A triple-shooting at the busy intersection of 3rd and Palou shook the Bayview-Hunters Point community on Feb. 2. At 9:45 a.m. that day, a 40-year-old local resident named Terry Franklin Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene. In an online memorial for victims of gun violence, one comment is telling: “Rest up Brother,” it said. “You’re in a better place than we are now.”
It was on that corner last Friday, March 12, that Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission invited people to gather to discuss the rise in gun violence in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. The discussion, titled “How do we stop violence in the Black community?” featured speakers such as Mayor London Breed, Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, and various community leaders. The African American Arts and Cultural District also sponsored the event. Throughout, locals were encouraged to unify their voices, rally in community, and discuss their concerns with city officials and the San Francisco Police Department.
In a personal speech from Mayor Breed, she recounted how her own family was impacted by violence and poverty in San Francisco. “Why is it that my brother’s in jail right now? Why is it that I lost a sister to a drug overdose? Why is it that my cousin, Charlie Breed, was killed in the Bayview-Hunters Point by the police?” she asked. “I’m here to mourn the loss of people that I miss. But I’m also here to ask this community to not let them die in vain.”
February’s tragic triple shooting was only one incident in a long list of tragedies to strike the historically Black neighborhood. On the Fourth of July last year, 6-year-old Jace Young was shot and killed, allegedly by another minor. More than half of the approximately 30 San Francisco homicides this year have happened in the Bayview-Hunters Point district. Yet, many in the community feel the neighborhood has been neglected by SFPD and city programming that could lift people out of poverty, and shift the violent climate.
In the midst of the rising violence, Bayview’s Police Captain Dangerfield retired, and was replaced by a new captain named David Maron. Officer Nicholas M. Buckley, who fabricated a reason for arresting a Black man in 2015 and had a federal case dismissed over his false testimony, was also recently transferred to the Bayview last month. One speaker at Friday’s event said that, after approaching a police officer stationed at 3rd and Palou after the February shooting, the officer complained that he had to stand watch and told the man “I’m not a security guard.” The crowd cheered in response, clearly empathizing with the speaker’s frustration.
The conversation throws the national debate over whether to defund the police into sharp relief. Mayor Breed is redirecting $120 million from the city’s police budget into Black communities through programs like workforce development, small business support, and Black-run city agencies. Meanwhile, a growing effort to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin blames him for the increased violence. But this event’s speakers made no mention of Boudin, and also made it clear that they weren’t prepared to let police off the hook. “We, as a community, are going to tell Assistant Chief Redmond what we want community policing to look like in Bayview-Hunters Point,” vowed Wealth & Disparities founder Phelicia Jones.
Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community is active on Facebook, where they’ve posted several videos from the event. The organization is encouraging those who were not able to attend to watch the videos and donate to their campaign COVID-19 Aid to the Bayview, through which they provide groceries, cash aid, masks, and other supplies to local residents.