On the evening of Monday 16 March 2009, a number of clearly identifiable police officers engaged in an unprovoked riot in front of the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. They beat demonstrators at random, for no apparent reason, with clear malice and intent to inflict serious injury. On behalf of the Peace and Freedom Party, I join in the demand that these clearly identifiable officers, whose images can be seen on multiple videos of the event, be arrested and charged with assault.

This demonstration at the Israeli Consulate brought together members of the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in opposition to certain policies of the Israeli government, including the beatings and false arrests of demonstrators in Israel and the occupied territories. The demonstration was entirely peaceful up to the time of the police riot. I know that a number of members of the Peace and Freedom Party were there, but I do not yet know whether they were among those injured, or arrested on clearly false charges.

This statement is being provided to the District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco. I would point out to the District Attorney that a failure to bring charges will be a declaration of bloody war on the citizens of San Francisco who wish to assemble peaceably to petition for redress of grievances. The people need to know that the city will back up the Constitution's guarantees, and if it won't, the people need to prepare appropriate action to remove corrupt officials who unleash violence against free speech.

After viewing video of the event, and I certainly hope that the District Attorney is now doing so, it should also be clear that the charges against the arrested demonstrators are false, and made up after the fact to attempt to conceal the nature of this police riot. Those charges should be dropped.

This criminal assault shows us that after the murder of Oscar Grant, it is apparent that more members of Bay Area police forces need to be reminded that they can no longer get away with violent crime in this age of video.

I hope that as many people as possible view the available video, and communicate to the District Attorney and other city officials their reaction. If justice is to be done, many people must immediately make clear that this behavior is not acceptable, charges must be filed and pursued, and the police who decided to join in the criminal assault must be removed from their positions.

(signed) Kevin Akin, California State Chair, Peace and Freedom Party  17 March 2009
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