How So-Called Gang Violence Starts in S.F.

Would more bifurcated trials bring more justuce to the city's justice system?

This week's feature story, “Menace to Society,” explores the way police and prosecutors classify crimes as “gang-related.” A young man on one of the city's gang injunctions lists explained to SF Weekly that violence in his Visitacion Valley neighborhood often stems from personal beefs that escalate. These beefs may involve different sets, but don't often rise to the level of organized gang activity. During one discussion, he had some help making his point.

As the validated gang member sat in the parked car on Divisadero Street with this reporter on a recent July evening, he heard shouting. Across the street, two young men stood chest to chest, one screaming into the other's face.

“Go 'head and fuck with that bitch-ass hoe!” said the one in a brown baseball cap and red sweatshirt.

“Ain't like that, man, ain't like that,” said the one in a red long-sleeved shirt and black shorts, turning to walk away. The man in the hat followed him, and bumped him with his shoulder.

“You wanna fuck with that bitch-ass hoe 'steada ya boy, go ahead,” said the youngster in the cap. “I better never see yo' ass come downtown!”

This wasn't the validated gang member's neighborhood, and he didn't know these guys. But the scene was familiar.

View Comments