Greetings involvement seeking readers!
Trouble in Black Paradise follows the trail to motivate “justice!”
This past Wednesday, February 8th, the vigil for Amilcar Perez-Lopez amped it up! Usually held weekly from 6-7pm at SF Mission District Police Station—where his killers still work—this time we went directly to DA George Gascón’s house.
February 26th will mark 2 years since Amilcar was murdered in Mission District, right outside his residence. Locals know six shots cut him down fired by undercover cops Craig Tiffe & Eric Riboli. Immensely problematic is the police report saying Amilcar lunged at them with a knife.
Locals here have seen autopsy reports clearly showing police falsified accounts. Medical reality illustrates what’s more in line with Walter Scott, killed in South Carolina by Officer Michael T. Slager: Amilcar was shot in the back—one striking his head—fleeing for his life; justified by cops playing the “fear card.” Slager in S. Carolina was charged with murder & is awaiting a second trial.
Under coalition pressure DA George Gascón finally said he’ll soon announce whether to charge Tiffe & Riboli with murder—but that was last year! So I joined frustrated advocates taking our spiritual plea—through “speak outs,” song & prayer—directly to Gascón’s neighborhood.
Our entourage arrived to a dark, rain swept hillside. Stately manors sat snuggly stacked—an eerily gracious welcome to all but abandoned high-end streets. Enduring clouds still sent balmy comfort, clamping a pause on wind force & patiently withholding testy showers. Then when a well rounded moon chanced to peek, her sky curtains shimmering “affirmation,” that chaperone glow lit something else casually waiting.
Half dozen cops on mopeds sat lined up by our intersection, seemingly ignoring us—quietly in conversation. In this vacant, overwhelmingly lethargic scene it’s no coincidence. “Others” monitor these Justice Coalition’s social media sites—& here they are!
All sped off single file in the opposite direction, passing an arriving police SUV that slowly cruised past us—toward where we headed—then vanished. We weren’t engaged & the air remained peaceful, calm—again, strangely “receiving.” We took it as that “glow’s” steeling affirmation, then carried on.
At last week’s vigil in deeper conversation with organizer Father Richard he’d learned of my artistry facilitation & I agreed to share. Some readers know of & have sampled a taste of my historic interactive workshops—utilizing call-&-response, a cappella song, dance & poetry in the African tradition.
I led us in chant, a caravan piercing suburbia’s desert half a block up to Gascón’s house…“No Justice, No Peace!” paving our steps…”Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me round!” as a melodic beacon lighting our resolve. Then a natural circle unfolded in fireside fashion on the sidewalk.
Candles lit & signs perched everyone contributed to the hour-long moment in their own way; some silently reflecting & others speaking out. Dawn Noelle Smith Beutler evoked the spirit of universal prayer—this excursion’s heart—calling to combine whatever internal manner of “force” that might be contributed. Mark Scandrette was Amilcar’s neighbor & heard the six shots—as did others here.
Victim Alex Nieto’s relations & other coalitions sent their support. Nieto’s sister spoke saying this was actually her first attended “street vigil”—or rally—previously only testifying in legal settings. I peppered these greetings with chants where we could call victim’s individual names—declaring we’d tenaciously “bring them justice!”
Some spoke candidly of civic brutality targeting Black & Brown people; others revealed this was their own first attended street protest ever. And a treat: Frisco 5 activist & rapper artist Equipto gave us fiery perceptive input—then graced us with a poem.
Riding the idea that fresh ways-&-means must constantly be infused in our unified tactics, focus concentrated on this: our divine spirituality motivating “evolutionary magnificence” to blaze within DA Gascón—compelling him to file murder charges against cops Tiffe, Riboli & all others who’ve murdered unarmed citizens.
And we would be back!
As I lead our caravan back to the intersection…”We shall not be moved!”…we discovered a distant onlooker being prominently silent. Across the street sat that SUV cop cruiser, dark—but definitely occupied. And sure enough as we reached the corner the moped brigade magically reappeared—resetting formation where parked originally.
We slowly dispersed—a moonlit affirmation “glow” hanging on our brow.
Yes indeed! Gascón we certainly would be back!
For info on Amilcar’s Vigil Group & how to help support his struggling family in Mexico click here.