[Noisebridge-discuss] Broken Elevator Incident and Ideas for Improvement

Zach R organicunity at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 25 06:08:22 UTC 2017

Thanks for reporting some more details on what happened.

It is helpful even if there are some differences in the reports I heard directly from others who were there.

*From what I understand it was the police that clearly broke the elevator by activating a safety release mechanism of sorts.  This seems more plausible to me and it sounds like the person inside could have easily failed to close the inside gate all the way, which is often the case for its malfunction.

*Someone present (who will remain nameless but is welcome to chime in) told me that the police definitely had weapons drawn (an assault rifle or shotgun - not "just a pistol")

The pictures of a swarm of police also tell this story pretty clearly and that things got out of hand.  I am suspicious of how the call was made and what was said to them to incur such a rash showing of large numbers of law enforcement for a single unarmed person stuck in an elevator.

These incidents keep happening and the reply is always a calm "well, we did the best we could!  The person was being unexcellent!"  I think there is more we can do as a community and there are resources and knowledge we can share with each other.

That is very unexcellent behavior to take someone's glasses of course.  But incidents like this keep happening where minor things (usually involving someone with a mental handicap) are /greatly/ escalated to police involvement.  NB has a long pattern of this and I think its high time we got together and hacked up some ideas for better communication.  I mean, is anyone interested in a de-escalation hackathon workshop at all?  It would be nothing but a positive benefit to the space and I see no reason it could hurt anyone.


From: noisebridge-discuss-bounces at lists.noisebridge.net <noisebridge-discuss-bounces at lists.noisebridge.net> on behalf of Jeremy Rollinson <jeremy at rollinson.me>
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017 8:21 PM
To: Kevin Schiesser; noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
Subject: Re: [Noisebridge-discuss] Broken Elevator Incident and Ideas for Improvement

As one of the people present in the space when this incident occurred I'd like to provide some context.

The individual who became stuck in the elevator was asked to leave the space after displaying some much less than excellent behaviour.

They had picked up someone's eye glasses, walked away and, when questioned politely, responded with abusive and aggressive language. At that point they were asked to leave.

They went back to the elevator and slammed the elevator doors which caused the malfunction. They had originally entered via the elevator so up until that point it had been working.

Multiple attempts were made to resolve the malfunction and open the elevator door.

During this time the individual trapped in the elevator became increasingly agitated and identified 'she' as their preferred pronoun. From that point forward everyone attempting to assist in freeing the door respected that wish and all others trying to help were very clear at all times that we should be careful to be excellent in our attempts to resolve the problem.

After 10 minutes or so of repeated attempts to free the door in the face of continued abusive language and aggressive behaviour calling emergency services was discussed.

All of these discussions focused in the well-being and safety of the individual and others in the space and only that. Nobody wanted SFPD to attend or wished the individual any of the potentially negative impact of that.

Only when the individual tried to exit the elevator via the hatch, successfully, was a call placed to 911. This was done purely due to safety concerns.

911 was initially busy but after a number of calls someone got through. They were very clear about not wanting SFPD only the fire service in order to free the individual.

911 explained that the fire service could only be called after SFPD had been called.

That is the only reason SFPD were involved and the only reason they were in the space.

Everyone in the space while this unfortunate incident occurred did everything they could to ensure that the individual was treated excellently while being mindful of their and all other persons safety.

I personally did not see any assault weapons being shown or used by the attending police but was not monitoring their activity in and around the elevator entry.

Anything we can do as a community to improve how we deal with these situations would be positive. There was some confusion as to who should be called and what process should be followed so perhaps a prominently displayed or known poster/handbook would be good?

On Sat, 24 Jun 2017 at 16:56, Kevin Schiesser <bfb at riseup.net<mailto:bfb at riseup.net>> wrote:
I had no idea this is why the elevator is out of order. Thank you for
sharing Zach. Ping me if I can help realize any of your proposals below.

What is the recommended way to respond to being trapped in the elevator?
Ideally there's a button to push in case of emergency that establishes a
bidirectional communication link with the 3rd floor. In lieu of such a
button, a cell phone with service/wifi could be sufficient. Assuming
neither of those things exist.. what's the best next step? Holler until
analog communication is established?

Also, how did the person in the elevator respond in this case? I am
struggling to fill in some gaps in my mind and some clarity might help
understand how we dropped the ball on deescalation and could improve in
the future.

Thanks much,


On 6/24/17 3:52 PM, Revolt wrote:
> <<sending this from another address since my emails keep bouncing from
> my other addy>>
> I am very concerned about the incident that happened at Noisebridge
> recently regarding the police coming and breaking the elevator and
> arresting a homeless transgender person.  Completely aside from the
> fact that this broken elevator keeps me from entering the space now (I
> use a wheelchair) and will probably keep me out of the space for
> weeks, there are some thoughts I would like to share:
> As a longtime member of the community I believe NB has struggled over
> the years with de-escalation and people have been far too quick to
> include law enforcement.  The police in San Francsico are infamous for
> their unnecessary use of force and I do not want Noisebridge to be
> associated with violence of this or any kind.  I was told by someone
> present at the arrest that the police had come in with weapons,
> including an assault rifle.  This is /completely unacceptable/ and
> presents a far greater threat to safety and people visiting the space
> than just some person yelling in an elevator.
> The fact that a person got trapped in our notoriously unsafe and
> confusing elevator and was then confronted with police brandishing
> fatal weapons and what sounds like homophobic responses is really
> problematic on all fronts.  Even if the elevator hadn't been broken,
> this would not be cool.
> I propose the following:
> 1.  Let us educate ourselves as a community on de-escalation
> techniques.  Keeping incidents like this from escalating will also
> keep up in better favor with landlords and police and everyone else.
> I have worked with the homeless population over the years and have
> been close with people living on the streets and people in the LGBTQ
> an POC communities.  Let's create better dialogue by:
>       a)  Hosting a de-escalation event at Noisebridge.  I am happy to help
> with this.  I am sure there are others with knowledge to share and
> many simple techniques can prevent problematic incidents.
>       b)  Host a "get to know your neighbors" type event where we could
> learn more about those that have lost their homes in this economic
> recession and create a more humanizing image and dialog.  I bet
> organizations like the Coalition on Homelessness and others would be
> willing to speak or help out.
>       c)  Host an LGBTQ awareness event at NB  (it's Pride week after all!)
>   There are a lot of people at NB who have recently moved to SF and
> might not know the dos and don'ts of respectful communication with
> people in the LGBTQ community.  Let's learn from each other.
> Conversations have been happening on a one-on-one basis but I think NB
> would greatly benefit from a larger discussion.
> and
> 2. Let's make a /clear typed posting/ in the elevator of what to do in
> emergencies or if you feel trapped.  An emergency contact number and
> basic safety procedures would go a long way.
> I have friends who identify as female and friends that identify as
> transgender who no longer come to Noisebridge because they feel unsafe
> and discriminated against in the space.  They are very talented people
> that have a lot to contribute and there are others as well.  Let's
> step up our game our educate one another and keep the space safe and
> as drama-free as possible with less police and broken elevators.
> -Zach
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