San Francisco Police Department Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned suddenly on Thursday, at the request of Mayor Ed Lee.
The Black Lives Matter movement had targeted Suhr for months, following a scandal over racist and homophobic texts sent by police officers, and several recent officer-involved shootings. Lee demanded Suhr’s resignation after a 27-year-old black woman was shot by an SFPD officer in the city Thursday. The woman was later found to have been unarmed.
The day of Suhr’s resignation, the Wall Street Journal noted that Suhr “hasn’t considered resigning,” despite ongoing pressure to do so. Demonstrators had targeted Lee and Suhr in several high-profile protests and even a hunger strike. In January, demonstrators disrupted Lee’s second inauguration as mayor, shouting “Fire Chief Suhr” and other slogans. As recently as last Tuesday, protesters had interrupted a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, demanding Suhr’s resignation.
Lee stood by Suhr, but withdrew his support Thursday in a statement at City Hall, according to the Los Angeles Times:
“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,” Lee said in a statement at City Hall. “The progress we’ve made has been meaningful, but it hasn’t been fast enough. Not for me, not for Greg. … The men and women of SFPD put themselves in harm’s way literally every day. We owe it to them to restore the community’s trust in their work.”
Suhr is only the latest police chief to be fired under pressure from the Black Lives Matter movement, including Baltimore’s Anthony Batts, a black commissioner who was fired as the city suffered riots and a wave of violent crime in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015. He later said police had been forced, for political reasons, to back away from preserving law and order.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in December, after controversy over the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a teenager suspected of slashing tires who was shot several times, and whose death was captured on a video the city was eventually forced by the courts to release. Like Suhr, McCarthy had declined to resign shortly before being pushed out by the mayor.
Toney Chaplin, 47, is acting police chief, according to Bay Area public radio station KQED.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.