Protest, thrown brick disrupt San Francisco mayor’s hearing on drug crisis response

An outdoor public hearing on San Francisco’s drug crisis came to an abrupt end Tuesday after protesters interrupted the event, with one attendee later arrested on suspicion of assault after a brick was thrown.

The event, held at United Nations Plaza in the city’s downtown, was part of a monthly question-and-answer session with Mayor London Breed hosted during the regularly scheduled meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Board President Aaron Peskin organized the hearing to highlight Breed’s plans to curb drug sales and overdoses on the city’s streets.

Breed was met with boos from the crowd, and hecklers continually yelled over her dialogue with Peskin. As protesters chanted “no more cops,” Breed said the outdoor hearing would not be “the right forum” to answer Peskin’s questions, and the event was recessed after 10 minutes to the Board of Supervisors’ chambers.

As the public officials left the area, someone in the crowd threw a brick — striking a juvenile bystander, according to the San Francisco Police Department. The girl’s injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed steps up to the podium to speak in San Francisco.

Aaron Reskin, president of board of Supervisors, left, attempts to quiet the audience as San Francisco Mayor London Breed steps up to the podium to speak during a question-and-answer session with the Board of Supervisors, outside United Nations Plaza.

(Yalonda M. James/AP)

Witnesses helped police detain the suspect, whom police identified as 26-year-old San Francisco resident Elysia Katet.

Katet was booked into San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and child endangerment. Online jail records contain an alternate spelling of her first name: Elijsia.”

Before the event’s sudden cancellation, Breed delivered some remarks about the issue of open drug use and its effects on public safety.

Breed — who could face a challenging reelection battle next year, according to one recent poll — said the issue of open drug use was “nothing new” to the city, having witnessed it herself growing up.

However, she said the problem has persisted despite various interventions and programs, leading her to seek out alternative solutions, including the arrest of drug dealers and users.

“I’m putting everything on the line to change what we need to do,” she said.

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