Civil rights attorney John Burris to sue SFPD over alleged Valencia Gardens profiling

Civil rights attorney John Burris notably fought legal battles against OPD's "riders" and BART police on behalf of Oscar Grant.
AP photo by Jeff Chiu

Prominent civil rights lawyer John Burris will sue the SFPD on behalf of the family of D’Paris “DJ” Williams, after a neighborhood brawl involving police at the Valencia Gardens housing project that Burris called “outrageous.” 

Last Friday, 20 year old D’Paris Williams was bicycling to his cousins’ house from the Batkid festivities downtown when plainclothes police officers from the Violence Reduction Team, a narcotics and firearms reduction squad, attempted to detain him for riding his bike on the sidewalk. In the confusion, a brawl broke out with the police, Williams, and three neighbors. Video was recorded of the incident, which quickly went viral. 

After seeing a bloody and beaten Williams carried to a squad car by police in the video clip, his family and the residents of Valencia Gardens have posed the question: why? 

Why did plainclothes officers tasked with the mission of seizing guns stop a young man coasting on his bike on a sidewalk for a few feet? The family said they believe Williams was targeted because he was a young man of color visiting a housing project.

“When young people are brutally assaulted by the police, there must be accountability,” Burris told the Guardian.

Williams’ step-father, Frank Williams, an ex-offender who now works with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, was shaken when he first heard what happened to his son, DJ. “I know there are some good cops, some are my friends,” he said.  “But there are some bad cops. What ran through my mind was how he got profiled like that, just because. I don’t like how it happened, and how they justified it.”

The SFPD was unavailable for comment at press time. All they found on DJ Williams was juice and a cupcake. 

A protest defending D'Paris Williams and the three other men hurt and detained in the brawl marched in the Mission Tuesday, and another protest is planned for tonight at 5pm at 15th and Guerrero. 

Click here for our previous coverage of the Valencia Gardens incident


Black-on-white violent crime happens at over 40 times the rate of white-on-black crime.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

the offending police forces. What's your point besides inflammatory race baiting?

Why don't you do something useful and post statistics on the relationship of race to unjustified beatings and killings by police?

Or not and wait for your hood to come back from the dry cleaners.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

typically are judgment-proof.

Pointing out the correlation between factors like race and criminal behavior is valuable. It is the basis of police profiling, which is now a well-established investigatory discipline.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

Burris's claim to fame he can out run an ambulance and hear a siren from 10 miles away.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:27 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

Civil cases only require a 3/4 jury vote on the preponderance of the evidence.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

And more if I do my job right and place seeds of doubt in the other jurors.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 9:09 am

Better than the shit we hear from your mouth shit for brains

Posted by Guest Keith Kemp on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 2:47 am

Why do the police profile...because it works. If minorities don't like it they should change their behavior.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

We can't fix stupid but we know a bridge you can fly from Guest

Posted by Guest Keith Kemp on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 2:48 am

Why do the police profile?...Because it works. If minorities don't like it, they should change their behavior.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

That'll change their behavior.

An eye for an eye puts the blue in his grave.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:42 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

point as they were victims of police brutality and extrajudicial assassination at the hands of the police.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

Totally untrue, of course, but nobody blames you for trying it on.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

would disagree with you. And of course, locally, Lil' Bobby Hutton. Your ignorance holds you back, but you don't care as long as you live in your complacency.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

to a sloppily written and reasoned white supremacist website to make your case. I see no mention of Fred Hampton nor any reference to who shot first in shootouts between Panthers and police. A quick answer: the police.

My sympathy for the Boers has grown, however. Imagine that black people in South Africa didn't like them. Makes me cry.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

Extremists from either side can make absurd claims, as both you did the the white supremacists do in the link.

The difference is that I see the symmetry there, while you are too deluded to.

Some of the Black Panthers died at the hands of the police, it's true, but then what they were engaging in was little short than "suicide by cop" anyway.

MLK achieved far more through civil and peaceful means.

BTW, South Africa has an even higher murder rate than the US.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

The case of the Panthers deserves scrutiny here. The Panthers originally exercised their 2d amendment rights to bear arms while observing the OPD in action just to make sure that they don't get any crazy ideas. This is the same issue that cameras would solve today.

But instead of change their conduct or tolerate armed civilian oversight, conservative potentate Ronald Reagan attacked the 2d amendment and initiated the first gun control in California, can't bear rifles in public. The right to bear arms was put into place precisely to give citizens ultimate veto power over the rise of tyranny. It was not so much included to allow for self defense or hunting, rather to provide an escape hatch after fighting a revolutionary war.

But racist expedience ruled the day, and conservatives gutted the 2d amendment once the negroes started taking up arms to defend their communities against corrupt violent murderous unaccountable cops.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

progressive mayor or BofS in SF?

Interesting . .

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 9:11 am

I'd support the armed citizenry following SFPD or DPW workers around to make sure there was no funny business going on yes.

The thing about armed insurrection is that it only works with massive public support and the consequences for trying it without that are always bad.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

Marcos, of course, will support the armed insurrection from the safety of his expensive condo.

He'll move to Portland if the insurrection in San Francisco gets too bad.

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Posted by on Jul. 16, 2014 @ 2:42 pm

Profiling is going to set a young man or two up for an escape from poverty.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

It's your property taxes that will be paying for it?

I wonder whether some black kids actually provoke the cops, thinking that if in the "fog of war" the cop makes one wrong step and it's a big payday.


Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

I'm more pissed that we're paying these cops so much and giving them 90% retirement and they still can't get it right, they're going after gnats with flyswatters.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

Or at least that's what I get told every time I state that CCSF, DPW, Muni and BART workers are overpaid.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

That's why the Israeli's use it extensively, and they have the best security service.

There is no point in putting an undercover police drugs and weapons squad outside an old peoples' care home in Marin. You put them at a place like Valencia Gardens.

A cop hater like Greg will deny that, of course, but then that's proof that it's valid and true usually.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

What a shame that you must find another erotic fantasy when Greg's not posting comments.

Freckles is still looking for his sympathy fuck after his videotaped exploits last week in Valencia Gardens. Care to oblige?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

predict that he will not, such is his venom for those who protect us.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

in Marin and Valencia Gardens are nearly identical.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:01 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

in Drug and Alcohol Studies. If you include alcohol use, I think the percentages in Marin would be higher than in public housing, where many residents are religious teetotalers.

Maybe Matlock can chime in here. He seems expert in these matters on a personal level.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

Strip those out, and your claim is as highly improbable as it is self-serving and unsubstantiated.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

but even so, there's a lot of cocaine and ecstasy use in Marin.

Regardless, none of the the young men that the cops beat down in Valencia Gardens had drugs (illegal or otherwise) in their possession unless you count sugary junk food.

White people and black people and brown people use legal and illegal drugs in similar percentages.

The only commonly used drug that has statistically significant racial and economic differences is nicotine.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

weapons, violent crimes, stealing and the whole ball of wax. And the crime rate among young black males is through the roof. If you look at the highest crime cities in the US, they are all places with a high percentage of blacks.

It's so universally known that it's not seriously up for debate any more.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

White and blacks use illegal drugs at about the same frequency, but blacks are arrested at about 5X times the rate of whites.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

doing more serious drugs, which the cops prioritize for investigation.

Or it may be that more of them are dealing and/or engaged in other drug-related crimes at the same time.

The black community appears to acknowledge that it has a crime problem, but white liberals do not.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

Israeli profiling has put the snuff on Israel's security threat just like the US "war on terror" has put the kibosh on anti-American sentiment and made America safer and more secure.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

best. Not that that means there aren't breaches and incidents. Israel is the most threatened nation on the planet.

But El Al security, which has been using racial profiling for decades, is second to none.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

Israeli security is so good that they had to build a separation wall.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

Good fences make for good neighbors. Particularly when your neighbors are sending suicide bombers in your midst on a continual basis.

The wall ended that tactic.

Posted by The Goebblin Love Child of Smaug on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

to move into the neighborhood and steal your neighbors' land and force them to live in camps far away. But you can get away with it if your most powerful cousin helps you, enables and excuses your behavior.

At least you are consistent with your Zionist apologism, Lucretia.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

I am her replacement - the Goebblin love child of Smaug and Lucretia.

Posted by The Goebblin Love Child of Smaug on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 9:36 pm
Posted by Greg on Nov. 22, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

They merely took it back, with our help.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 9:12 am

historical evidence. Modern day Palestinians are the Jews from 2000 years ago.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 10:38 am

If you are looking for someone to blame for Israel's existence, look no further than Hitler. He made it inevitable.

Anyway, it's there now, and they will do whatever they need to survive. You cannot assess their actions by the standards of other nations, because other nations are not surrounded by hostile powers who wish to wipe them off the map.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2013 @ 11:00 am

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