Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why Did I Come Back From Thailand?

I've had a few disturbing things happen around me over the last week, and the only common component to these two stories is the San Francisco Police Department.

Incident #1
I walk out of my apartment last friday, only to hear loud banging coming from an upstairs apartment. I look down the stairs to the front door of our building, and I see it is propped open and there are two cop cars parked outside. Then, I hear more banging coming from upstairs, and then (presumably the cop) saying "you called us, let us in!" I decide I don't want to have anything to do with this and casually and ever so gingerly HAUL ASS out of my building. After talking with my neighbors later, I find out what has happened.

Turns out one of our neighbors has been subletting his own room (in addition to the other bedroom) to foreigners who don't know any better, and then sleeps on the couch. He demands rent up front and actually hangs out in what would be his own room until 1 am before letting the sub-leasee in to go to bed. I guess the last batch of foreigners decided to not put up with his stuff, and my neighbors response was to move all of their shit to a hotel in the tenderloin while they weren't home and then change the locks. For those of you who aren't from SF, the tenderloin is one part of the city to put this...a part of the city that has successfully resisted gentrification. Or, to quote Dave Chapelle, "There ain't nothin' tender about that muthafucka!"

Holy Shit, right? But it doesn't stop there.

One of the sub-leasees returns to the building to get back the rent money that he has pre-paid, and unsurprisingly, my neighbor won't let him in. The sub-leasee insists. My neighbor calls the cops. My neighbor won't let the sub-leasee or the cops in. My neighbor tries to keep them out with a knife. He is arrested and goes to the pokie for the weekend. This is the scuffle I heard.

The entire building is wondering whether our landlord will kick him out. I think attempted assault would arise to a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, but then again, I don't do landlord tenant stuff so wtf do I know. I think if nothing else the landlord would be motivated by the fact that the neighbor is living under rent control.

Incident # 2
On my way home from work yesterday, there was a belligerent drunk on the N-Judah. No real surprise there. But he sat on the steps, making everyone who was trying to either get on or get off the train go around him. These steep stairs are treacherous enough without an additional inebriated obstacle. When someone commented that he was in the way, the drunk unleashed a few elbow jabs to passengers getting off the train, and then a tirade of profanity that lasted for about 10 minutes. I don't know what he said since I had my Ipod in (listening to "the Black Kids" I might add, which adds a degree of foreshadowing here) but it was enough to make the jaded SF people around me look like miffed puritans so it must have been pretty bad.

So at the stop at Carl and Cole, which is heavily trafficked, some passenger had had enough, put his foot on the drunk man's back and sort of push-kicked him off the train. Then the passenger ran off. When the drunk turned around, all he saw were a bunch of blank stares as the rest of us glared at him from inside the train. The drunk then decides that this one man, who had nothing to do with the push-kick, did in fact have something to do with the push-kick, and started throwing punches at him, and then threw some at the rest of us too.

This other guy, who was African American, then stepped up and made sure that the drunk did not get back on the train and hurt anyone. Then someone called the cops. The drunk, the African American who helped ward off the drunk, and the rest of us go up to the cops.

Who was the first person the cops tried to restrain? You guessed it! The BLACK GUY! I couldn't believe it. Here was this drunk white guy missing teeth rambling on and on about god knows what, not to mention the 9 or so other people from the train who were explaining what had happened, and they just kept on questioning THE BLACK GUY. To their credit, the cops did seem to sort things out eventually, but it was just disturbing that the default response was "restrain the black guy."

Also, kudos to all you other N-Judah riders who (I'm sure were just as excited to be going home after work as I was ) stuck around to make sure that the cops got their story straight.


greg said...

good lord!

that n judah incident is really one for the books (or blogs).

I've been on the train a few times with crazy druggies or drunks when the crowd starts to turn and is ready to mete out some good old fashioned SF-During-The-Gold-Rush vigilantism. I'm just surprised it doesn't happen more often.

Strange Bird said...

That makes me so angry. I've witnessed that kind of situation once, with my brother, except he hadn't even been involved in the incident--we lived in a mostly white town with a sizable Latino population, and my brother is neither but has dark skin so given the choice, people don't think he's white. He got pulled off the bus he was taking along with the three Latino kids who were actually fighting, and I've never forgiven those asshole cops.

Melissa said...

I don't know about the breach of quiet enjoyment, but I've never seen a residential lease that allowed unauthorized subletting. That should be enough to get him kicked out. Ah, the joys of apartment living.