Undercover Takedown at Muddy Waters


Indybay caught a drug bust or something happening right up against the glass at Muddy Waters:

A group of police tackled a man near 16th and Valencia in the early afternoon today. Wouldn’t have thought much of it except the cop in the last picture came inside the cafe and threatened to arrest one of the other people taking photos out the window…. something strange was up…

Read on for tons more pictures and further speculation in the comments section.

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24 Comments on “Undercover Takedown at Muddy Waters”

  1. zinzin Says:

    nice to see the SFPD putting the smackdown on some bad guys in the hood. yay. the more smackdowns the merrier. respect to the officers putting their lives on the line.

    not surprising at all to see spoiled babies in the comment section of the other site immediately questioning & critiquing the cops and asking “why can’t i do whatever the fuck i want and take pictures of undercover cops during a potentially dangerous situation? how can i record abuse by them? how can i make this about me & feeling good about my liberal values?” ugh.

    sooner or later the violent & dangerous situations in the hood are gonna start bleeding onto the mostly white, largely oblivious, comparatively affluent folks that stroll around the mission…stepping over bums & puke & blood & condoms…and ignoring pimps & ho’s & crackheads…thinking it’s all fashionably gritty, totally self-involved and happy-go-lucky, because they’re all moving to noe valley or pac heights or orinda or berkeley or mountainview or NY, or back to des moines in a few years anyways.

    eventually, its going to happen. some marina chick or hipster dude (or heaven forbid someone’s child) is gonna get caught in the crossfire, or mouth off to a dealer, or just be in the wrong spot, and blammo. blood is red, no matter what color the person.

    we won’t be able to say “it happens over there, to those other people” or “it’s gang on gang…not dangerous to me” or whatever.

    be interesting to see what happens. matter of time.

  2. guero Says:

    As usual, zinzin, I agree with your assessment. These officers already have to deal with enough, let alone some blogger taking photos of them. they are putting some one who is sworn to protect us in harm’s way. I happen to know that officer who the dumb-ass narrator is second guessing about and I can assure you that he knows what the the hell he’s doing. He was born and raised in Mission district and he knows and cares more about what is going on in this neighborhood than any of these “social experimenters”. These people making those comments will be on to the next place when they have their kids and leave the Mission and this officer will still be here risking his life.

    And zinzin you make a good point about what could happen if a non-minority,hipster or visitor gets hurt or worse. That’s exactly what happened in Westwood in LA in the late 80s. It was the place to hang out until some gangster ran over 11 people with a car and then a UCLA student was killed in a gangster’s crossfire. It was all empty storefronts after that and then everyone went to Santa Monica. You never know when the party could come to a crashing end.

  3. native_son Says:

    I don’t know what happened when all this went down; alls I know is what Indybay blogger described. Assuming that what he/she said was true, then I have no idea what zinzin or guero are talking about.

    The person taking pictures of public servants performing a public duty on a public sidewalk was INSIDE a cafe–not in the way of the police, not interfering with the arrest.

    It is entirely within the rights of a citizen to take photographs of this incident, and it is entirely improper of a police officer sworn to uphold the laws and protect the citizens of this City to threaten an arrest of someone exercising his/her rights.

    One may argue that it is distasteful to document police activity. I personally believe that is a losing argument, especially since l.a.’s experience with Rodney King and Oakland’s New Years fiasco, but still, it is an argument that can be made. But to debate that is different from a government official threatening a citizen with arrest. Think about that–an arrest is a deprivation of Liberty, and in a country like ours, there better be a damned good reason why the government created by and for the people should deprive the Liberty of one of those people. Taking pictures from afar is not a damned good reason. It’s not even a good reason. In fact, it’s not reasonable at all.

    One might think going to law school would make one one cynical, but instead it made me extremely protective of our rights as citizens of this country and I worry whenever I see someone who questions authority being barked down in the name of personal security, national security, misguided patriotism, etc.

    For years now, citizens have been surveilled by police and other authorities: video cameras at intersections, in high-crime areas, at ATM’s, in police cars. And always, one of the retorts was “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” As if. Now, the citizens have cameras.

    I am absolutely not anti-cop. Not at all. But I am anti-cops-thinking-they-can-dictate-when-our-rights-apply.

    That is all.

  4. jesus Says:

    You mean I can’t take pictures of cops, or I can’t complain about it when they threaten me?

  5. SFDoggy Says:

    I wouldn’t take anything on Indbay too seriously. The basic view their is that all cops are a menance. The focus of their article after the 4 Oakland cops were killed was basically that the cops had it coming to them.
    So my guess is that their slant on the encounter at Muddy Waters does not reflect all the relevant facts.
    It is good to see some undercover enforcement in the Mission. It makes the place safer for everyone.

  6. zinzin Says:

    heh. you all just proved my points.

    what’s the first and most important thing for you? yourself and your right to indignation & critique. narcissistic “progressive” ideologues. you make me puke.

    what’s the second thing? the “liberty” of a sleazebag animal crack dealer. the lowest form of life on earth. they would kill you as easily as they would drink coffee. you make me puke twice as mich for that. irresponsible selfish baby living in lala land.

    do i think it’s OK for folks to take pics of cops? do you have “the right”? sure. but really…is it THAT important? y’all can say what you want about rights. i’m talking about respect.

    you have NO FUCKING IDEA what that cop is doing, what the situation is, how big the operation is, what’s at stake, what risk that cop has going, what dangers might be presented by taking pictures, and what the cop is talking about…much less how he spends his day.

    the world extends past you and your theoretical law school interpretation the world around you. and there are more important things than you feeling like you’re righteous and well spoken.

    my god, grow the fuck up and think about someone other than yourself and your self-satisfied behind, and your immature need to feel like you’re asserting your rights.

    maybe the cop knew there were 10 other drug dealers on the block, and if they saw you taking pictures, they’d be following you home.

    maybe this was part of a sting operation and self righteous, spouting, “progressive” morons like you snapping pictures and “asserting their rights” might have screwed months of operations.

    maybe it’s important for an undercover cop to be UNDERCOVER. so he can, you know, DO HIS FUCKING JOB PROTECTING YOU.

    and maybe the cop was just pissed because he’s there RISKING HIS LIFE TO PROTECT YOUR SORRY ASS and you’re taking pictures so you can criticize him for “taking liberty” from a sleazebag crack dealer who sells hard drugs to children.

    my god you are so removed from reality, i am honestly palpitating just thinking about it. you’re comparing the arrest of a fucking crack dealer on 16th street to Rodney King. that alone puts you into the category of the same crooked, hollow, “progressive” morons that have made this city a magnet for bums, drug dealers and ideologue blowhards like yourself.

    you want to assert your “rights” by taking pictures of cops arresting bad guys and the trying to find a reason why it’s wrong in your narrow, slanted, political view from 30,000 feet away in fucking law school? i guess that’s fine.

    i hope the scenario mentioned in my first post never happens to you. i really hope you never have to face a real NEED for the cops to come and protect you.

    because the complete shattering of your hollow, selfish, childish world view might do even more harm than having a gun shoved in your mouth, or having crack dealers take up residence next door, having a loved one caught in the crossfire, or any other real-life, out-of-the-rhetoric things from which cops are – for the most part – working to protect you.

  7. native_son Says:

    Zinzin, I think you’re misinterpreting what I had said. However, I do not apologize for it and I stand by it. I only suggested that your anger is slightly misplaced by directing it at the person who stood inside a cafe photographing what was occuring outside. I suggested that the actions of the police officer threatening the photographer with arrest was improper. How can one disagree with such an assertion.

    I did not mean to aggravate you by saying that I went to law school and therefore I am the end all and be all on this topic. Rather, I spoke of it because it taught me to cherish the rights and laws this country was founded on. You seem to mock the idea of Liberty as if it is an anachronism in this day and age. Maybe it is–I hope that it isn’t.

    I never compared the arrest of a crack dealer on Valencia to the beat down of Rodney King. I used King as an example of the importance of keeping a steady eye on those who govern us. Everyone knows that King was no saint. No crime was committed against him, perhaps. But that video showed that some of his civil rights were violated that night, and a few of those cops were judged to be guilty of that. What if that video never existed? Does anyone doubt that no one would have been held accountable?

    I have no issue with what that cop did to that drug dealer. Good. I have no use for drugs or drug dealers, and last I checked both were illegal, so bravo to those cops. Again, the actions of that cop to that photographer are where the questions lie. And I see nothing wrong, and everything right, with questioning why those who serve and protect would then turn and threaten an innocent citizen with arrest.

    I think that you think that I’m some young, skinny-jean wearing hipster kid from Peoria walking around the Mission just because it’s cool to do so. I’m not one of those. I’m sure they annoy me as much as they annoy you. I’m San Francisco, born and raised, the child of two immigrant, working class parents and I, perhaps stupidly, went six figures deep into debt to pay for school. I’m blue collar, not blue blood. Yes, there are some of us out there.

    Like anyone who grew up here and have childhood friends here, I, too, have friends who are on the force. It’s almost inevitable, isn’t it? You know some guys in the military, some guys in the fire department, some guys in the police department, some guys in those fancy buildings downtown, in the manhole underground. So no, I’m not against the police. It’s silly to think so. Zinzin, I thank you for hoping that I never get caught in the cross-fire of gangbangers shooting it out. I also hope that you are never mistreated by a member of law-enforcement or any other arm of government. Unfortunately, occasionally, it undeniably happens. But if it does, I hope someone is there, documenting it.

    Hm, I think I want a Whiz Burger.

  8. jimbeam Says:

    Plainsclothes is different than undercover. A truly undercover cop who expected to continue to operate undercover would never bust someone on the sidewalk.

    There’s no harm documenting police work. I’d guess if the IndyBay people were celebrating the picture as a fine work of policing you probably wouldn’t be offended by the existence of the picture.

    Fact is, photographing police action in public is legal. The news does it whenever they can.

  9. zinzin Says:

    you guys both make fair points. i did misread some of native’s comments. sorry about that. and i really have no preconceived notions about you personally…only about your writing here, which to me seems smug and self-righteous and based in “progressive” ideology divorced from reality.

    i can’t argue whether shooting pics of cops is legal, and i agree no one should be harassed by the gov’t in any way.

    honestly, i don’t give a fuck if folks shoot panoramic HD video of police work in real time with dollies and cam crews.

    what irks me is the way folks look at cops in sf. it’s sad and tired and disrespectful. never positive. never giving the benefit of the doubt. always inquisitorial, always critical, always fault-finding, never with any thought to what these folks do every day, the service they provide, the risks they take.

    and if a cop gets up in the grill of a citizen in a tense moment, because he’s doing something the cop thinks might be untoward…i’d say the professional in the pair deserves just as much consideration as the non-professional…maybe more. who really knows what the person did, other than snap pics through a glass window, if anything. maybe something. maybe nothing. probably something. why would the cop waste his time otherwise? with a camera around…?

    i’ve been on both sides of our little equation here. i’ve been locked down by cops who made me for someone i wasn’t and treated me real bad. because the guy the were looking for was a real bad guy. and i’ve been in situations where the cops saved my ass. really dangerous situations.

    personally, i’ll take the former, and i’ll say “thanks officer” every time. like you say…if you have nothing to hide…you have nothing to worry about.

    so again, apologies if i mis-read any of your points. you want to “police” the government, please, do so. it will benefit us all. snap away at all the cops you want.

    that said, try once in a while to give a pat on the back, and a benefit of the doubt, and maybe even a little gratitude, to the cops too. by and large they’re doing what they’re supposed to do, which is protect your ass.

  10. captain Says:

    interesting conversation, I don’t have too much to add to the finer points for or against police documentation. It seems like the cop was a bit ‘amped up’ after making the arrest and let off some steam at the photographer. It happens, people are stressed out, they react.

    Personally, I think that it’s appropriate to be a witness to things that happen on our streets, good and bad. Not just for the benefit of blogs but to actually have some accountability, take a stand against problems in our community and support those who try to help out.

    Here’s a good cop moment I had recently.

    Walking through Dolores Park a few saturdays ago a bit past 8:00, a massive crowd of teenagers came running over the 19th street dividing line from the track side towards Dolores. We found out that the police had busted their would be “Rave”. Seemed more like a “Flash Dance” to me, but then again there were glow sticks. Anyway, I digress.

    We slightly apprehensively but mostly nonchalantly started walking through the park and as we near the steps at the top of 19th, two flashes come racing across in front of us. First flash is a teenage boy hustling through the slowly dispersing crowd. Second flash is one of our neighborhood’s finest who grabs the kid underneath that giant statue, spins him around and then….

    Calmly places him upright, takes hands away, steps back and begins to have a very relaxed, polite conversation.

    It was a happy mission moment, one of several I’ve witnessed involving our police. I know there are some bad cops out there, and I know there are good cops in shitty situations that cross lines just like every crackhead isn’t a coldblooded killer waiting to mow you down for a cup of coffee. In the end let’s just hope that the decent people outnumber the crackheads and drug dealers and if you’re not going to do it yourself, show a bit of respect to those trying to make this neighborhood better.

  11. 26thStreet Says:

    Letter to Zinzin: You should think before you comment. You cause many stupid arguments with your comment thread tyranny. You repeatedly jump down the throats of anyone you can argue with. PS in any situation involving police officers there is the right for bystanders to take badge numbers. People have inalienable rights, and you are nothing but a tyrant. I have been getting sicker and sicker of your outpourings of hate for your own (?) neighborhood and your disdain for the opinions that your neighbors share here. I feel that your excessive commenting has closed it off as a forum for talk about the culture of our lovely neighborhood. You seem to be waiting at every turn to criticize those who don’t agree with your moralisticassholeism. You are well spoken but very cold and horribly self righteous and I am done reading the comment sections of this (awesome!) blog because I actually like my neighborhood, and I’m really sick of hearing you rant. And like I said earlier, you are a fucking tyrant. Thanks….NOT!

  12. 26thStreet Says:

    By the way, I agree that violent criminals shouldn’t be allowed to hurt innocent people. I’m not an asshole. I’m just saying…

  13. GadZOOK Says:

    Sorry to have to bring another burst of negativity into the MM comments section. A chance to cut is a chance to cure.


    You should really consider taking a break from posting here. You write too much. You repeat yourself too much. You froth too much. You’re devoting way, way too much time and energy to trolling this blog. You’re sounding like an old fart in an echo chamber.

    Get out more–get some cardio exercise or go yell at your neighbors face to face. I can feel your blood pressure rising in these posts. I know it feels like your high on the utter rightness the words you type (and maybe a little caffeine), but your really just having a big fat wank, and it’s unpleasant to watch. The ideas and sentiments you keep hammering aren’t revolutionary; they’re pablum–the only real controversy comes from your tone.

    Go practice getting actual people to pay attention to you, then stay there in the real world. This venue doesn’t favor you.

    Not @zinzin

    Now that that’s done, can we tone down the divisiveness a notch and focus more on fun and interesting stuff?

  14. zinzin Says:

    “moralisticassholeism” is an excellent term.

    thanks y’all for the advice.

    i know it was all said with love. for the blog, i mean.

  15. johnny0 Says:

    Both King Zinzin’s comments and his loyal opposition’s reactions makes this all pretty fun and interesting stuff to watch.

  16. 26thStreet Says:

    You’re right johnny0, and Zinzin is very good at what he/she does.
    The way I see it, other people have had some really valuable things to say that have been unfairly trashed. I wish certain people cared more about content than being the best comment arguer man. If Zinzin started his own blog I would definitely read it, but after a few months of reading this blog, I just don’t like feeling like I can’t share my thoughts. I like people. I like graffiti. I like this neighborhood and the things in it. The constant barrage of negative shit about things I like in a place I’ve fought tooth and nail to be able to live in is really a downer.

  17. jimbeam Says:

    The cops in SF, in my experience, tend to be the most laid back, understanding and fair cops I’ve encountered (Boston, Hartford, Columbus, OH and now DC). Cops in DC really, really don’t give a fuck about how they treat people. In SF, every interaction I’ve had and seen involved some level of understanding, respect and listening to those involved.

  18. treatave Says:

    yeah i question if it’s the best idea to take pics of undercover cops. that dude probably had it coming to him in a big way.

  19. guero Says:

    26th Street & Gadzook – obviously my opinions about things in the neighborhood are pretty much in line with zinzin, so my comments are probably not in your favor either. But I don’t think calling some one a “fucking tryant” because they don’t agree with you is fair. The truth is there are many different people with different opinions – some love graffiti, some don’t, etc.
    I don’t know understand why you should feel less inclined to chime in on your thoughts. I happen to love this blog because it is about my neighborhood and the things and people it. I don’t agree with a lot of things that Jimbeam says on here but that doesn’t mean I want him or anyone else to stop posting their opinions. I think that’s it kind of sad that you want to hear only one perceived side. I personally love what Allan has done here because he throws out everything – the light, the funky, the fluff,the crazy, and the serious. I like it here because there is diversity – of food, of people, and opinions. I hope you don’t stop commenting and I hope zinzin doesn’t either. Plus zinzin drank booze with the redman in his SRO, which automatically make him fucking cool.

  20. native_son Says:


    No harm, no foul.

    You are right about how some people treat cops in this City. San Francisco has a strange political and social philosophy; one that is entrepeneural and socialist and libertarian and progressive and tolerant and intolerant. For some, mainly transplants, it’s “Cool! SF is so wacky!” For us that are from here, it’s just the way it’s always been and it’s kind of strange seeing the City reflected off our newcomers.

    I think all of this means that some of our residents will have a natural skeptism or even outright hostility toward any figure of authority. Thing is, it’s not directed at cops in particular. Art Agnos got it. Jordan got it. Willie got it. Newsome gets it. Daly gets it. Meter maids get it daily. Hell, even within the force, Fong gets it. Everyone catches hell. Lord knows I do.

    But really, other than drunk assholes in North Beach on Fridays, I don’t see outright, in your face, hostility toward cops from your everyday, sober SF resident. There are huge swaths within our demographic that are extremely proud of our cops. The old guard–the Irish, the Italians–love our cops. The new guard–the Chinese, the Latinos–love that thier sons and daughters wear the badge. Seriously, it’s like, holy fuck! Check that out! Our family is pretty much totally fucking American now! And that is awesome.

    When I see a cop tailing me when I drive, naturally, I think, “Fuck.” When I see a cop walking the beat, I give a quick head nod or a quick touch of my hat. When a cop sings the national anthem at the ballgame, 45,000 people stand. If one sits, I think, “That’s cool. I’ll stand, you’ll sit. All good.”

    I’ve never posted before, but I’ve been reading on the sidelines for a while, and I think, Zin, you’re a smart person. We probably disagree on a lot, but I’d like to think that we could sit at a bar over a pint and talk. But I think that there’s something to be said about what some posters mentioned above. You’re a smart guy. You have smart things to say. But the way you say it, it’s pretty much Bill O’Reilly, right? I can almost see your finger poking into the chest of whoever, telling them to sit down and shut up. That’s a shame. There are so many blogs out there that are so snarky or cynical or just not a fun place to be. This blog doesn’t seem to be that kind of a place. Let this blog be that proverbial bar stool. Take a shot, sip the pint, and let’s wax poetic about nothing and about everything.

  21. 26thStreet Says:

    Guero, maybe I am wrong but I don’t think I see you doing the (as Nativeson said) Bill O’Reilly thing- Your voice is very clear and strong but I don’t think you are trying to overpower the conversation with it.
    Native_Son, great comment.
    Now that I have gotten all that off my chest, I just want to say this: I lived through my teens in a suburb where the cops still beat up people for being black, take drugs from people and sell them, and rape women when they pull them over (yep, it has happened in recent years). I was taught that if I was driving by myself at night and I got pulled over, I should drive slowly, indicate that I did not intend to flee, and not pull over until I found a more populace area. It was VERY scary. Needless to say, I had a hard time adjusting to how laid back the police are here and I think that a lot of people are sensitive to the potential for mistreatment because they were raised around similar situations as I was. As I witnessed a friend of mine (a small boned girl about 5’5″) get beat up by 4 cops a few weeks ago (she was not resisting) I felt horrible for not having a camera. Luckily someone else did.
    Citizens’ vigilance is vital in preventing brutality.

  22. piratesnack Says:

    I have to say that I’ve enjoyed this debate, in part because everybody is in agreement. Every one here agrees that there is nothing wrong with taking pictures of the police. Everybody agrees that “undercover” cops don’t make arrests. So there’s no risk of blowing anybody’s cover. And everybody agrees that the cop probably shouldn’t yell at people taking his picture but it’s not that big of a deal in the end. So, in the words of Mr. King, can’t we all just get along?

    As for Zinzin, I enjoy his commenting. Most of the time (present entry excepted) his a welcome voice of reason. The common thread I have noted in his comments on the more controversial subjects is a very reasonable belief in the value of property rights (anti-tagger, pro-American Apparel). I have wondered whether it is that political position in part what rubs people the wrong way? I think we can all agree that the defense of property rights is not as popular in the Mission as it would be in many other places.

  23. zinzin Says:

    thanks all for the love fest & conciliatory gestures (and kind words). testament to the good work of this blog (and allan).

    everyone here feels strongly invested in the hood, and that’s a great thing…it’s rare, and something of which we can be proud. and there’s something for everyone…the mission’s diversity is unparalleled on many many levels.

    @pirate, far as my threads, that is one for sure. the other is pro-safety (or anti-pimp/ho and anti-harddrugpeddler).

    it’s funny…for all the typing i do on this blog (and i type very very fast), i really only say 2 or 3 things.

  24. native_son Says:


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