San Francisco Mayor Breed’s Q&A on the drug crisis from UN Plaza is cut short after audience refuses

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The Mayor of London Breed’s open-air question-and-answer session with county supervisors on the city’s drugs crisis at UN Plaza ended abruptly amid shouts and hollers from the audience.

Following a fiery statement about the crisis, Mayor Breed then attempted to answer questions about San Francisco’s drug problem from UN Plaza, but quickly decided this was the wrong forum.

The council began its offsite meeting to observe and discuss public safety with the mayor. But shortly after the audience declined following a question, Breed replied, “I think…the point is…I’m not sure without listening to the audience that this is going to be the right forum to be able to for good answer your question.”

Board Chairman Aaron Peskin then called for the meeting to be suspended and resumed indoors.

According to the police, during the session, a person threw a brick at people, almost hitting a minor. Someone who spoke to ABC7 News reporter Melanie Woodrow said the person was first accosted by someone in the crowd and officers arrested him.

Peskin released a statement in response to the above incident saying in part, “If we can’t guarantee everyone’s safety when the mayor and his security team are present, we’ve lost control of our estate. audience. And that is our shared mission: to take back control of all our public spaces, so that they are always safe and clean for everyone. We simply cannot defend this status quo and we must continue to demand change.

Peskin said he saw the Plaza as the most suitable location because it was one of the worst long-running hotspots for outdoor drug trafficking and consumption — at this point, in decades.

During Tuesday’s session, Mayor Breed said something had to change.

“We can’t keep talking out of both sides of our mouths on the one hand we want change and we want to hold people accountable and on the other hand we’re ready to let people get away with murder” , said Breed.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said the outdoor drug problem isn’t new, but it’s become so visible that many San Franciscans don’t feel safe.

WATCH: “Injecting Hope”: Documentary about an innovative drug overdose program and the fentanyl epidemic

“Even though San Francisco in most of its neighborhoods is as safe or safer than it was before the pandemic,” Peskin said.

We have seen efforts increase recently to deal with the drug crisis in San Francisco.

Earlier this month, the CHP began deploying officers to specific high-crime areas, including the Tenderloin and South Market, as part of a collaborative effort with members of the National Guard and the city to clamp down on dealers.

In a statement to ABC7 News, Supervisor Preston said the Department of Emergency Management was coordinating a pilot program, though it’s unclear what he’s piloting beyond drug arrests.

MORE: Hope — and a bit of skepticism — as fentanyl crackdown begins in SF’s Tenderloin

In particular, he tweeted: “Arresting people for drug addiction is neither moderate nor sensible. It is reactionary, cruel and counterproductive.”

Supervisor Ahsha Safai told ABC7 News: “We have proposals that are on the table that will work with adult probation, that will work with the sheriff’s department who will say if you are a drug addict if you are in class or on the point of in the event of an overdose, we need to get public health, the sheriff’s department and probation working together so we can get people into treatment.”

The SF Chronicle points to new statistics from the city, which show a 41% increase in overdose deaths in San Francisco in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year – with 200 people dead between January and March.

According to their calculations, the city is on track to exceed last year’s total.

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