A woman who threw a brick in the direction of city officials on Tuesday struggled with mental illness and was upset about how the city treats unhoused people, her mother, Gail Tittle, told The Standard.
San Francisco police arrested 26-year-old Elysia Katet on suspicion of child endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon after she tossed a brick in the direction of the stage where Mayor London Breed and members of the Board of Supervisors had held a brief public hearing to discuss the city’s drug crisis on Tuesday. The District Attorney’s Office was contacted to see if criminal charges had been filed against Katet but did not respond in time for publication.
The U.N. Plaza hearing was cut short after hecklers from the crowd interrupted the meeting. And as city officials were departing the scene, Katet allegedly flung a brick toward the stage, hitting a high school student, who was with a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps class presenting flags for the meeting. The high school student told The Standard that she was hit in the foot but did not sustain any injuries.
Tittle said she didn’t know her daughter to be violent, but that Katet struggled with bipolar disorder and cared deeply about the rights of unhoused people. Katet had recently expressed frustration to her mom over the city’s displacement of homeless people.
Katet had gone to school in Austin, Texas before moving to San Jose to live with a friend. She moved to San Francisco in February and had since lived off and on in a homeless shelter in the Mission District, according to Tittle.
Tittle, who lives in Illinois, said she had visited San Francisco in April to try and help her daughter, but to no avail.
Tittle said that her daughter had dreams of a career in filmmaking but was derailed by mental illness.
“She was the kind of person that if she saw someone on the street, even if she only had $2, she would give it to them,” Tittle said. “She's not a violent person, but she does have mental health problems. […] I hope that they get her help.”
The city is currently embroiled in a lawsuit, filed by the Coalition on Homelessness nonprofit. The suit alleges the city engages in cruel and unusual punishment of homeless people by displacing their encampments and destroying their property without providing sufficient shelter beds. The city has just over 3,000 shelter beds in its portfolio, while over 4,000 people sleep on the streets on any given night.
City Attorney David Chiu appealed the lawsuit, saying it puts the city in an “impossible situation” in which the city cannot clear encampments when people refuse shelter.
Breed called the ruling “ridiculous” in April, contending it is standing in the way of the city’s progress on the issue.
A federal judge issued a preliminary ruling siding with the nonprofit in December, effectively banning the city from forcing involuntarily homeless people to move. But the city can still enforce other laws such as accessibility and public health codes, and the coalition has alleged that the city isn’t complying with the judge’s ruling.
Less than a week prior to Katet’s arrest, under the alias Apsa Rose, she posted to Facebook that she was deleting social media to work on her mental health. Tittle verified the social media profile belonged to her daughter.
“Taking down all social media for a while no matter what,” she wrote. “Need to line up everything to get my life in order.”
David Sjostedt can be reached at email@example.com