The morning after a homeless man in San Francisco was shot and killed by police, someone else had moved into his tent. “I can’t say nothing,” the new occupant said before moving into the small blue and grey tent on the sidewalk. “It’s done.”
The death of a homeless man on a busy California street is not uncommon. Neither, in a country in which 1,134 people died at the hands of law enforcement last year, are fatal police shootings.
Yet the story of how 45-year-old Luis Gongora was killed this week, pieced together from friends and neighbors – both those who sleep in tents and others who have roofs over their heads – raises alarming questions.
San Francisco police have released few details in a public relations campaign that appears intended to justify, before the completion of any investigation, the decision by two officers to shoot seven bullets from their .40-caliber service pistols.
Many locals in the Mission district of the city knew Gongora merely as a friendly Latino man who was always kicking a soccer ball against a wall.