SFPD takes four years to prepare defense for 2010 suicide baiting
Only assholes defend suicide baiting. I ought to know. I have read every sorry-assed, disturbing psychopathic defense made for suicide baiting ever posted on the Internet while I have waited for the one to come from the San Francisco Police Department and its city lawyers.
During this time I have concluded that the San Francisco city lawyers must work mighty hard to advise their employer that lawsuits (and city lawyer salaries, of course) are standard fees the city has to ante up regularly for police misconduct. I often wonder how city lawyers in San Francisco sleep at night, even though I have met just two of the six thus far assigned to prepare this defense.
Likewise, I wonder how the business end of that codependent relationship – the SFPD – sleeps, and though I have diligently tried, I have yet to meet any one of them. Still, I know the police must work equally hard to convince everyone they cannot afford modern police training, much less an occasional review of their general policing orders (most written 20 years ago) on their annual 518 million dollar budget, 85% of which is divvied up for salaries. That is just the budget God might use to stop suicide baiting if He could afford it.
More alarming than discovering SFPD salaries, though, is reading their general orders (Google SFPD police orders). Although rights of onlookers (5.07) and SFPD obligations to the mentally ill (6.14) are included there, not a single reference to suicide baiting – or even to suicide – exists! The word suicide curiously never appears a single time in any SFPD police order, not even in “Critical Incidents,” Section 8. Apparently, suicide is not critical in San Francisco; it is a regular non-incident there for the SFPD.
Never mind that other departments maintain directives for “potential suicide by jumping.” Never mind that other departments operate more effectively with fewer resources and less money. Never mind how the knowledgeable and good police in Beverly, Massachusetts, quickly arrested two hecklers yelling, “Jump, you (expletive, expletive)” and “You won’t do it!” at a suicide baiting in 2011 “to keep the guy from getting killed” (Suicide Baiting Prevention, Notes: Suicide Baitings by Decade: 2010 – 2019).
My experience tells me the SFPD is incapable of telling the truth unless it is hauled off to court, satisfied to be a department infamous for its blame the victim bias, smug in its sorry dynamic – the mentally ill deserve to die!
I ought to know. I have occupied a reserved house seat to this horror since February 16, 2010, when the only laws the SFPD enforced that day were these: the Law of the Jungle and the Law of Gravity, as at least 24 of them publicly stigmatized my mentally ill son, turned Hallidie Plaza into an instant arena for a state-sanctioned suicide baiting, and joined hecklers provoking Dylan Yount into killing himself until he did.
Silence would be the weapon the SFPD would use against me, his mother. It would be seventeen weeks before I finally received their first pitiful account of my son’s suicide baiting. Upon reflection, Officer Cezar Perez had written, “The above officers and I took complete control of the above scene and did not let any pedestrians walk into the danger jump zone.”
And no pedestrians did. None were injured, physically. The pedestrians had observed the police pacing off that jump zone and outlining it in yellow plastic police tape, and even if the officious Officer Perez had used a portable PA system to drown out all the noisy insults and mockery coming from some of them (which he did not), the official police message to the crowd would still have been unmistakable.
This is your zone, pedestrians. THAT is the jumper’s zone. We have separated these zones with our official police tape. We will protect you from being hit by the jumper’s body. We have positioned the tape so that the jumper’s falling body cannot possibly reach you. Outside the boundary of the jumper’s zone, there will be safety for all of us! Whew!
And there was. The pedestrians were safe from blame – and more significantly, from arrest – just as the police had promised. Some of them might never escape the guilt of their culpability, of course. And even more of them might never escape the lasting horror of what they had witnessed.
I ought to know. I am still regularly seized by sudden panic, barely able to breathe when I see and hear again what Dylan saw and heard, also unmistakeable.
This is your jump zone. We have separated you from the safety zone reserved for the onlookers and for us. We have outlined your zone with our official yellow tape. It will be physically impossible for you to jump outside your jump zone because we have positioned your zone directly beneath you, well out of your possible jumping capabilities for jumping into the onlookers’ safety zone. By landing here – inside your zone – you cannot hurt anyone besides yourself. Do you see how we have arranged for that, YOU FOOL? We are waiting. We. Are. Waiting. You cannot hurt anyone besides yourself. We are waiting. We will stand here until it is over.
And they did.
The fall of 2010 would later pass. And that of 2011 and 2012 before I would finally have a copy of our first deposition, the 63-page testimony of Officer Cezar A. Perez, who reported he had heard “fat white boy,” and “Look at that white cracker up there.” On some level I already knew, of course, that an individual standing inside the density of a crowd that large would have been unable to hear every pejorative, but I had not heard those. He had also said he had heard, “I want to put this on YouTube,” and so had I on the filmmaker’s tapes.
From Officer Perez, I would learn that he had been the first responder for at least ten other suicide attempts during his career, though I would not learn how it had turned out for those victims. When asked if he carried a bullhorn inside his squad car for just such an occasion as his encounter with Dylan, though, Officer Perez had stated confidently that he did not, adding emphatically, “If I did, I’d burst come eardrums! My voice is pretty loud.” Indeed, I had heard it.
The lasting power of the document is astonishing. It can creep up and sucker punch me in the dead of night, violently bludgeoning me back into the frenzied and hellish chaos of the last hour of Dylan’s life. Recalling it can raise the hair on the back of my neck in broad daylight. If I ever write a screenplay based on it, I will surely not need to edit much. It is the amplification of everything encapsulated within the dialogue bubble of TOPTOM2010′s comic: “That’s why they call ME the negotiator!”
Yet I do still marvel often about Officer Perez’s contradictions, separated many times by pages and at others, mere lines. For example, at first he is sure he had never heard anyone yell “jump,” only to recall later how perhaps he had heard just one “jump,” and later still maybe more than just one time, and so on and so forth to his final recollection that he had heard “jump” many times from multiple people.
I want to scream most, though, whenever I recall Officer Perez’s contradiction that he did not arrest anyone because he did not want to “distract” himself from his “mission” of saving Dylan – completely negating that claim almost within his next breath when he admits he knew nothing about encouraging, advising, and aiding someone to commit suicide being a felony! Huh? Oops!
I have read it all. That deposition and the others, along with the most vulgar and depraved filth ever extolling the idea that those who ride the “short bus” (urban dictionary, people) should be euthanized. While I readily admit no courtroom experience beyond teaching Twelve Angry Men or watching Judge Judy, I have begun to imagine what it might be like. . .
“. . .Well, we did hear people insult Mr. Yount (respect, at last) by calling him a ‘coward’ and a ‘fat white boy’ and such, and at least one of us did join in the name calling by yelling, ‘YOU FOOL!’ and oh sure, we did only just – individually – agitate the bystanders standing right around us with our clever remarks such as, ‘Come on, you’re wasting our time!’ and other conversation starters such as, ‘He’s not going to jump! He’s high,’ but – by golly – we did not make any arrests because. . .”
The SFPD has wielded their weapon of silence far too long. I ought to know. I do not imagine I will be the only one to save this calendar date: July 28, 2014, at 9:30 A.M. in Room 610 in the San Francisco Civic Center Courthouse.
There are many who are anxious to hear this defense.