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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Frisco 5" March to City Hall to Meet with Mayor Ed Lee (Who is Unavailable)

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 3:24 PM

click to enlarge From left: Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Edwin Lindo, and Ilyich "Equipto" Sato. - JESSICA CHRISTIAN/SF EXAMINER
  • Jessica Christian/SF Examiner
  • From left: Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Edwin Lindo, and Ilyich "Equipto" Sato.
Yesterday, Mayor Ed Lee popped into the Mission police station, where five activists have been staging a hunger strike for the past 12 days. The strikers — led by rapper and preschool teacher Equipto, who has been hounding the mayor since October but intesified and directed ire at Suhr following the Dec. 2 shooting death of Mario Woods — want Lee to fire police Chief Greg Suhr, or at the least listen to why they want the city's top cop out.

Lee hung around the station for about half an hour before departing. A photo of Lee and his criminal justice advisors sitting glumly in front of empty chairs, waiting for the agitators who never showed, was made available by the Mayor's Office.

The strikers said they declined the meeting because not all of them were present — and because they said this was all a "power move" from the mayor to pre-empt a planned march on City Hall today, when the strikers planned to demand a meeting with Lee.

That march went ahead and happened. And when the strikers, who were rolled in wheelchairs to City Hall and lifted up some flights of stairs when the wheelchair elevators were out, showed up to Lee's office and asked for a meeting, they were told he was out — at a community meeting in Bayview.

This latest passive-aggressive stalemate was the denouement of a sizable public demonstration, as the hunger strikers — Equipto; Maria Cristina Gutierrez, 66, the executive director of Compañeros del Barrio preschool; Sellassie Blackwell, 39; Ike Pinkston, 42; and Edwin Lindo, 29, a candidate for District 9 supervisor; all subsisting on coconut water, tea, and some chicken broth for almost two weeks now — were wheeled to City Hall ahead of today's well-advertised attempt to meet with Lee.


Lee's people yesterday suggested, as per the Chronicle, that they were insincere for rejecting the impromptu meeting yesterday in lieu of today's public demonstration. 
click to enlarge All dressed up, with nobody to meet. - MAYOR'S OFFICE
  • Mayor's Office
  • All dressed up, with nobody to meet.
Lee said that he would have told the strikers of the great strides underway to remake the San Francisco Police Department, which has come under heavy criticism from activists for the shooting deaths of Woods and Alex Nieto and Amilcar Perez-Lopez. A jury recently ruled Nieto was not unlawfully shot down; a suit filed by the family of Perez-Lopez, who was shot in the back by police, according to autopsies, is pending.

The strikers have been demanding Suhr's resignation or firing — a demand made consistently and loudly on Lee's inauguration day, as you may recall. Lee is unlikely to remove the chief, who himself has said he may  meet with the strikers.

But not today. 

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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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