There was a violent incident on Cortland Avenue at Bennington on Sunday — right in the heart of Cortlandia. Witnesses say it was an upsetting scene. Neighbor Rick filed this report:
I’m saddened to write this, but our neighborhood witnessed a beating on the corner of Cortland and Bennington Sunday evening at about 5.30 pm.
A group of 4-5 men were in a shouting match that quickly escalated into a fight, which in turn became a beating as 2 of the assailants were kicking one of their downed opponents.
We don’t know what the argument was about (we were halfway up Bennington walking down, and although we could see the action, we couldn’t hear details) but it was a crowded evening and a ton of Bernal neighbors were witness to the encounter. What we did hear was gangster-like posturing, racial slurs, and some seriously antisocial behavior.
One brave neighbor placed herself in between the attackers and the unconscious, bleeding man on the ground. My brother in-law and I honestly believe that if she hadn’t intervened, the attackers would have continued kicking this man and we fear he may have lost his life. (The woman left before the police came because she had her young daughter with her. The poor girl was sitting in front of Progressive Grounds, scared and confused. The woman gave me her details to pass on to the police so she could share her information, but she rightly wanted to get her little girl out of there.)
The attackers fled the scene and unless the woman who placed herself in harm’s way to stop the fight has more details about them, I’m not sure the police had much information to go on. (Most of us were more concerned with the injured man and getting help than with identifying the assailants). The injured man had 2 people with him who seemed to do little to help their comrade and who slinked away once the police arrived. We did ask them who the downed man was and if they knew the guys who beat him, and they said very little but ultimately “no” was the response.
I abhor this sort of base violence and I’m still pretty creeped out by the whole thing. We’ve noticed an escalation in aggressive behavior in Bernal over the past few Sundays (people being accosted by rowdy teenagers sort of thing, even my wife got yelled at by a couple girls in a passing car for not wearing enough Niners gear) but this is by far the worst I’ve witnessed. A few of our neighbors stepped up and that’s great, but this scene has shaken me.
Bernalwood also received this from a nearby merchant:
There was what seems to have been a gang fight at the corner of Bennington and Cortland [Sunday] evening. It was pretty bad and made me think (among other things) that the beat cops are missed these days.
If it was indeed a gang fight, that would mean this incident was non-random. Bernalwood has not yet received any further information from the SFPD’s Ingleside Station. Neighbor Sarah, your vigilant SFPD liaison, has been making enquiries, so we will update you here if more detail becomes available.
In the meantime, an important reminder: Statistically, yes, we are entering crime season. As Bernalwood has previously reported (almost exactly two years ago): the end of Daylight Savings Time means less evening light, which often sparks an uptick in street crime, as goons and hoodlums seek to exploit the early onset of darkness.
Stuff happens. Please be extra-alert this time of year.