Civil rights attorney John Burris to sue SFPD over alleged Valencia Gardens profiling

Civil rights attorney John Burris notably fought legal battles against OPD's "riders" and BART police on behalf of Oscar Grant.
AP photo by Jeff Chiu

Prominent civil rights lawyer John Burris will sue the SFPD on behalf of the family of D’Paris “DJ” Williams, after a neighborhood brawl involving police at the Valencia Gardens housing project that Burris called “outrageous.” 

Last Friday, 20 year old D’Paris Williams was bicycling to his cousins’ house from the Batkid festivities downtown when plainclothes police officers from the Violence Reduction Team, a narcotics and firearms reduction squad, attempted to detain him for riding his bike on the sidewalk. In the confusion, a brawl broke out with the police, Williams, and three neighbors. Video was recorded of the incident, which quickly went viral. 

After seeing a bloody and beaten Williams carried to a squad car by police in the video clip, his family and the residents of Valencia Gardens have posed the question: why? 

Why did plainclothes officers tasked with the mission of seizing guns stop a young man coasting on his bike on a sidewalk for a few feet? The family said they believe Williams was targeted because he was a young man of color visiting a housing project.

“When young people are brutally assaulted by the police, there must be accountability,” Burris told the Guardian.

Williams’ step-father, Frank Williams, an ex-offender who now works with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, was shaken when he first heard what happened to his son, DJ. “I know there are some good cops, some are my friends,” he said.  “But there are some bad cops. What ran through my mind was how he got profiled like that, just because. I don’t like how it happened, and how they justified it.”

The SFPD was unavailable for comment at press time. All they found on DJ Williams was juice and a cupcake. 

A protest defending D'Paris Williams and the three other men hurt and detained in the brawl marched in the Mission Tuesday, and another protest is planned for tonight at 5pm at 15th and Guerrero. 

Click here for our previous coverage of the Valencia Gardens incident


You like all kinds of blacks and hispanics.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 7:03 am

That's ridiculously simple to refute. I don't particularly like Dennis Herrera, and I can't stand Willie Brown. Basically, if they're corporate shills, I'm not a big fan, and if they stand up for ordinary folks, they're fine by me whoever they are.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 8:36 am

but most blacks were not? Then wouldn't you end up hating most Asians but only a few blacks? Which would look a lot like racism to many people.

Saying that you are OK with Asians as long as they aren't successful or corporate or conservative is rather like me saying I'm OK with blacks as long as they aren't criminals.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 10:27 am

There's no hate in my game - he's awesome. His shiny suits with too-wide lapels, his bubble 'fro, his ambulance-chasing - he's the epitome of the "mo' money, mo' money, MO' MONEY!!" attorney I'd want on my side if I got into a fight with the cops.

Posted by The Goebblin Love Child of Smaug on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

IIRC, marcos asked on the last Valencia Gardens thread how much this little police freakout will cost the taxpayers. IIRC, trolls answered "nothing, because the police were just doing their jobs." Seems marcos will be proven right.

And thank goodness we have people like John Burris. Too bad the taxpayers will have to foot the bill, and not the thugs who perpetrated the attack. And how do you bring justice to those who are shot to death by police? How do you put a price on human life? Oh well... at least one guy will get justice.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

Funny thing is - you actually seem quite reasonable, at least for a leftie, until you get on the topic of cops or Asians, whereupon you turn into a bigot.

Anyway, a lawsuit was entirely predictable even though I saw nothing on the video indicating any wrongdoing, just because Burris and any black kid on the make knows they can do a shakedown and, even if without any merit, they'll probably get something just to make it go away.

But quite why you and marcos gloat about that, when it is your taxes paying for it, shows that your anti-police obsession is so strong that you don't even care if it hits you in the wallet, as long as your rabid white guilt is assuaged for a moment.

Truly pathetic. If you get mugged by some black kid and the cops do nothing, don't expect any sympathy here.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

I haven't seen Greg ever say a single thing against Asians, and his criticisms of bad cops seem pretty reasonable. I'd hardly call that a rant. You're the one who's ranting here.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 8:32 am

Greg came out with some of the most racist stuff I've ever seen here, but only directed at Lee, Pak etc. because they were proving popular and winning.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 9:13 am

Wasn't Greg a Leland Yee supporter?

Do you have an example of anything actually racist, as opposed to just being against Ed Lee and Rose Pak, which is like most liberals?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

I'm not doing your homework assignments for you.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

And I've been here a long time. And it sounds like you can't come up with anything either. I don't agree with Greg on a lot of things, but racist he's not.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

Greg isn't racist in the normal way, except insofar as many progressives hate on the successful (usually white and Asian) while conferring victim status on blacks and Hispanics so they can patronize them.

But I'm not the only one here who recalls Greg citing some dark conspiracy theories about the Chinese during the last mayoral election. And he never dumps loving praise on Asians the way he does on blacks.

Sometimes it is what you don't say that condemns you to bigotry.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

You have a whole thread of blatantly racist dog-whistle politics -people mocking a successful attorney for his hair... people saying black people shouldn't be "uppity"...

On other threads I've seen some of the sickest, most vile open racism (including against Asians). Lucretia Snapples, who now wants to whitewash her disgusting legacy by switching her handle, has said that blacks should be grateful for their enslavement because it gave them opportunities in America, and then gleefully cheered while an Asian family with a disabled daughter got evicted, mocking them for their inability to speak English.

And then you have the nerve to say that I'm racist, on the basis of... what??? Things I've never said, things made up out of whole cloth. The examples of racism I'm citing are real and irrefutable. It's repugnant that the Guardian even allows their forum to be used as a refuge for right-wing racists. And then to cover up their turds they try to slander other people. Sickening.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

I'm not saying you're consistently racist. You're are a little too smart to be caught out that way. Rather you wrap a thin veil of progressive veneer over it, dressing it up as whinery about under-represented blacks and hispanics. Or claiming to give a crap when some kid gives the cops some shit and gets a slap for his trouble.

You really only lost your cool when Lee did an end-run around your already flimsy mayoral ambitions for the hopeless. While we all smiled at your pathos, you went into a hissy fit about voter fraud among the Chinese, opining that their cultural limitations made them easy fodder for the Pac machine.

Throw in the fact that Asians out-perform whites on many measures, thereby proving that being non-white is no disadvantage, which skewers your shallow axiom that American society is biased towards white success, and you really cannot complain when someone calls you out on your shit.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

I just spotted Greg renting a U-Haul, dabbing with a tattered Che tshirt at streaks of tears running down his cheeks

Posted by Patriotic American on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

not equality of opportunity and he becomes quite angry and confused when he sees minorities who don't need that assistance. It enrages him when minorities don't fit his pre-conceived cultural stereotypes, which he takes great comfort in being a white, upper-class progressive male who's also deeply ashamed of his class and color.

He's not a bad guy he's just been caught in the progressive miasma for so long he doesn't even know who he is anymore. His "yellow peril" rants are infamous, he usually counters allegations of anti-Asian prejudice by mewling about his strong support of Leland Yee - the equivalent of a white person talking about all their "black friends."

But he's amusing and he always rises to the bait.

Posted by The Goebblin Love Child of Smaug on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

So long as outcomes are not statistically equivalent, so long as outcomes vary due to ethnicity, then at some point(s) along the line, there is not equality of opportunity.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 8:16 am

Yes, that's the only possible explanation. The descendants of poor Chinese immigrants who now earn more than native-born whites do so thanks to greater opportunity.

The leftist mind is a wondrous thing to behold, truly.

Posted by Greg's U-Haul blankets on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 9:30 am

that being non-white is a barrier to success.

And that is the basis of the left's dislike and distrust of Asians, even while they never met a black or hispanics whose nutsack they didn't want to suck on.

The regime of sanctimonious political correctness that took over our educational institutions in the 1990's has a lot to answer for.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 9:47 am

probability) that different ethnicities may possess different motivations, ambitions and aptitudes to build on those opportunities.

Outcomes that correlate (imperfectly, of course) to race may be nothing more than inherent differences between those races. And, before you say it, if races weren't in any way different, then we would need to invent different words for different races, not adopt that taxonomy at all.

The world should be fair but doesn't have to be perfect.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 9:40 am

Thanks for clearing the air on exactly where you stand. Too bad you're too chickenshit to say that without the shroud of anonymity.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

Asians high school students spend 60% more time per week doing homework than whites, blacks, and Hispanics. While your ilk whines about inequality of opportunity, Asians work hard to create opportunities for themselves.

What would it take for you to admit that your worldview is a crock of shit?

Posted by Greg's tear-stained Che tshirt on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

they are perfectly willing to agree that races are different, because they claim that whites are more racist.

But when you suggest that another difference might be that blacks commit more crimes, then they throw their hands up in horror.

So races can be different ONLY when it makes whites look bad OR it makes blacks look good, but not otherwise.

Some might say that inconsistency is itself a sign of racism.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

different races is hardly controversial. If there were no differences, then the words "white" and "black" would have no meaning. But of course we all know how to use those words perfectly well.

So I am happy to say those words to anyone, and have done so on many occasions with any problem. Only socialists seem to have an issue with people being different from each other - their ideology needs people to be regarded as clones of each other rather than individuals.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

Please, continue.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 7:31 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 7:02 am

Tell me again how sheep's bladders can be used to predict earthquakes.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 7:52 am

Tell me again how poor Asians enjoyed more opportunity than whites

Posted by Guest on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 8:07 am

position of being ultimately indifferent to outcomes because, as a white male professional (I'll guess in tech for the purpose of this) that he is going to win either way. Either he gets his Cuba-style revolution or he doesn't but he's doing fine anyway.

He's like a smarter more successful version of that other white male tech gentrifier, Marcos. They can both take or leave politics - it's just a hobby for them and not a matter of life and death.

Contrast that with real-life losers like Eric and Lilli. At the bottom of the social heap, they really need a revolution, or else they end up in the worst of both words - white male privilege coupled with black/hispanic outcomes. If you're going to feel white guilt and shame, at least try and make a buck

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 9:44 am

of their misbehavior. How can this be accomplished?

Perhaps after a sufficiently broad demand from the public,

1) can bad cops have their vestment in the pension system taken away?

2) can a more effective selection routine be implemented which will screen these miscreants from the pool of candidates?

*real lillipublicans or fake? You decide.

Posted by lillipublicans* on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

civil damages and suspension from duty.

I see nothing here that indicates that this incident rises to that level.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 9:14 am

Big Bad Burris!

Keeping it real, you fee me?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

These racist cops need to be in prison.

The SFPD needs to be made to understand that this is America, we have a Constitution, and they are not exempt from its provisions.

Their actions continue to be an embarrassment to the city and the people of San Francisco.

Posted by on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 6:53 am

Blacks need to know their place. When blacks get uppity, they should expect a little police baton massage.

Posted by Chromefields on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 8:36 am

situations with cops. Where the average white person would just co-operate and be helpful, in a quiet and civil manner, blacks can get bitchy and evasive.

Blacks find themselves on the receiving end of a slapping more not because of their skin color but because of the behavior patterns that frequently result.

You do not find many white grandmothers catching crap from the cops, because they behave very differently, most obviously by not committing crimes in the first place.

The police have my support here, and I am comfortable with their actions.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 9:30 am

dumb ass.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 10:39 am
Posted by anon on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 11:01 am

are neither cogent nor interesting.


Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

You made a personal attack.

I'm going with him.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

What is your IQ? 60? He cut and pasted some repetitive tropes that won't be true no matter how many times you say them. If you think that's interesting than you must've had a lobotomy.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

But you're too lazy to try, and so just threw out insults instead?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

I'm not allowed to comment? Keep hitting spam filter yet I'm not spamming.

Posted by Nicolás en el distrito de la Misión on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

Well I give up. I've taken out every little timid thing I can possibly think of in a 3 sentence post that would trigger the spam filter, and it still won't allow me to post other than the question I asked about posting. I'm not about to register with the spam filter site in order to post. So Nevermind.

Posted by Nicolás en el distrito de la Misión on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

You simply enter the characters you see in the Captcha and your post magically appears.

Eventually. Not instantly.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

I can post again.

Perhaps the SFBG is doing the best it can with resources available, but the filter has issues.

...okay... now about to try and fill out the CAPTCHA... 2kbUX

*real lillipublicans -- or imp? (reader must decide)

Posted by lillipublicans* on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

I am braka i lives in slovakia and i was in a serious relationship with my Ex Guy for three good years.. One day we were in a dinner party, we had a little misunderstanding which lead to a Quarrel and he stood up and left me at the dinner party. i try to call him but he was not picking my calls so after than i contacted my brother and told him about it,my brother so much love me that he had to see him on my behalf,he told my brother that it is over between us.. Then i contacted a friend of mine that had this similar experience and she directed me to one of the spiritual diviner ( first i thought it was not going to be possible and i contacted him i was ask to come up with a little requirement information of me and my Ex Guy,so i did what i was ask to do, after 24Hours after the spell was cast i was in my office when my Ex Guy called me and was asking me to forgive him and come back to him. i was very surprise it was like a dream to me,so ever since we have been happily married with one kid my lovely baby(Ceslav)...i wish you the best of luck...

Posted by Braka on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 5:54 am

Hello every body in the world my name is natas My ex-boyfriend dumped me 9 months ago after I accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him.I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me.I was so confuse and don’t know what to do,so I reach to the internet and i meet Dr,abaka and i explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness.I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that,we are about to get married.once again thank you Dr,abaka you are truly talented and gifted Email:

Posted by natas on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 11:20 am

¡Excelente!... and after seeing los matones de la policía in this video, may he win his case. What I saw in that video is beyond disgusting. It's a police state. Anyone else paying attention to what's going on in this country of a similar nature? Or are you still wasting hours obsessed with your tech industry gadget distraction? Chau, chau.

Posted by Nicolás en el distrito de la Misión on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

The cops were faced with a difficult and hostile situation and acted appropriately and, if anything, with restraint. No drawn firearms, no tazers, no nightsticks, just minimum acceptable levels of force to contain the situation.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

Progressives want to rewrite the rules of society, with more rules. How they think more laws and more state power will work out for them is a mystery.

Posted by Matlock on Nov. 25, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

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