San Francisco supervisor apologizes for giving protester middle finger at Tyre Nichols rally
SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton issued a statement on Wednesday that included an apology for an incident at a recent protest where he gives someone the middle finger.
The incident happened Feb. 1 at rally for Tyre Nichols at City Hall.
The apology includes allegations that the individual the supervisor was directing the offensive gesture toward, stole a bullhorn and has harassed and stalked the supervisor several times just outside City Hall.
"The individual threatened Supervisor Walton in an attempt to incite violence amongst the crowd during the rally," the statement from the supervisor's office read. The statement alleges the unidentified individual has also threatened other community members in San Francisco.
"After repeated attacks from this individual, Supervisor Walton raised his finger and flicked him off. This action from Supervisor Walton, as a result of continued harassment from this person, was wrong," the statement read.
An Instagram account with the handle: ‘doggtowndro’ shares some of what transpired. An individual with a megaphone appears to be personally heckling Sup. Walton. "No performative (expletive). We out here every day in San Francisco for these folks!" The video with captions cuts away to the same person saying, "Shamann you a punk, blood. Talk about Tyre…you don't talk about the bodies in San Francisco." The person with the megaphone continues to berate the District 10 supervisor on the steps of City Hall and says that Walton is selling out his own community.
The Instagram account has a caption that contextualizes what the criticism appears to be about. "Politicians are actors," the caption says. They say Walton won't speak out on behalf of the families in his own district who are affected by police violence. They list Keita O'Neil and Mario Woods as examples. In both instances, these Black men were killed by San Francisco police officers in the Bayview District, the district Walton now represents. However, both cases happened before Walton began serving on the board in 2019.
Seemingly having enough of the heckler, Sup. Walton steps forward and raises his middle finger from the steps of City Hall. Walton is quickly approached by a couple of people who seem to be deescalating the situation. They lower his raised middle finger and re-direct him toward City Hall away from the protester who continues to lay into the former board of supervisors president.
The masked and hooded individual with the megaphone then continues to call for justice for those who have been killed at the hands of SFPD — many of which have been high profile cases including; Alex Nieto and Luis Gongora Pat.
Walton's office says in their statement, "This individual's history of violence will be taken seriously by this office." Despite the supervisors' allegations, they won't be seeking a restraining order against the bullhorn-wielding, masked individual.
The supervisor's office also included details of threats their office receives through email and phone calls that are from people in San Francisco and around the country as they prepare to examine reparations in San Francisco. The supervisor's office does not link these threats that are "cause for alarm," to the individual in question who is seen on video.
Walton made headlines last summer, again at City Hall, when he clashed with a sheriff's cadet. The cadet said Walton used racial slurs and threatened him. At the time, Walton responded by saying he was being targeted for retaliation.
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