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San Francisco Police Have Shot And Killed A Homeless Mexican Man

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On Thursday, San Francisco police shot and killed Luis Gongora, a 45-year-old homeless Mexican man. The authorities claim that Gongora was armed with a knife and charged at them, but multiple eyewitness accounts contradict the official police narrative.

What are the police saying?

Credit: San Francisco Chronicle

The SFPD says the altercation began after they received a phone call from the city’s homeless outreach team alerting them of a man with a big knife walking along a homeless encampment on Shotwell Street, located in the Mission District, a historically Latino neighborhood that has been transformed by gentrification.

According to four witness statements released by the police, Gongora was sitting down, but got up abruptly and charged at the police with the weapon in hand. SFPD first fired beanbag rounds to subdue him, but were ineffective in stopping Gongora. As a result — and because they claimed that they feared for their lives — SFPD opened fire.

The San Francisco Chronicle obtained surveillance video of the incident, but the actual shooting took place outside of the camera frame, so it’s difficult to say what actually happened.

“They need to realize that some people don’t speak English.”

Credit: Mission Local/Vimeo

Not everyone is buying what the police are saying. John Visor, who lived in the homeless encampment with Gongora and claims to have been his friend, said that Gongora wasn’t a threat.

“He didn’t charge at the officers,” Visor told The Guardian. “He was going in circles because he didn’t understand what they said. He had a knife on him, but he didn’t have it out. He had it in his hip, and when he hit the ground, that’s when it fell out.”

Stephanie Grant, another witness who also lived in the camp, suggested that Gongora’s inability to speak English contributed to his death.

“They need to realize that some people don’t speak English,” Grant told the Guardian. “They didn’t wait for anything. It all happened so fast.”

The Latino Mario Woods?

Credit: @JusticeOrElse/Twitter

Luis Gongora’s death is drawing comparisons to Mario Woods, the 26-year-old black man who was shot and killed by SFPD last December. Police defended the Woods death, citing that because he had just stabbed someone he prone to do harm to somebody else. But video evidence of Mario Woods’s final moments — filmed by a middle schooler — has the feel of an execution by firing squad. (You can watch the very graphic video here.) As a result, beleaguered San Francisco mayor Ed Lee asked the Justice Department to look into the shooting.

There’s also Alex Nieto, the 28-year-old Mexican-American who was killed while casually eating a burrito in Bernal Hill Park, located in yet another neighborhood that’s transitioning from working-class Latinos to tech bro enclave.

As was the case after the deaths of Woods and Nieto, activists took to the streets to protest the police shooting. On Sunday, a group of 40 or so protestors shut down traffic near where Gongora was shot. Meanwhile, Mayor Lee announced over the weekend that the city was going to take down homeless encampments like the one found on Shotwell Street because of safety concerns.

READ: Latinos Pushed Out of One of San Francisco’s Coolest Neighborhoods

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It's Been 18 Years And Bernie Sanders Still Hasn't Explained Why He Favored Dumping Nuclear Waste In A Latino Neighborhood

politics

It’s Been 18 Years And Bernie Sanders Still Hasn’t Explained Why He Favored Dumping Nuclear Waste In A Latino Neighborhood

@turismo_vivo333 / Instagram

Part of Bernie Sanders’s campaign has focused on speaking compassionately about immigrant communities and how they tend to be disproportionately hit by environmental and socio-economic troubles. That’s great and all, but the fact is that the Vermont Senator has not always toed this line. There is at least one dark moment in his political career that contradicts his current messaging. We’re talking about Sierra Blanca, Texas.

Sierra Blanca is home to a small, poor, Latino immigrant community in west Texas, population 553.

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Credit: @renemarcias934 / Instagram

In 1998, national and state politicians from three states (Texas, Maine and Vermont) co-sponsored and championed a bill that would permit the transport low-level nuclear waste from the three states and dump it in Sierra Blanca, Texas.

The legislation is in direct contrast to Sanders’ views, which are outlined on his website.

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Credit: berniesanders.com

The Senator’s site even points out the specific link between neighborhoods where immigrants live and the presence of high levels of toxic pollution.

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Credit: berniesanders.com

A white, male politician fighting for la raza?!

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Credit: American Idol / Fox / American Idol / Giphy

It’s something that we have all been waiting too damn long to see.

Maybe he forgot about his very different point of view in 1998.

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Credit: Jane The Virgin / CW / janethevirgin-gifs / Tumblr

Sanders, who was running for re-election to the Vermont House of Representatives, was in favor of transporting the toxic waste from his state all the way down to Texas.

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Credit: c-span.org

And he strongly supported the legislation.

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Credit: c-span.org

There it is. In his own words. He even went so far as to refuse adding a provision that would have given residents of Sierra Blanca the political power to fight back.

Like:

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Credit: Broad City / Comedy Central / Broad City / Giphy

But that was then, and this is now. What’s his current take on the bill?

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Credit: MSNBC / Benjamin Armbruster / YouTube

And:

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Credit: MSNBC / Benjamin Armbruster / YouTube

Those comments are very much in line what he said back in 1998.

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Credit: c-span.org

The bill never passed, but it’s undeniable that Sanders strongly positioned himself in favor of legislation that goes against his current messaging.

READ: This Bernie Sanders Ad About Migrant Workers Will Give You The Feels

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