San Francisco police take down metal barricades 2 years after George Floyd protests

Community activists in San Francisco are celebrating the removal of barricades from outside the police station on Valencia Street in the Mission District.

According to people who live in the area, the metal barriers first went up after racial justice protests in 2020, following the death of George Floyd. At the time, the police department told them they were supposed to be temporary, but the barricades ended up being in place for more than two years. 

Activists say there haven’t been any protests in the area since the demonstrations in two years, and they’re frustrated by the fences blocking the sidewalk.

"When they were originally put up, they entirely walled off the sidewalk," Luke Bornheimer, a community organizer with Community Spaces S.F. told KTVU on Thursday. "So you couldn’t walk on the sidewalk, you had to walk in the street."

He added there were people using walkers or wheelchairs, who ended up having to use the street to get around the police department.

This summer, Bornheimer started reaching out to the Police Capt. Michael McEachern. 

In an e-mail conversation, McEachern told Bornheimer the department has indeed requested more aesthetically pleasing protection around the precinct building, but the requests had been ignored by the city. 

But that didn't exactly satisfy Bornheimer, who questioned why the police need a barrier anyway.

He said more community members continued reaching out to complain about the barricades and on Wednesday, they raised the issue during a San Francisco Police Commission meeting.

At the meeting, Police Chief Bill Scott promised them the barriers would be removed.

One day later, they were.

Bornheimer said he’s excited for the sidewalk to become public space again – with no signs of police blockades in the way.

"I’m really grateful for everyone who raised their voices up about this, and advocated for this change to happen," he said. "This literally wouldn’t happen just by myself."