The Police State at Carnaval

Police Presence at Carnaval 2009Sounds familiar.

This is clearly a 3 person jobvomit cleanup.


Finally, the San Francisco Guardian Angels were on the scene doing absolutely nothing (and getting paid about the same).  This doesn’t even deserve half a paragraph.

29 Responses to “The Police State at Carnaval”

  1. stiiv says:

    Guardian Angels give me the creeps. That shit is one step away from a militia. I remember them from New York in the 70s. Is this SF branch something new?

  2. Carleigh says:

    Was there from 12 to 2 p.m. and the crowd could barely be called that. There was A LOT of police. I was surprised at the volume, and they all stood throughout the festivities, hanging out together in groups and observing. We did get some free rice, though! The Mathatma booth with the rice prize wheel was the best one. I took a picture with the Mahatma mascot.

  3. zinzin says:

    wonder why (if) there were more cops than in the past…?

    or was it just poorly attended because of crap weather, so it looked like more cops than usual?

    i don’t seem to recall wanding in the past.

  4. Ms Heidi says:

    oh man, you should have seen the ruckus that ensued at the gate when my brother and i innocently tried to walk in with our humphry slocombe ice cream in hand too, unaware of the injunction against outside food. dangerous stuff, that ice cream.

  5. subby says:

    The guardian angels freak me out too. Tensions always ratchet up about 5 notches when they’re around, even if there were none before they showed up. I had no idea they got paid – who pays them???

  6. That level of security is why we decided not to go this year. The lines turned us away at the gate last year. Who wants to hang out at a festival with that much security? It’s more fun to deal with the TSA at the airport.

  7. Junk Thief says:

    I passed at least 30 cops walking from Valencia to Bryant around 7:45 p.m. It was a bit spooky and hard to tell what “event” they were monitoring at that time.

  8. guero says:

    I guess I fear shit-starting norteños more than the police. I had no problem with them there. Always better more than not enough. I think if the weather was hotter, the way it was predicted, it would have been different. yeah the security gate issue not being consistent with the side streets is pretty stupid but I support anything that deters knuckleheaded gang bangers. did the sight of the police really factor in the fun that one did or didn’t have? Better to pay 80 grand for police security than millions in paying out a lawsuit. why are folks so anti-police? This is not 1930′s Germany? Jeez!

    • zinzin says:

      i have to agree. stupid door-security / bouncers / event organization aside….who really cares if the cops are there?

      what’s “spooky” about cops?

      i’ve always thought, the only person who doesn’t want to see the cops around, generally has something to hide from the cops.

      • olu says:

        There are lots of reasons to not want the cops around and when you “fit the description” simply by the fact of your existence, it makes them even less welcome.

        But we do need them. And generally cops in this town are A-okay (or at least a solid B) but having that many clustered can be intimidating.

  9. Charels Nibbly says:

    This entire event is an embarrassment, here’s the main reasons why:

    - When I first heard of this event… I was like “Carnaval” festival in May? What’s next, Halloween in January? Just dumb. Chang this folks, because it just comes off as confusing and frankly out-of-touch. I get it, “Carnaval” isn’t just Brazilian but a multi-cultural event of music, food, & arts. Then cut the association with the traditional Brazilian event and make it the annual “SF multi-culture event” or something (here’s where dropping the tradition would be a boon).

    - If I’m mistaken, every other street event is situated on a business district (Fillmore, Haight, Folsom, Union) except “Carnaval” is along Harrison -not Mission, or 24th. Not only do they subject the residential neighborhood in this area to the gamut of shit that this event brings in, they’re ultimately side-stepping business to owners on Mission/24th that should benefit from the 400k folks that come thru.

    It’s blatant greed. Want proof that the promoters are more about $$$ than actually providing a genuine event? Look no further than the multiple “B.B.Q.” booths or the guy who rented a booth across from the rec center who had mounds of plain white sweatsocks… WTF indeed.

    - Chuck

    • Jessica L. says:

      As someone who lives on Harrison at 18th St., I endorse these views and wholeheartedly agree. :) Ugh, we hate Carnaval. Haate.

  10. zinzin says:

    jeez. it sounds like this event was really poorly planned / executed across the board….

    we stood on mission & watched the parade for half an hour with my kid.

    it was fun.

    i wonder how the event (and these comments) would have run if the weather was super nice, and the crowd was (presumably) much bigger and (maybe) much drunker.

  11. lindylula says:

    Guero, I dare say you wouldn’t know a Norteño from a Sureño if one bit you on the ass. Sorry but I just hate it when people who don’t know what the heck they are talking about presume to tell me about tell me aaaall about the Crips and the Bloods, blue versus red or Norteño versus Sureño. Like it’s that simplistic.

    Right. So I’m supposed to believe that your years here in the the neighborhood make you an expert on all things gang related.

    Like Freud said- sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a group of brown teenage boys hanging out is just a group of brown teenage boys hanging out. The only thing that makes them gangsters is your fear of them.

    • zinzin says:

      i have no idea what guero knows about gang culture in the mission, but you make a good point here regarding typical assumptions regarding a group of brown teenage boys.

      my experience, most of the kids in the hood are nice enough. they are often stereotyped as knucklehead gangbangers – by folks who admittedly have no fucking clue – because of their clothes or language or whatever.

      and for sure – first hand from discussion – the notion that someone might assume they’re x or y or z because of that, makes them tense and angry. just like it would anyone else.

      that said – again from first hand discussion – when they dress and speak and act more or less the same as a group of gangbangers – it’s tough to discern for the layperson (as you say)…what’s someone supposed to do walking down the street?

      kids i spoke with had no answers. they just said that’s how everyone dresses, and talks, and acts…and if you need to know the difference, you know it.

      fair enough, i guess.

    • guero says:

      Well. I’m late on this reply and it may not be relevant anymore. I will say that yes, while I’m no expert on gangs, I do know the difference between nortenos and surenos (the sad thing is that really – there is no difference, they are both trouble). I sometimes hang out a local bar and a bunch will often show up. My good friend and half my family work in in law enforcement (some are brown too by the way)recognize them. I also have on old schoolmate who is a norteno. (Again, no expert but please don’t assume I don’t know shit either.) More often than not, one of them will start shit with some one else and it’s all over from there.
      I was at the festival and there were plenty of brown teenagers there and they seemed to be getting on just fine. I’m not quite sure how and why you are linking my disfavor of gangs to any given hispanic teenagers. Like I said earlier, if the weather was hot, as the planners were expecting, the police presence would not have seemed so large. I was there around noon and the crowd was sparse at best. To be honest, there wasn’t much there.

      If you think the police are there enforcing some kind of racist agenda, then there is nothing I can say that will dissuade you. I have to agree with most, the festival is pretty lame but I, and my family, very much enjoyed the parade. I didn’t mind the police presence there and I didn’t hear anyone there even mention it let alone complain about it, until I read the blog and comments.

  12. elly says:

    personally, i was glad for police AND guardian angel presence. whenever there’s a big event in the mission i worry that drunken event shenanigans will lead to upped gang violence. i guess it’s pretty much a buzzkill that cops are there hassling you about stupid crap like your bike, but it’s much more of a buzzkill when people get stabbed/shot on my doorstep. i think having cops actually out on the street as opposed to driving around in their cars really helps. and personally i totally love the guardian angels, but i did grow up military.

  13. LINDYLULA says:

    I don’t mind the cops. I dare say SF cops are some of the most tolerant I’ve ever seen in the U.S. But this notion among the people who post here that Carnaval is any more violent or any more bothersome than any other street fair in the city is annoying to me.

    Wanna talk about annoying? How about Bay to Breakers? One long, drunken filthy mess. Want to talk violence? How about Halloween in the Castro? Wanna talk about public urination and vomit on the sidewalks? How about the North Beach Jazz Festival or North Beach on any given weekend.

    To me the underlying subtext among these discussions is that you have a bunch of dark folks and all of a sudden it’s a recipe for violence and fear. If people would stop assuming that every single saggy panted teenager is a gangbanger and out to get you, then you wouldn’t live in such fear.

    Believe me, there is no mistaking a real gangbanger. When you see one you will know it. The difference if you pay attention is unmistakable. 9 out of 10 of those saggy arsed kids is not one. Sure they may be surly, sure they may be getting up to the usual teenaged hijinx (who hasn’t?)but they aren’t packing and they aren’t out to kill whitey.
    Talk to them sometime. Learn to understand the difference. Many are actually quite sweet.

    • jimbeam says:

      I don’t think anyone here thinks there is a need for the massive police presence. In fact, the overlying context of this discussion (as in, people have been very clear about it) is that there doesn’t need to be such a security presence, but in order to avoid lawsuits the city will feel compelled to provide one.

    • zinzin says:

      i agree with jimbeam there…in that no one is calling for an army of cops at carnival. and PARTICULARLY not because the crowd is largely non-white. i think that’s a pretty broad and misguided assertion.

      i’d argue that most folks here are not saying that when “you have a bunch of dark folks and all of a sudden it’s a recipe for violence and fear.”

      i think that most folks here are quite proud of the neighborhood’s diversity, quite protective of the long-standing Latino community at its core, and quite welcoming of all sorts of people.

  14. Deano says:

    Why is EVERYTHING cops do for the city “overtime?” They know these events happen every year. In a city like this, overtime should only happen when something extraordinary occurs, like a riot or a one-off big deal needs-high-security event. Not every damn thing. Extortion is what that is.

  15. renzomatic says:

    Looks like the Guardian Angels need to institute a Physical Education program for their ranks, a couple of chubsters in that group that won’t be chasing anyone down.

  16. sfmike says:

    The overwhelming overtime police presence at events like the Carnaval festival is an extortion racket, pure and simple. You don’t think they were there to actually protect anybody, do you?

  17. Stevesf says:

    Overtime it is people. Yearly cost of overtime alone, not including just regular pay, is more than the SF Public Defender’s entire annual budget.