The Internet is giving semi-viral treatment to two videos of a San Francisco police officer attempting to shove a man in a wheelchair off a sidewalk curb.
The incident occurred last Sunday in the city's Visitacion Valley neighborhood. One video shows the man in a wheelchair crossing the street to where a group of police are detaining two other men. The disabled man is then seen interacting with several officers, one of whom swivels the man's chair until it hits a sign pole. The officer then gives the chair a shove, and the man tips over toward the street but doesn't fall out of his chair. An argument ensues, and the police officer is heard saying, "You f**** ran my foot over." Later, he says, 'You don't run my foot over," and the disabled man says, "f*** your foot, you don't do a handicapped person like that."
The second video, from a different angle, shows the officer rotating the wheelchair then tipping it over.
The videos were posted on The Free Thought Project, a website that monitors police activity. The post said they were uploaded by the cousin of both the man in the wheelchair and one of the men being detained on the sidewalk. You can read that account of what happened here.
CBS SF Bay Area on Wednesday talked to the man in the wheelchair, DeVaughn Frierson, who told reporter Joe Vasquez he wanted the officer who pushed him to be fired. The station said Frierson is paralyzed from the waist down due to a spinal cord injury. Frierson said on camera that he intervened to "be a witness because my cousin was getting beat up by the police." He also told CBS he has hired a lawyer.
On Wednesday, SFPD Public Information Officer Grace Gatpandan issued the following statement in response to media requests:
In regards to the incident involving a SFPD Officer and a wheelchair-bound citizen: On 1/18/2015 at approximately 4:01pm, Officers were on regular patrol in the area of Sunnydale and Hahn in the Ingleside district. While in the area, officers on-viewed citizens engaged in a heated verbal altercation. Officers then went over to investigate the nature of the situation. A total of 4 citizens were cited and released from the scene.
The incident is being investigated by SFPD Internal Affairs Division and the Office of Citizen Complaints. As this is an employee investigation, we cannot discuss the details of this incident.