You thought the guy throwing a homeless man’s belongings in Oakland’s Lake Merritt was bad? Move over “Jogger Joe.”
A new witness who has come forward exclusively to On Guard claims nightclub owner Jason Perkins is the man who threatened to assault and burn people living in a homeless tent encampment in fliers anonymously distributed on Duboce Street in February.
This witness, a former employee of Perkins, provided me with text message exchanges seemingly showing Perkins bragging about news coverage of his threatening fliers, which the witness claims Perkins himself taped to homeless people’s tents. In those text messages, Perkins also admits to brandishing a gun at a homeless man. That homeless man claimed he chased Perkins with a bat because Perkins had just pepper-sprayed him in the face. The former employee also claims Perkins asked him to recruit his friends to beat the homeless people after sundown.
In a Thursday phone call Perkins denied these claims.
Perkins is prominent in the local music scene as he owns the venue Brick and Mortar Music Hall, and until he sold his shares a few days ago also owned the venue New Parish in Oakland.
In February, the San Francisco Examiner was first to report a rash of fliers that were posted on homeless people’s tents along a skate park in South of Market, across the street from Brick and Mortar.
“ATTN JUNKIE MOTHER FUCKERS … WE are SICK of watching you leave needles in our park, shitting in our park and STEALING AND THIEVING from children and innocent people in the Park,” the fliers left on tents on Feb. 9 read, which continued “IF YOU ARE STILL HERE AFTER DARK TONIGHT, the hunters will become the hunted. We will pound you, burn you, beat you, and fuck you up if you are within a 100 yards of this park starting after sun down tonight.”
That night, people living in tents along the skate park in South of Market fled, afraid for their lives.
Yet there were early hints of Perkins involvement: Frequent use of all-caps throughout the flier were also used in emails I uncovered from Perkins to The City of San Francisco, when he requested they disband the homeless tent encampments. And in a Facebook post Perkins wrote which was screen-captured by the East Bay Express, Perkins wrote “I’m so so sick of the thieving junkie motherfuckers in SF.” That’s nearly the exact same word-choice used in the threatening fliers.
When an unknown man — who people are now saying is Perkins — distributed those fliers, he allegedly pepper-sprayed one homeless man, Cory, in the face. Cory then chased him with a baseball bat. Perkins then allegedly fled to his car, grabbed a gun, and turned it on Cory, who fled. Since February SFPD have not made an arrest because the identity of Cory’s assailant, and the man who made the threats, was unclear.
That may have changed this week, after one former employee has named Perkins as the man who allegedly pepper-sprayed Cory in the face while distributing fliers that threatened to “burn” and “beat” the homeless.
This column’s coverage of the incident prompted a former employee named David Vincent Palmer, an eight-year employee of Perkins who managed payment of musicians, security and “everything but the bar,” to come forward. Before coming to me, Palmer also leaked security camera footage of Perkins brandishing a weapon at Cory, substantiating the homeless man’s story.
Palmer said the music venue owner was fed up with homeless people outside his business, Brick and Mortar, and asked him to make good on the threat in the fliers. “He came up to me in the office,” Palmer said. Perkins then “asked if I’d get a group of guys to beat up the homeless once the sun went down.”
Palmer told me he himself was previously homeless in New York City, for a time, before coming to San Francisco to look for work. He refused the request.
“I said ‘no, I will not do that.’ They’re the most vulnerable, that’s wrong,” Palmer said.
Perkins told me Thursday that he only pointed a can of mace that resembled a gun at a homeless man, Cory. But Palmer alleged Perkins actually brandished a gun, and only bought the mace after the incident to cover his tracks.
Palmer provided text message exchanges from the night of the incident where Perkins sent Palmer a web link to Brick and Mortar’s webcam and wrote “homeless guy hits me with a bat in my car and I chase after him with a gun.”
When the Coalition on Homelessness posted the threatening flier on its Facebook page, Perkins took a moment to brag to Palmer. “I noticed the homeless coalition were upset by my little note,” Perkins wrote.
Perkins also texted Palmer worried that his name had started to circulate on Facebook in relation to the flier.
“How did my name get attached?” Perkins asked Palmer. “Deny and say nothing.”
Palmer told me Perkins was proud of his threat to homeless people’s lives. “He called me gloating and sent me that video,” Palmer said.
Parish Entertainment Group sent out a statement Thursday saying Perkins “was attacked on several different occassions by a disturbed person,” and that on “the last occasion which is seen on video, the person swung a bat at Jason Perkins who defended himself with pepper spray.”
“Now months later, an ex-employee is attempting to link this incident to some written threat against the homeless,” the statement said. “At no point, did anyone working in our company issue a threat against the homeless. This is a complete falsehood.”
After this column’s coverage, Palmer has decided to come forward to the San Francisco Police Department and will provide Perkins’ text messages as evidence. The District Attorney’s Office and SFPD have been involved in an ongoing investigation into the threatening fliers, both agencies confirmed.
“This is an ongoing, active and detailed investigation,” said David Stevenson, an SFPD spokesperson. “Our investigators have spoken to witnesses and the victim and we encourage anyone with information about this case to contact our department.”
And soon, should SFPD act, we may know if Perkins is indeed innocent — or if he went far and above “Jogger Joe” to threaten homeless people’s lives.
This post has been updated from its original version for clarity.
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.