Geoffrey Woo runs a small company called HVMN (pronounced “human”) in San Francisco. The company, which currently has 10 employees, used to have offices in the financial district but needed to expand and so moved to a larger space in the Mid-Market area. Tuesday, one of Woo’s employees stepped outside the office and witnesses a violent assault which Woo would later say looked to him like attempted murder. Tuesday night he posted a brief video of the incident on Twitter in which a man can be seen stomping on the head of another man who is already down on the sidewalk. Woo said his neighborhood felt like a “war zone” and begged for more police help and tagging the city, the SFPD and Mayor London Breed.
The next day, Woo posted a follow up video of himself speaking to the camera. “What you just witnessed was an assault and essentially an attempted murder that happened this morning right outside my office,” Woo said. He continued, “San Francisco! We live in a pretty f**ked up city, no other way to really put it. But no one really talks about it. A lot of us just gossip about national politics, Trump this, Russia that, Mueller this, GOP, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Democrats. It’s all just bulls**t entertainment. What I care about is my day-to-day safety and quality of life.” He goes on to request that a couple of SFPD officers be tasked with patrolling the street every single day, saying his personal observation is that when cops are on hand the street is safer.
Naturally, this being San Francisco, there were people who attacked Woo on Twitter for suggesting a head stomp in the middle of the day was a problem. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Woo faced criticism on Twitter for his choice of words, particularly labeling the neighborhood a “war zone.” One user, Aaron Clark, who identified himself as a Berkeley resident, described the tweet as sensational.
“The Tenderloin is bad and needs help. But fearmongering isn’t the answer,” the user wrote. Another said tech-driven gentrification was part of the problem.
Others suggested that having more police on hand would just result in “more people of color in jail.” But not everyone reacted that way. One woman wrote Woo to describe an assault that happened to her on the street last month. Woo posted her account:
Police say they are investigating the attack shown in Woo’s initial tweet. They released two images of the person believed responsible taken from a separate video camera.
Last month, Spotify moved out of the same Mid-Market neighborhood of San Francisco because employees no longer felt safe there. The move was partly prompted by an incident last year in which a Spotify employee was slapped in the face by a homeless person.