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.