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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Arts + Action | Police State and Prisons
Quiet Halloween in the Castro: SFPD was PREPARED
We have to police ourselves or else someone else is going to do it for us.
PLEASE: LET'S NOT LOSE THIS PARTY.
This is more than a party: this is free speech and free assembly.
Towards a day when we can once again have a CASTRO HALLOWEEN PARTY
WITH the BEST COSTUMES, music, and celebration.
WITHOUT alcohol induced gang warfare.
(They would fight without alcohol... but they really do fight with alcohol, year after year.)
in other words:
YO PEOPLE: we have to police ourselves or else someone else is going to do it for us.
If we fail to intervene or call 911 when we see violence at our party, we will lose it.
Or else: TOO LATE! WE'RE LOSING IT! DOH!
Hats off to SF and SFPD for a magnificently engineered non-party.
(SF felt a need to stop or alter this party because 9 people were shot last year
in a single incident after someone threw a bottle into a crowd.)
(Something had to be done.) (If they did nothing this could become gang warfare central.)
I hope we can re engineer this party;
ENLISTING the help of party goers who have zero tolerance for violence or weapons at this event.
Before I witnessed a profusely bleeding man running from an attacker screaming for help years ago,
before I witnessed an attacker punching a man's head into the asphalt last year,
before stabbings years ago,
before people were arrested for bringing guns years ago,
before nine people were shot last year,
before Castro Halloween was overrun with violence;
women and men were not safe here from ass-grabing drunks and gay-bashers.
Years before the knives, guns and gangs; folks were already scared to go to Castro Halloween.
Here are some observations of last night's event management:
Last night there were LESS THAN A THOUSAND visitors in the castro at all times.
The ONLY crowd was the 100 people at the entrance to the CLOSED Castro / Market subway
otherwise known as Harvey Milk Plaza, SouthWest Corner.
Otherwise there was plenty of walking space on all the sidewalks around 18th and Castro,
Castro and Market, etc.
Tue Oct 31 2007 was a well executed multiply engineered excercise in stopping an event that was attracting guns, knives and idiots.
Here are some of the ingredients:
Major publicity campaign (Print / Radio / Tv/ Internet) "NO PARTY IN THE CASTRO"
500 extra SFPD officers, many with dozens of Heavy Duty ZIP TIE handcuffs.
Street sweepers constantly wetting and cleaning Castro, 18th Street, and beyond.
Truck towing CalTrans orange Highway sign "STREETS OPEN"
SFPD at intersections guiding pedestrians through crosswalks on green lights,
and vehicles through intersections on green lights.
TV News crews dutifully covering the non party, using tactics such as focusing on
streets sweepers to show the party was not happening.
Dozens of bars and establishments closed to support the non party.
SFPD paddy wagons on hand, along with the traditional booking trailer on Collingwood
between 18th and 19th Streets, where ONLY police vehicles are allowed during event.
Closure of subway station at Castro and Market.
Closure of BART station at Mission and 16th St. after 8pm.
And just in case thousdands or tens of thousands did show up:
Scores of porta potties.
Hundred(s) of barricades to block intersections:
Barricades were at-the-ready; 1, 2 and 3 blocks away from Castro and Market in traditional locations.
Three rows of Barricades lined the sidewalks of Castro from Market past 18th to 19th Street;
one row along the West sidewalk, and two rows along the East sidewalk (in front of Castro Theater)
ready to expand into a FIRE LANE in the event the street became a crowd scene.
This Fire lane came to be in recent years due to stabbings, fights, and medical emergencies.