Sam Wolson, a photojournalist who was on assignment by the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper at the protest, was clubbed on the head as he knelt to take a photo. Wolson remarked afterward that, “If you can’t have media safely holding all parties accountable, the whole system breaks down.”
I recall my first contact with police as a middle schooler. Two of my friends and I, all Black youths, were walking in our neighborhood. San Francisco’s Richmond district was diverse but mostly White then. It was a dark early evening. As the three of us were walking, a police car pulled up. The officers ordered us to empty our pockets. They searched us without asking for permission or explaining why they had stopped us. Finding nothing illegal, they departed without explanation or apology. We knew they had stopped us because we were Black. To them Black kids in a “White neighborhood” was synonymous with suspicious. They didn’t beat us or kill us. So the physical toll was light, but the psychological effects were deep. Afterward we had to question if the police would protect and serve us.