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The San Diego Police Department and Jesse Evans

What you need to know

Jesse Evans is a 34-year-old unsheltered citizen of San Diego.  Jesse Evans is a 34-year-old unsheltered citizen of San Diego. He is a well-known person in the area. He does not bother anyone and is not thought of as a threat to locals. On May 12, 2021, at approximately 9:00 AM, Mr. Evans was approached by two San Diego police officers for possible public urination in the nearby bushes.  He was barefoot and wearing a life preserver, which should have made it clear to the police that he may have some mental health issues. When Mr. Evans refused to surrender to police, he was wrestled to the ground and repeatedly punched in the face and hip, while the officers yelled aggressively at him to comply.  Eventually, 21 police officers came to the location.

Thanks to a local woman, much of the incident was captured:

When it was brought to our attention, the NAACP San Diego Branch immediately responded by visiting Mr. Evans in jail. President Maxwell sent a letter to SDPD Chief demanding answers:


David Nisleit

Chief of Police

San Diego Police Department

1401 Broadway

San Diego, CA 92101


Re: Violence against an unsheltered man today


Dear Chief Nisleit:


We have been made aware of a disturbing incident this morning involving the brutal handling of a member of our community. We are deeply saddened and angered to see the San Diego Police Department act with such violence against someone who presented no apparent risk to anyone.


To yell “stop resisting” and to continually punch and slap this man was clearly not conducive to calming the situation.  The SDPD has a de-escalation policy that requires you to use time and space to defuse a situation, rather than immediately move to force.  It seems to us that there was ample space to de-escalate.  Why didn’t they? We want to know if this is how the SDPD envisions de-escalation. Did it really require eight police officers to subdue this barefoot homeless man?


We were told that this man is well known to the neighborhood.  If these officers were familiar with the community they were serving, they might have known he presented little risk.


We will not accept unnecessary violence against our citizens.   We call for an immediate investigation into this matter.  The SDPD truck# is 3809 and is labeled with “Protect and Serve.”  Who were these officers “serving?”  This man posed no obvious threat, had no apparent weapons and no one else was near.  We want to know that this incident of violence will be properly investigated, and be assured that these officers will not be exonerated for this assault on an unarmed black man.


Thank you,

Francine Maxwell, President

NAACP San Diego Branch


Mr. Evans’ case has garnered local, state, and national attention leading to the release of the police bodycam footage:


What you can do:

  • Call on the San Diego Police Department to ensure accountability for the Officers involved.
  • Call or write to City Attorney Mara Elliott to demand that no charges be brought against Mr. Evans:
    (619) 236-6220


“I hope I’m the last victim of such nonsense. I hope that we can hire reasonable individuals to look out for us and protect and serve our greater good in a better way, represent us in a better way as a community, as a nation.” – Jesse Evans