Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Former San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned today (Thursday, May 19) after police fatally shot a 27-year-old African American woman in the city’s Bayview district this morning.

Many have been calling for months for Suhr to resign following other deadly police shootings and scandals in recent months. The woman killed today, whose identity hasn’t been released, had allegedly been driving a stolen car, according to news reports.

Mayor Ed Lee had supported Suhr, but in a statement today he said that he’d met with the chief, and “I have arrived at a different conclusion to the question of how best to move forward. … The progress we’ve made has been meaningful, but it hasn’t been fast enough. Not for me, not for Greg.

“That’s 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. He’s a true public servant, and he will always have my respect.”

Lee said that he’s named Deputy Chief Toney Chaplin as acting chief.

Besides the shootings, Suhr, who’s been with the police department for more than 30 years, has also seen other scandals erupt recently. Several officers allegedly exchanged racist and homophobic text messages, among other problems, and the Department of Justice has been investigating the department.

The city’s supervisors have started weighing in.

Board President London Breed, who represents District 5, said she’s known Suhr since she was a child in the Western Addition.

“Greg was always respectful, always a servant of the community,” Breed said. “I only hope his resignation today can help heal the wounds our community has suffered, and that all of us can dedicate ourselves to the police reforms Chief Suhr helped begin.  May his departure be an opportunity at last for our City to come together, and for everyone, no matter their color or creed, to feel safe in our communities.”

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, who was recently joined by three other supervisors in calling for Suhr to be replaced, today thanked Suhr for his decdes of “devoted service.”

“Now,” Kim said, “we have to unite as a City more than ever to effect the deep changes that we know are necessary to heal and make the city safer and stronger.”

District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who’d spoken out in support of Suhr, said he respects Lee’s decision, and he also thanked Suhr for his work.

“Chief Greg Suhr was one of the most progressive Chief’s in the nation and in San Francisco history,” Farrell said. “I deeply respect Chief Suhr as a person, as a true San Franciscan, and as someone who woke up every day to keep the public safe, strengthen ties in the community with our residents, and to make San Francisco a better place for all communities.”

He said he looks forward to working with Chaplin “on strengthening the relationships needed with communities across San Francisco to implement the ongoing, proposed, and needed police reforms.”

District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, who had supported Kim’s effort to have Suhr replaced, said, “I applaud” Lee’s decision and Suhr’s resignation, “though it troubles me that the announcement follows yet another officer involved killing of an African American woman in the Bayview. … This opens the door for the Police Commission to conduct a national search to select a chief that can challenge the culture of bigotry and racism in the department and rebuild trust with low income communities.”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 19, 2016 @ 6:07 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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