The San Fransisco police killed another Black person Thursday morning, except this time there were actually consequences.
The city’s police chief, Greg Suhr, resigned hours after the fatal shooting of a Black woman and after San Fransisco Mayor Ed Lee asked him to step down.
“It’s unfortunate it required another innocent life to be taken … but this shows the power of the people and the community,” tweeted Frisco Five hunger striker Edwin Lindo.
The “Frisco Five” is a group of local activists who went on a 17 day hunger strike outside of the city’s Mission District police department to protest police brutality and racism and to demand Suhr’s removal from his position. They ended their hunger strike May 8 due to health reasons after being hospitalized, but not before gaining support across the city and gaining international attention. In addition to Lindo, who is also a candidate for San Francisco District 9 Supervisor, the other four included San Francisco rapper Equipto; Equipto’s mother, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, the executive director of Compañeros del Barrio preschool; rapper Sellassie; and educator and poet Ike Pinkston.
The police department and Suhr have faced mounting criticism and protests for months in the wake of the fatal shootings of Mario Woods in December and Luis Gongora in April, as well as recent racist text message scandals involving officers.
“I have previously expressed confidence in Chief Suhr because I know he agrees with and understands the need for reform,” Lee told reporters at a press conference in City Hall Thursday. “But following this morning’s officer-involved shooting and my meeting with Chief Suhr this afternoon, today I have arrived at a different conclusion to the question of how best to move forward.”
He appointed Toney Chaplin, a former deputy chief of the department who is African-American, as the acting police chief.
Hours earlier, Suhr told reporters that around 9:45 a.m. two officers approached a 27-year-old woman as she sat in a car that had been reported as stolen. Neither the woman nor the officers have been identified. Suhr did not give the race of the officers and said he did not know whether the woman was armed.
The woman tried to drive off, crashing into another vehicle fewer than 100 feet away. She was shot by one of the officers, a sergeant, after refusing to comply with their orders, Suhr said. She later died at an area hospital.
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