Killed for riding while poor

A young man was shot for not having a transfer


OPINION We sat together: elders, youth, workers, students, and folks. We were on our way to a low-paid job, an overpriced university, a pre-gentrified home and a public school. There was laughter and shouts, murmurs and silence. Then suddenly, there were nine heavily armed police officers and fare inspectors walking through the crowded 14 Mission Muni line. One stopped in front of me and my son.

"I don't have a transfer, I lost it," I tentatively answered a cop who asked to see my paperwork as I clutched my son's stroller and tried to see how close I was to the back door of the bus.

"We will have to write you a citation and you will have to step off the bus — now." He was yelling at me and was flanked by another officer. I knew I couldn't make a run for it, but I almost tried.

I thought of this moment when I heard about the 19-year-old man shot by the SFPD while running away from a Muni bus because he didn't have a transfer in the Bayview July 16.

Shot and killed for not having $2 bus fare.

At a press conference held July 18 at the scene of the shooting, Joanne Abernathy from People Organized to Win Employment Rights made the point: "No one should be shot for not having enough money to ride the bus."

For the last few years, police presence on Muni has increased — as have attacks on poor people and people of color whose only crime is not having enough money to ride the increasingly expensive so-called public transportation known as Muni. From fare inspectors working for Muni to fully armed officers, they form a terrifying mob waiting menacingly at bus stops in the Mission, Ingleside, Bayview, and Tenderloin, and then enter buses to harass, eject, and cite anyone too poor to ride.

The police said the man pointed a gun. That's what they consistently claim when rationalizing involved shootings. Several eyewitnesses said otherwise.

But before we get caught up in whether he had a gun or not, let's stay with the real point: this young man was shot for not having a transfer. He was shot for not having $2. How did we get here?

Even if you are a supporter of the police, you have to see the Les Miserables-esque insanity in this shooting.

Police culture enables, allows, and encourages the use of deadly force — so much so that it seems at times as if killing can happen for any old thing. Throw in institutional racism and classism, and more and more people will not only be incarcerated but killed with impunity.

"Don't get on the bus again if you don't have the fare or you might be arrested," the cop on Muni told me. He ended by giving me a citation and kicking me off the bus. He should have added "killed" to his threat of what would happen to us for riding while poor.

Tiny, also known as Lisa Gray-Garcia, is coeditor of POOR Magazine.



Lets face it, all these wannabe anarchists and Che's think that people who shoot at the "Po'Lice" are true heros. And can overlook all the facts about him being a grade-A scumbag.

Just more hot air from fake ass radicals....rolleyes.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 24, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

I had to laugh when I saw Ross Murkyreemer on television saying that shootings wouldn't happen if only we had more "programs". We have nothing BUT programs. Do you really think these young thugs are going to say "oh, look, midnight basketball, I guess I'll put my gun away".

Posted by Scott on Jul. 25, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

Lisa you were cited for not having a ticket, the parolee was shot because well, he was acting like a parolee, end of story. The rest of your writing is nonsense. Guardian editors why do you let such a crazy write for you?

In SF we have what are called laws, if you don't want live under these laws please leave.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 25, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

fuck your racist, non- gay tolerance or "LAWS". You want to kill everyone thats not exactly like you.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 20, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

I have a question. Why are you trying to advance the cause of poor people by defending this criminal? it makes the case for those that believe poor=criminal. Choose your battles, "Tiny", this shouldn't be one of them.

Also, do you think it is fair for all the poor people who shelled out two dollars or bought a pass to pay while other's don't because they feel it's their right to ride for free? As a person considered in the working poor sector of the economy, I don't think it is fair.

Posted by chelsea on Jul. 28, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

Why is Tiny trying to advance the cause of poor people by defending this criminal?

Because she's so filled with hatred for the police, the rich, whitey, and whoever else she's blaming the problems of the world on this week, that she's incapable of believing anyone with dark colored skin could ever possibly be responsible for their own actions. Plus, she's a huge supporter of the Bay Guardian's Pimps-for-Kids program.

Posted by RamRod on Jul. 28, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

Why are you shoving your Ramrod furiously into that strawman?
This ain't Tijuana, son.

Posted by Arthar Evuns on Jul. 28, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

Hello! This guy was wanted for killing a pregnant lady in Seattle. Bastard got what he deserved! This was not about racism, or trigger-happy cops, or that you can be shot for anything like fare evasion, it's about one evil person who ran from the cops and shot at them at got shot back. His dumb-ass knew what he was getting into and got his comeuppance. This is such a biased, insubstantial article trying yet again to demonize cops when they are the ones keeping criminals like this murderer off the streets.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

I love gettin' mad at 'em!
They do things I disagree with!
Because I'm a better person than them people I don't know but do a lot of imagining and obsessing about!


Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

There are so many better reasons for poor people to be upset than because a person wanted in a murder investigation wisely involves himself in a shootout with police.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 21, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

American Medical Response Ambulance Abuse of Power

While waiting for the Golden Gate Bus 101 for over an hour (I was early) I was disturbed to notice that an American Medical Response Ambulance (6L93302, 15301, 6W96937 Explore Bus) was parked the entire time of my wait in a nearby loading zone, not for any medical emergency but simply to have breakfast at Philz Coffee.
Civic Center
748 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102
Cafe: (415) 292-7660
Blog Van Ness Ave.
btwn Turk & Eddy (a few blocks from City Hall)
This would appear to be an abuse of whatever authority is granted to this type of vehicle. If those rendering our emergency services cannot conduct themselves with a measure of decorum when parking in San Francisco, then who else will help to set the much needed standards of traffic behaviors so essential in this naked city?

Journalists with questions are asked to contact:

Douglas Moore
EMSC Public Relations Manager
6200 South Syracuse Way, Suite 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: (303) 495-1287
Fax: (303) 476-4056

Deborah Hileman
EMSC Vice President
Corporate Communications, Marketing & Investor Relations
6200 South Syracuse Way, Suite 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: (303) 495-1210
Fax: (303) 476-4056

Yellow zones are for active freight loading and unloading only by commercial vehicles. Yellow zones are not intended for long-term parking of vehicles with commercial license plates. The effective times of yellow zones vary and are indicated by signs on the meter and/or by stencils on the curb. Non-commercial vehicles (those without a commercial license plate) parked in a yellow zone will be cited and can be towed if the sign specifies it is a tow zone. Six-Wheel Truck Loading Zones are indicated by signs only. When signed for six wheels or more, such trucks can use the zone. Six wheel loading zones can typically be distinguished by their red-capped meters in metered areas. There is no fee for establishing yellow zones.

V C Section 21458 Curb Markings
Curb Markings
21458. (a) Whenever local authorities enact local parking regulations and indicate them by the use of paint upon curbs, the following colors only shall be used, and the colors indicate as follows:
(1) Red indicates no stopping, standing, or parking, whether the vehicle is attended or unattended, except that a bus may stop in a red zone marked or signposted as a bus loading zone.
(2) Yellow indicates stopping only for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers or freight for the time as may be specified by local ordinance.
(3) White indicates stopping for either of the following purposes:
(A) Loading or unloading of passengers for the time as may be specified by local ordinance.
(B) Depositing mail in an adjacent mailbox.
(4) Green indicates time limit parking specified by local ordinance.
(5) Blue indicates parking limited exclusively to the vehicles of disabled persons and disabled veterans.
(b) Regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be effective on days and during hours or times as prescribed by local ordinances.
Amended Ch. 1243, Stats. 1992. Effective September 30, 1992.

Posted by Guest M Monroe on Oct. 09, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

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