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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

SFPD Chief Suhr: I Won't Quit, No Plans To Retire

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 3:08 PM

Police Chief Greg Suhr, sticking around. - SF EXAMINER
  • SF Examiner
  • Police Chief Greg Suhr, sticking around.
At tonight's Police Commission meeting, police Chief Greg Suhr is expected to face a loud and angry crowd. This is the same crowd that's been hounding him for a month, ever since five of Suhr's officers fatally shot 26-year old Mario Woods, a black man suspected of a stabbing, 20 times on a Bayview District street. This crowd — a motley crew of Black Lives Matter activists, union organizers, radical communists, and the Nation of Islam — has a simple and succinct demand: Suhr must resign or be fired by Mayor Ed Lee.

Lee has yet to indicated he's anywhere near even beginning to think of removing Suhr, a lifetime San Francisco police officer who has served as chief since April 2011. And while there are rumors at City Hall that Suhr was planning to retire sometime in 2016, he laid them to rest in an interview with SF Weekly last week. 

"The rumors are true," he said. "Someday, I will retire." But that day, he hopes, is not in 2016.

The outrage over Woods's shooting is far from fringe. The San Francisco Labor Council passed an official resolution condemning the killing and demanding a full investigation — plus possible prosecution of the officers involved — and two city elected officials, Supervisors John Avalos and Malia Cohen, have compared Woods's Instagrammed death to a firing squad (though no elected official has yet called for Suhr to be removed). 

Protests at the Hall of Justice and City Hall before Christmas were — organized by the same motley crew, who plan to protest tonight and on Friday at City Hall during Lee's inauguration will be less circumspect. 

This comes on top of rumors at City Hall that Suhr planned to step down this year — rumors so open that Police Commission members have told city supervisors that it would be a "surprise" if Suhr stayed on throughout the end of the year.

Suhr, at least, is unswayed and says he is staying put.

"I have work to do," he said during an interview on New Year's Eve, mentioning retooling the department's use of force policy and healing the damage done to low-income and minorities' trust in the police done by the Woods shooting. "I have never been somebody who shied away from the drama... at some point, I'll retire. But right now is not the right time. It's not even the right time to be having that conversation."

"At some point it's going to be somebody's else's job. But not now."

Asked point-blank if he plans to finish 2016 as chief of police, he had a brief answer.

"I hope so."

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Bio:
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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