San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the city’s board of supervisors were forced to retreat inside after a meeting they attempted to hold in a notorious open-air drug market was disrupted by jeers, shouting and a woman who hurled a brick into the crowd, according to a report.
On Tuesday, city leaders decided to hold the meeting outdoors in United Nations Plaza to highlight problems plaguing the area — including surging fentanyl overdoses — and to discuss potential solutions, KRON4 reported.
Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin took to the podium and proclaimed the city has been tolerating “illegal, out-of-control behavior for far too long.”
“Many San Franciscans do not feel safe,” Peskin said. “Brazen drug dealing and deteriorating street conditions have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis on our streets.”
But less than 10 minutes after the meeting began, it was cut short as the crowd hurled insults at the mayor and supervisors until they just walked away from the podium, according to KRON.
At one point, a woman threw a brick into the crowd and nearly struck a child, according to San Francisco police, who had been deployed to the plaza ahead of the meeting. She was swiftly arrested and whisked away in handcuffs.
A livestream of the event cut to a black screen and background music before a Breed appeared, according to KRON. It soon cut to the mayor, who continued delivering her remarks from inside City Hall.
Breed said that despite vastly expanded resources for drug addiction treatment, universal income and affordable housing, problems plaguing the city have not been solved and continue to spiral out of control.
“Compassion is killing people,” Breed said. “We have to change what is happening on the streets. It’s too easy getting drugs, they are dying under our watch, we have to do better.”
“I was born and raised in this city,” the Democrat continued. “I am putting everything on the line. I am doing this job without fear of losing it. San Francisco claims to be so compassionate and liberal. People are growing up in the midst of this chaos. What about them? We have tried over, and over again, and what we are doing is not working. Are we going to collaborate and work toward solutions? Or are we going to let the same old thing happen over, and over, and over again?”
Before he was abruptly cut off, Peskin attempted to tell the crowd about his demands to bring public safety back to the popular plaza, calling it a crisis that needs to be addressed as such.
Peskin penned a letter to Breed on Monday demanding that the city shut down all open-air drug dealing within the next 90 days.
His letter calls on the mayor to open an Emergency Operations Center at a number of problematic locations to coordinate city agencies and departments addressing the crisis.
California Gov. Gary Newsom recently referred to San Francisco’s fentanyl drug dealers as “poison peddlers” preying on citizens, according to KRON4.
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management told the station Tuesday that the city is “developing a pilot program to address situations when someone is so far under the influence of drugs that they may pose a danger to themselves or others.”
Breed is expected to propose the program during her upcoming budget proposal.