Advertisement

San Francisco relatively calm during second night of curfew

By DION NISSENBAUM

SAN FRANCISCO, May 2, 1992 (UPI) -- Small bands of protesters skirmished with police Friday night in defiance of a nighttime curfew, but the city remained relatively calm one night after looters ransacked dozens of downtown stores.

San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan extended the curfew for a second night under state of emergency orders Friday as the city recovered from the worst looting to hit the city since the massive 1906 earthquake.

Advertisement

Police Chief Richard Hongisto personally supervised his officers on city streets Friday night, and clamped down on demonstrations even before they could begin. Just before 7 p.m. PDT, Hongisto ordered 150 protesters awaiting the start of a rally in the Mission District to disperse. The order came even before the 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew took effect, but Hongisto said the step was necessary to keep the peace.

The police actions came after Mayor Jordan told reporters the city would ''take all steps necessary to cause a dispersal'' of curfew violators. Jordan said the police would apply an "arrest and detain'' policy in an effort to keep troublemakers off the streets.

Advertisement

''Any kind of property damage or physical violence will not be tolerated,'' Jordan said. ''We do not want to let the situation get out of control.''

Police arrested some 380 people Friday night who defied police orders to disperse. Some of those arrested were Mission District protesters found roaming the streets in small groups. No looting was reported.

The city streets and highways were nearly deserted as many workers in the city went home early for the weekend in an effort to avoid any possible violence.

Friday's confrontations came one night after police arrested more than 1,100 people who took to the streets to protest the acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King last year. District Attorney Arlo Smith said at least 250 felony charges had been filed after two dozen stores were looted Thursday by a multiracial crowd that set fire to trashcans, shattered windows and ransacked some of San Francisco's most prestigious stores, including Macy's, Victoria's Secret and F.A.O Schwarz.

While the mayor has not released any damage estimates, he said the city has already spent more than $260,000 on police overtime and extra sanitation crews.

Jordan said the looters were taking advantage of a tense situation for personal gain.

Advertisement

''Not all of (the protests) had to do with the Rodney King incident,'' he said.

San Francisco joined Los Angeles in declaring a state of emergency in the wake of Wednesday's King verdicts.

Riots in Los Angeles killed at least 40 people, injured more than 1, 400 and left hundreds of businesses in ashes. King went on television Friday afternoon to make an impassioned plea for an end to the violence.

Hundreds of police from surrounding counties remained in San Francisco to help quell violence.

San Francisco was not the only city in the Bay Area to declare a curfew. Across the Bay, the Berkeley City Council declared their own state of emergency and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the university town. The order came one day after small bands of looters attacked shops on Telegraph Avenue, one of the city's commercial strips near the University of California.

Oakland asked its citizens to honor a voluntary curfew and asked liquor stores to suspend sales of alcohol early in the evening to help keep tensions low.

Latest Headlines