A hunger strike in San Francisco

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AJ+
May 4, 2016 · 3 min read
Four of the five hunger strikers (seated) outside of the SF Mission District’s police station (Photo: Shadi Rahimi/AJ+)

Outside of the San Francisco Mission District’s police station, five local activists have been on hunger strike since April 21.

The “Frisco Five,” as they are being referred to, are protesting the recent police killings of four young men. On May 3, the strikers and their supporters marched to City Hall, hoping to meet with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. They also demanded the resignation of Police Chief Greg Suhr.

Four Recent Killings by SFPD

Alex Nieto was one of four people recently shot and killed by police. He was eating a burrito in Bernal Heights Park in March 2014, when officers approached him. They had received reports about an erratic man with a gun. There was a confrontation where police claimed Nieto refused to comply with their orders, and the officers fired 59 shots. In a lawsuit filed against the police officers by Nieto’s family, the jury ruled in favor of the officers.

Amilcar Perez-Lopez, an immigrant from Guatemala, was shot dead in the Mission District in February 2015. Police Chief Suhr told reporters in a press conference that Perez-Lopez lunged at officers with a knife. Several eyewitnesses disagreed.

Mario Woods, another young man, was shot dead in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco in December 2015. He was a suspect in a stabbing case and police said he threatened them with a large kitchen knife. A video that was released later raised serious questions about that account.

Luis Gongora, a homeless man, was shot dead in April. Police arrived after receiving reports of a man brandishing a knife in a homeless encampment. Within seconds of the police’s arrival, Gongora was shot and later died at a hospital.

Besides the issue of police brutality, the embattled SFPD is also currently grappling with a racist texts scandal that involved some of its officers.

The Frisco Five at the front lines of the protest, being pushed by UCSF medical students who were on hand to help with medical support. (Photo: Shadi Rahimi/AJ+)
Protesters and supporters march from the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco to City Hall. (Photo: Shadi Rahimi/AJ+)
Protesters in front of San Francisco’s City Hall. (Photo: Shadi Rahimi/AJ+)
Protesters in front of San Francisco’s City Hall wait to speak with Mayor Ed Lee. (Photo: Shadi Rahimi/AJ+)

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AJ+ is a global news community that highlights human struggles and achievements, empowers impassioned voices, and challenges the status quo. Here, we take a deeper look at the stories you are following.

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