Police try to calm neighbors' fears

It was clear at Capt. Steve Tacchini’s community meeting in the Mission District Tuesday night that neighbors are on edge after the weekend’s two shootings left three men dead and two seriously injured.

The hastily called meeting was overflowing: at least 60 people sat in the stuffy room, while dozens more stood or spilled out the doorway, straining to hear.

Tacchini laid out the steps The City’s police force have taken to respond to the shootings, which may have been gang related. He said several Honda-bike units, which normally patrol around park areas citywide, have been deployed to the parks near the Friday and Sunday night shootings. A host of motorcycle officers have also been deployed to the neighborhood, and as of Tuesday night, their traffic stops had already resulted in seven arrests on drug and weapons charges.

He said the increased resources will stick in the Mission for about a week, until things calm down and it’s clear there won’t be an escalation of the violence. After that, the Mission Station will continue to use more of its resources in trouble areas like 24th Street and at trouble times.

At the meeting many people had questions about the crime, and others had complaints about slow police response times to certain incidents. The neighborhood’s racial tension – which was historically Latino but in recent years has become home to an increasing number of white people – was also clear in the meeting.

One man, who declined to give his name, said he was offended that the second shooting was immediately deemed gang related.

“Just because they were Latino and they were waring red doesn’t mean they’re gang members,” he said.

Another woman, who also declined to give her name, said she’s seen a “double standard” about who gets in trouble in the Mission district, where Latinos are harassed by police for activities that white people are not.

“Even my son sees it. He asks me, ‘Mommy, when I grow up, am I going to have handcuffs too?” she said.

A white man stood up and attested that he has been hassled by the police even though he is white.

Tacchini encouraged anyone who believes they’ve witnessed police misconduct or racial profiling to contact him.

 

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