SF cops back top 1 percent

Most were polite, but when push came to shove -- literally – they protected those who abused Wells Fargo protesters

Topics: Occupy Wall Street,

SF cops back top 1 percentSan Francisco police arrest a demonstrator during a protest outside of a Wells Fargo shareholders meeting on Tuesday. (Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith)

In the battle for hearts and minds, the folks who disrupted Wells Fargo’s shareholder meeting on Tuesday bested the San Francisco Police Department. While most cops on the scene were polite to protesters and shareholders alike, a few made clear they work for the top 1 percent. I got caught in an ugly scuffle that raised questions about police procedure during the protest.

An umbrella group known as the “99% Power Movement” — which includes the Service Employees International Union, Causa Justa, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Occupy Bernal, Moveon.org and other organizations — sponsored about 150 people to attend the shareholder meeting with valid proxies and voice their unhappiness with the bank’s lending and foreclosure policies. Another 2,000 or so showed up to demonstrate, including activists from Occupy San Francisco. At least a few dozen had been trained in direct action and were ready to get arrested for blocking the entrances to the meeting. The protest called for a foreclosure moratorium, principle reduction for “underwater” homeowners and an end to predatory lending. Cops and Wells Fargo security mostly managed to weed out the protesting shareholders; only about 30 were able to get in.

A little more than an hour before the meeting, protesters began to blockade the main entrances to keep out the non-protesting shareholders. A friendly and cordial group of every age and race milled at the intersection of Pine and Montgomery streets. They began to lock arms and held on to a yellow rope to block a section of Pine where shareholders were supposed to enter. It was disorganized for a while. The protesters were apologetic as they turned away not only Wells shareholders (except for proxy-holding protesters) but also workers at other buildings on the street. Haile Beyene, a paralegal coming back from lunch, shrugged at the inconvenience. “I support what they’re doing, but I have to go to work,” he said, smiling patiently. “I’ll get in.” After a quick conference, the blockaders decided to let non-shareholders through, as long as they could show I.D. proving they worked in another building. Most complied cheerfully. (Hands down the biggest jerks were members of the local Equinox gym who were trying to get in for their noon workout.)

As a reporter, I got past the blockade, but a cop behind the line of protesters refused to let me past him — although he wasn’t stopping anyone else. Officer William Palladino told me I’d have to get special press credentials from the protest organizers – which the organizers denied I needed, telling Palladino to let me through.

As I was politely negotiating with him, a beefy white guy in a light-blue shirt and khakis picked a fight with the protesters, eventually shoving one of them, hard, to bust his way through their line. That protester accidentally slammed into me and threw me into a police motorcycle. As I tried to stand up, Palladino shoved me again, trying to get to the scene of the scuffle – to detain the guy who got violent, I assumed. Instead, he and several other cops helped the man who crashed his way through the line hustle down toward the meeting.

Protesters asked that the cops detain the guy for shoving us, but they refused. I asked to speak to a supervisor, but suddenly the cops weren’t talking to anyone. I got a minor cut on my arm. It was no big deal, but between their arbitrary decision not to let me down the block and their protection of a guy who, had he been a protester, would undoubtedly have been charged with assault, I was disturbed.

I saw a similar dynamic several times: The most abusive people trying to crash the blockade were protected and hustled through. One Equinox gym member was chest bumping a skinny protester and screaming “Fuck you!” His assholery was rewarded by the cops escorting him past the blockade so he could get to the gym. (I should note that when the guy continued to scream obscenities at San Francisco State University junior Caitlin Murphy, who had politely asked for his gym membership card, one officer told him, “You got what you wanted, move along.”) Several other times, I saw cops turn away Wells Fargo “shareholders” who held valid proxy statements – one was an elderly black man in a Navy cap – while waving through those dressed for corporate success. Later, 14 protesters were arrested.

I called the San Francisco Police Department’s media relations office and Chief Greg Suhr to ask why the police had protected abusive blockade crashers and why they had denied access to those whom they perceived as protesting shareholders but let the well-heeled through to the meeting. No one has returned my calls, but when they do, I’ll publish their response.


More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>