October 09, 2018
Every day, the headlines are filled with atrocities against African Americans in every city around the country. And now in the digital age, these obscene videos are at our fingertips and instilling fear in modern viewers. However, there are many places where the cameras are not shining, and sinister decisions are being made daily that affect African-Americans, unnoticed and unpunished.
Recent news detailed an incident where a neighbor called the cops on a female African-American politician ) who was campaigning. While this sounds like the antebellum South, this was in modern-day Oregon, a newly liberal state that’s geographically and politically similar to California, partially due to its influx of Californians who bring with them their liberal ideologies.
This story, at least, did not end in tragedy. The officer who arrived was pleasant and no harm arose from the incident. But what if the female had reacted with fear to the police? We’ve seen this before, where the officer feels inclined to fire and everything spirals out of control based on prejudiced assumptions.
But is this discrimination only happening by police officers?
Based on the case of Ms. Anne Kihagi, . Throughout this tumultuous case, the City – meaning the Judge and the City Attorney’s Office – showed their bias and reaped millions in rewards for exercising their privilege in what should be a hallowed court of law.
With truth on her side, Ms. Kihagi will gladly offer the full transcript of the trial, but for those that don’t wish to sift through, there are plenty of telling single incidents. For instance, a male couple – James Austin and his husband Ray Schreiber – from one of her buildings said that, on a quiet Sunday afternoon around 3:00pm, they were at home relaxing with the door open. One of them, Ray Schreiber, testified that, upon seeing the landlord at his back stairs, he “screamed! And ran inside.” He then testified that he and his husband locked themselves inside out of fear. When asked by the defense attorney what caused his screaming and his fear, Schreiber said that Ms. Kihagi stared at him. Even to an introvert, eye contact isn’t enough to illicit dramatic, fearful outbursts.
Despite the fact that the men weigh a combined 500 pounds and Schreiber stands at 6’5” feet tall – as compared to Ms. Kihagi’s slight size 4 frame – this was a ridiculous claim. In fact, the underlying truth had nothing to do with fear of physical harm. These two large men were barbecuing on a small staircase that’s less than three feet wide, which they knew was a fire hazard – and then they saw the owner come into the building.
Yet, Judge Bradstreet heard only the men’s narrow narrative and awarded the City $5,000 in penalties on the basis of “interference of the couples’ comfort.” How did Ms. Kihagi interfere with the comfort of two privileged white men who are four times her size? Legally, the interference must be substantial enough to cause the tenants to want to move out. Was this the case with these men? Why is an owner checking in on her building in broad daylight considered scary or illegal? As Ms. Kihagi’s attorney asked, was Schreiber reacting to seeing a black landlord? It was his first meeting of Ms. Kihagi and clearly implausible that it was a stare that sent a 6’5”, 250-pound man running into his house. This unbelievable ruling occurred in San Francisco, a sanctuary city that is supposed to be fair and welcoming to all. Yet Judge Bradstreet displayed extreme prejudice in only considering the dramatic testimony of the white tenants and awarding them for their privilege.
In contrast, when a group of tenants made overt threats against Ms. Kihagi, Judge Bradstreet ruled that they never intended any harm, despite evidence including text messages of a tenant threatening to punch Ms. Kihagi in the face. There were over 40 pages of messages between tenants – with over 20 emails of strategizing that included the City Attorney’s Office – but Judge Bradstreet still ruled against Ms. Kihagi.
This is why Ms. Kihagi has called San Francisco one of the most racist cities in America, a label that is unfortunately supported by the city’s history. And while San Francisco cannot change its past interference with African Americans’ businesses, it can and should strive for true equality and sanctuary in its future.
For more information on Anne Kihagi and West 18 Properties, visit
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