Skip to comments.SF Police Chief Greg Suhr Resigns Amid Heightened Racial Tensions
Posted on 05/19/2016 7:20:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway
The resignation comes after police earlier in the day fatally shot a woman in the Bayview District
Police Chief Greg Suhr has resigned from the San Francisco Police Department in the midst of the shooting of a black woman by SFPD officers and other racial tensions, Mayor Ed Lee announced at a news conference late Thursday afternoon.
Lee said he had asked Suhr, who has served in the city's police department for more than 30 years, to resign.
The mayor appointed Toney Chaplin, former SFPD deputy chief of the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau, as the acting police chief.
"The past several months have shaken and divided our City, and tensions between law enforcement and communities of color that have simmered for too many years have come into full view," Lee said.
"Though the facts are still emerging, we know that, this morning, a young woman of color was killed in an officer-involved shooting in the Bayview. The community is grieving, and I join them in that grief."
The resignation comes after police earlier in the day fatally shot a woman in the Bayview District. Earlier in the day, Suhr said the woman was driving a stolen car and refused officers' commands to stop the car. Officers approached her on foot and she drove away. She was then shot by police.
The shooting comes at a politically difficult time for Suhr and Lee.
The San Francisco Police Department is under intense scrutiny following the fatal shooting of Mario Woods in December and the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora in April, as well as two recent scandals involving racist text messages exchanged among officers.
Activists for months have been calling for Suhr to be fired. A group of five protesters dubbed "the Frisco 5" went on a hunger strike outside of Mission Police Station on April 21, vowing not to eat until Suhr had tendered his resignation.
On May 3, about 400 supporters marched with the strikers, who were pushed in wheelchairs, to the steps of city hall where they interrupted a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting and demanded his resignation. At the time, the boards president London Breed said she would not comment publicly on whether she wanted Suhr to resign.
On May 8, the hunger strikers were sent to the hospital and ended the strike for health reasons, leading to a violent protest involving their supporters and sheriffs deputies at City Hall. At the time, Lee had still expressed support for Suhr.
City supervisors Jane Kim, David Campos, Eric Mar and John Avalos joined those calls for Suhr's removal last week following the release of a critical report on the department by a blue-ribbon panel commissioned by District Attorney George Gascon.
33 Arrested Following Chaotic Protest Supporting 'Frisco 5' Edwin Lindo, one of the hunger strikers, told NBC Bay Area that Suhrs resignation is a positive step for the city.
This shows the power of the people and the community, he said. When we come together with love justice, the power for justice is inevitable. This battle is a victory, but the fight for justice continues, making sure the next chief is one accountable to the community and that the necessary reforms are implemented.
The Frisco 5 released a statement following Lee's announcement, demanding that the officers involved in these shootings be fired and charged with murder.
"We demand a meeting between the community and the interim police chief to discuss real reform created by the community," they said, calling for Lee to resign.
They said that Lee "allowed rampant police misconduct, terrorized the homeless and forced out the middle and lower income residents of our community to serve the interest of big business over the people of San Francisco."
Mayor Lee's full statement on Suhr's resignation:
"The past several months have shaken and divided our City, and tensions between law enforcement and communities of color that have simmered for too many years have come into full view.
Though the facts are still emerging, we know that, this morning, a young woman of color was killed in an officer-involved shooting in the Bayview. The community is grieving, and I join them in that grief.
These officer-involved shootings, justified or not, have forced our City to open its eyes to questions of when and how police use lethal force.
For the last many months, every day, I have asked myself, is the path to reform best advanced by our current Department leadership?
Because my goal has always been, and remains, real reform and the restoration of trust.
I have previously expressed confidence in Chief Suhr because I know he agrees with and understands the need for reform. He has demonstrated his commitment to instilling these reforms into the whole department, from the command staff to the cadets.
But following this mornings 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.
For me, this has never been about personalities and politics, its been about performance.
Because, in my three decades of public service, Ive learned how important it is to measure progress along the way. Greg Suhr, a dedicated public servant whos given more than three decades of his life to the Bayview and to this City.
The progress weve made has been meaningful, but it hasnt been fast enough. Not for me, not for Greg.
Thats why I have asked Chief Suhr for his resignation. And in the best interest of the City he loves so much, he tendered his resignation earlier today. Despite the political rhetoric of the past few weeks, I have nothing but profound admiration for Greg. Hes a true public servant, and he will always have my respect.
Ive known him for years, and hes a man of great character. He takes his job seriously, hes loyal, hes smart, and he understands that a Police officer is more than a public safety enforcer. A police officer is peace of mind, a social worker. Hes a model San Franciscan and a great man.
To take Gregs place, I am naming Toney Chaplin as Acting Chief of Police.
Toney has served in the Police Department for 26 years. Hes established a record of commitment to the Citys diverse communities, serving at Mission and Taraval Stations, in the Gang Task Force, and running the Homicide division. Toney has most recently helped establish our new Professional Standards and Principled Policing bureau, the arm of the department that focuses on accountability and transparency.
The men and women of the San Francisco Police Department put themselves in harms way daily, literally. We owe it to them to restore the communitys trust in their department. As we embark on a new chapter for the Police, we aim to restore this trust.
Some of the reforms underway might have prevented or clarified todays incident.
We need to turn these plans into actions.
I will hold the Acting Chief and the Department to a high standard of urgency to implement the reforms weve already announced in the past several months.
And we will keep pressing forward with new accountability measures, and stronger oversight over police use-of-force.
My fellow San Franciscans, we must push forward, harder than ever before, to reform the Police Department and restore trust with every community and keep our City safe.
In this solemn moment, we must put aside politics and begin to heal the City.
What? Gay whites running amok again?
Not many gays in Bayview. Old time black neighborhood full of gang bangers.
Now, no homeless person will ever ever ever be shot again in San Francisco.
” to reform the Police Department and restore trust with every community and keep our City safe. “
Uh,uh ! “Reforming” the police department will solve the city’s problems.
Ed Lee is a Chinese version of Rahm Emanuel. Now isn’t diversity wonderful!
How DARE the police use force against such a plainly upstanding citizen! It's obvious she was just getting her life together!
A great city and great state have been absolutely ruined by the left.
“Not many gays in Bayview. Old time black neighborhood full of gang bangers.”
Have you seen Bayview lately? In the 70’s I worked on Jerrold Avenue just south of Potrero Hill. We used to find dead bodies in the ally next to my office. And the entire area was Black and poor. Now the Facebook/Google/Silicon Valley young professionals live in the area, and all the po folks have been pushed out to somewhare else. Even Third Street is toney! These people have driven property values sky high. San Francisco is in a building boom like you’ve never seen before. And all these people get driven to and from their mid-Peninsula offices in fancy busses. I also worked for Raychem. I was hired to manage the development of the site that is now Facebook’s HQ.
Make SF a crime sanctuary city. It’s the only way.
I predict a Fergusson Effect coming soon to the Bay Area.
Be careful what you ask for, San Francisco. You just may get it, and end up making Oakland (that city you like to look down your nose at) appear well run by comparison.
Democrats are no longer soft on crime. They have adopted criminals as their newest victim group.
The law abiding citizens of these cities continue to vote for the Left. When will they see the error of their ways?
In the meantime, the Democrats have declared open season on law abiding citizens.
“A great city and great state have been absolutely ruined by the left.”
As a SF native I can only say I agree 100%.
A thug committing a crime is shot and a police chief is asked for his resignation.
A totally innocent woman is shot by an illegal in that sanctuary city and it’s okay.
The Feds will take over the police department ala Ferguson!
You mean the Sun Microsystems building in Menlo Park?
Boggles the mind, lady, doesn’t it?
Have you seen Bayview lately?
Well you busted me. I haven’t been to Bayview in almost 20 years.I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it has gentrified with all the .com money. I had a friend that lived on Potrero Hill and went up there all the time in the 90s. It was slowly gentrifying even back then from what I recall. I moved away from the Bay Area in the 90s and remember being gobsmacked reading during the first .com bubble a NY Times story about valet parking in the Mission. That wasn’t the Mission I left. LOL.
“You mean the Sun Microsystems building in Menlo Park?”
Yes, Raychem owned that property with the intention of building their World HQ there ( they even had a model in The Sales Building that showed how the property would be developed. It was marsh land that Raychem spent millions overcharging with fill and compacting it ( much like what Caltrans did for the Dumbarton Bridge approaches). They also spent $1 million to build an underpass under the Bayfront Expressway so employees could travel between the two properties. Ultimately, we had to put a solid chain link fence in it when Sun bought the property and built “Sun Quentin.” I was by there a few days ago and noticed that FB had bought, razed and built addtional buildings on the south end of what used to be Raychem pilot plants. Now the FB employees are bicycling through that underpass. And Raychem has been bought and renamed. I feel bad for Paul Cook, the guy who founded Raychem in a garage in Redwood City a half a century ago.
Don't claim Suhr is not P.C. He was backed by Kamala Harris and others. Suhr was also indicted for onstruction of justice in 2003.
That was related to "Fajitagate" a scandal that forced two previous SF Police Chiefs to resign. Three SF police offers that were off duty beat up two civilians over fajitas.
Chief Prentice Sanders resigned over that, then Alex Fagan became police chief. He had to resign over Fajitagate as well, and one of the officers involved was his son.
The current SF DA was police chief before Suhr, and he 's in trouble because he can't stop using the N-word at work, both now and when he was police chief.
Sorry, but the SFPD has a lot of problems.
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