choking him, one pinned all his weight on him, leaning on him and the lady over there trying to put the handcuffs on him,” Williams’ sister, Christina, told KPIX 5. “And he started beating on him for no reason.”
Witnesses say police grabbed Williams off his bike from behind and beat him.
Local photographer and a friend of Williams, Travis Jensen, took cell phone video of the incident. The footage shows Williams on the ground crying out in pain.
Bloodied, his earbuds are still hanging from his hoodie as he is taken to the police cruiser. According to Jensen, witnesses at the scene told him Williams suffered a broken jaw, among other injuries.
SFPD says the officers identified themselves, show badges, and ordered Williams off the sidewalk and he willfully disobeyed.
Police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said Williams attempted to flee into a residence when confronted by police. Shyy says officers used reasonable force to arrest Williams.
“They attempted to detain him. However he became combative and resisted arrest,” said Shyy.
But that wasn’t all. Area residents tried to protect Williams. A crowd of hostile residents gathered at the scene. One man attempted to hit an officer with a cane, Shyy said. Another attempted to bite an officer.
“People don’t get that upset for no reason. They were upset because they were seeing DJ getting beaten,” Jensen said.
Three people in addition to Williams were arrested.
Released from jail Monday night, Williams’ family say they plan to file a complaint against the SFPD for brutality. They plan to hold a rally in the Mission District at 5 p.m. today.
Footage of Williams being taken into custody:
Footage of the crowd attacking officers: