Rapper, ‘Frisco Five’ protester Equipto arrested in Mission District confrontation with police

Protesters gathered at Mission Police Station Wednesday evening following the arrest of Bay Area hip-hop artist and activist Equipto during a confrontation over the arrest of a youth, sending the station into lockdown.  

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department confirmed the arrests of Equipto, whose real name is Illych Sato, and one other person but was unable to comment on the charges.

The arrest occurred near the intersection of 16th and Mission streets at approximately 6:30 p.m. after police officers reportedly arrested a teenager outside of the apparel store Everlane at 461 Valencia St.,  according to Sato’s mother, Cristina Gutierrez. Sato and others were responding to what they described as the violent beating of the youth.

“They arrested a black young man and we were having a meeting so we all came out to defend the young man,” said Gutierrez, an activist who is employed at a nearby daycare. “They were putting him on the floor and hitting him. They were arresting him and beating him up right across the street from the organization. So they came out running to stop it. They tried to arrest me too.”

Officers stand blocking the entrance to Mission Station Wednesday evening. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

Gutierrez said that she and her son were among a group of bystanders who protested the arrest. When officers attempted to arrest Gutierrez, Sato, who was filming during the incident, intervened.

“He came to stop them from doing that. He was not touching them, just holding the film,” said Gutierrez, alleging that officers then arrested Sato.

Victor Picazo, who said he witnessed the youth’s arrest, said that an altercation ensued after a youth “bumped into a couple leaving a business.”

“The youth said a bad word to the white couple who bumped into the black youth, didn’t say excuse me to him, so he said a bad word to them, and the husband went up to the [youth] and shoved him,” said Picazo. “The kid defended himself and swung at him.”

According to Picazo, the man involved in the altercation then contacted the officers who arrested the youth.

Following Sato’s arrest, Gutierrez and a group of supporters walked to Mission Station but said that officers blocked them from entering. By 7 p.m., six officers could be seen lining the Mission Street sidewalk in front of the station as a growing group of protesters squared off with them.

Officers on scene did not confirm whether Sato was being held inside of the station.

A woman who witnessed Sato’s arrest and stood with protesters outside of the police station  said officers “did not try to de-escalate the situation at all.”

“They basically put him in the truck. Before that there was a young black youth being handcuffed,” she said.

District 10 supervisor candidate and activist Asale-Haquekyah Chandler stands outside Mission Police station. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

The woman said that officers also knocked a cell phone out of the hands of  Bayview District activist and supervisor candidate Asale-Haquekyah Chandler, who was filming the incident.

“Asale was just there trying to record. She wasn’t aggressive or anything but they were still coming at her and she took a couple of steps back. It was such a mess,” said the woman.

“I saw this young boy get beaten, that’s when I came in. I’m taking a picture with my camera and the next thing you know these cops started hitting me,” said Chandler.  “I held my hands up. I held my phone in my right hand and my left hand up and they were still hitting me.”

Sato and Gutierrez were part of a group of anti-police brutality protesters known as the “Frisco Five,” who staged a 17-day hunger strike outside of Mission Police Station.  They called for the firing of then-police chief Greg Suhr following a string of high-profile police shootings.

Suhr resigned in May following an  officer involved shooting that ended in the death of a 27-year-old black woman, Jessica Williams.


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