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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mario Woods Protesters Crash, Cancel SFPD's "Secretive" Summit with Black Leaders

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 11:52 AM

click to enlarge 8177089356_6ed80e9b60_z.jpg
Some time ago, the San Francisco Police Department had what it called an "African American Community-Police Relations Board." Formed under then-Mayor Willie Brown — when, for 14 months between 2002 and 2003, the city had both a black police chief as well as a black mayor — the group consisted of black leaders, mostly from faith communities (Christopher Muhammad, the head of the local chapter of the Nation of Islam, was its chair for a time), who would issue periodic recommendations to police on how to interact with black people (rule no. 1, hopefully, was "don't kill us").

At some point under former Mayor Gavin Newsom's tenure, the board went away. It's still unclear when, how, or why; neither a police spokesman nor two black elected officials who spoke with SF Weekly could say. But now, in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Mario Woods, police Chief Greg Suhr has convened another summit of black leaders, whose meeting yesterday was canceled after (mostly black) protesters heard about it and had the temerity to show up, as the San Francisco Examiner reported. 

That led one black leader, local NAACP head Rev. Amos Brown, to blast the proceedings as "secretive." Which, in fairness, they appear to be.

In comments to the Examiner, Brown noted that the meeting was canceled after a "certain person" — given that it's a meeting with police, quite possibly a member of police brass — became irked that the public was made known of the meeting.

Protesters with the "Mario Woods Coalition," a conglomeration of public sector employee union SEIU 1021 and faith leaders including Muhammad and Rev. Lorenzo King, the leader of the John Coltrane Church in the Fillmore, showed up and demanded to be let into the proceedings.
click to enlarge Christopher Muhammad of the NOI.
  • Christopher Muhammad of the NOI.

(The meeting was not publicly noticed, and as of now, a police spokesman could not say who else was on the panel to meet with Suhr.)

“A certain person asked, ‘How did the public know about the meeting today?’ and I made it very clear that I was not going to serve on a secret group for anybody,” Brown told the Examiner. “If that can not be a transparent group, I’m not feeling that.”

The same group of protesters has to date crashed City Hall, asking to meet with Mayor Ed Lee, and the Hall of Justice, asking to meet with District Attorney George Gascon. Lee was out of town; Gascon appeared, met with protesters, and promised to make the investigation into Woods's death a legit one.

In the meantime, whatever became of the SFPD's attempts to make inroads with black folks? Meetings like this — a select coterie of hand-picked "representatives" — does not appear to be going over well.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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