The “Frisco Five” as they’ve been dubbed are on day 12 of their hunger strike outside the Mission District police station demanding the firing of Police Chief Greg Suhr — or the resignation of Mayor Ed Lee if Suhr is not fired. Four of the candidates for District 9 — including Edwin Lindo who is on the hunger strike — support the striker’s demands that Suhr be replaced.
Of those who responded to our question this week, only Joshua Arce declined to support that demand.
The hunger strike is in direct response to a spate of controversial police shootings in the last two years, three of which — those of Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez Lopez, and Luis Gongora — occurred in or near the Mission. We asked all of the candidates what they think of the strike and the call for Suhr’s job.
Do you support the hunger strikers and their call that Police Chief Greg Suhr be fired or resign? If so, why are you not hunger striking? If you do not support the hunger strike, why?
Respuestas en español aquí.
Joshua Arce, civil rights attorney and Community Liaison for Laborers Local 261
Firstly, I support the efforts of everyone involved in the hunger strike. While we may not agree on all of their demands, their sincere passion and commitment to their beliefs is truly moving.
I do believe that we need to see reforms around police use of force if we are going to restore community confidence and heal wounds which have been growing for generations, but I’m unconvinced that firing Chief Suhr is the best way to achieve this. We all want safer streets and to live together in harmony. I admire the hunger strikers for calling attention to these issues in such a dramatic way.
Iswari España, Training Officer with the San Francisco Human Services Agency
Yes, I support the hunger strikers and their call for Police Chief Suhr to be fired or resign. I have gone to the site to manifest my solidarity several times and spent a night in vigil with them. This is a collective effort, as a community, not my individual campaign. It’s a call to demand accountability and justice.
Our district is neglected despite being plagued by issues. Currently, we have no representation unless there is a photo op. While I stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers, I feel that it is also my job to continue to attend other meetings and events where the community also needs support and representation.
Edwin Lindo, Vice-President of External Affairs at the Latino Democratic Club
As one of the five hunger strikers, going on 10 days without eating and camping out in front of the Mission Police Station, our demand is clear and concise: Chief Suhr must resign immediately, or Ed Lee must fire him. If Ed Lee is unwilling to fire him, Ed Lee must resign.
The world is watching and we are holding the magnify glass on our police chief and department that has operated with impunity. It will stop, we will make sure if it.
Let us never forget Alex Nieto, Mario Woods, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, and Luis Gongora.
Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff for Supervisor David Campos
I believe Chief Suhr should resign or be fired because, despite the horrific racist and homophobic text scandals and killings of Nieto, Woods, Perez-Lopez, and Gongora, we have yet to see real accountability from the Chief, POA, or Mayor. It is time for our leadership to recognize deep problems in the SFPD, accept responsibility for these problems, and embark on fundamental cultural and policy changes at the department.
The hunger strikers are drawing much needed attention to these issues, and I support their efforts. I also support other efforts calling for reform, including demands that the California Attorney General investigate the SFPD– which can result in mandatory oversight and necessary change. For the past 14 years I have worked with organizations like the Hayward Burns Institute, ACLU, Ella Baker Center, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, Drug Policy Alliance, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), HOMEY, and countless other individuals and organizations that work day in and day out, out of the spotlight, to reform our broken criminal justice system. All of this work is necessary to change one of the most entrenched problems of our city and country.
As a District 9 Supervisor, I will continue to fight for and win meaningful criminal justice reform for the people of San Francisco.
Melissa San Miguel, education advocate
We need a Police Chief who will hold all members of the police force accountable and will ensure its culture does not dehumanize people of color, women and our LGBT family members and friends. There are many fine Officers who do excellent work in the community, but Police Chief Suhr should resign, or be fired. SFPD must change its policing culture and it needs to rebuild trust with the community. A culture of change must begin at the top, where every officer treats us as their neighbors and with the respect we all deserve. We are in this together. The officer involved shootings of people of color have deeply impacted our community. The hunger strike is an outgrowth of that desire for needed change. I support actions and those people who have chosen a nonviolent way to protest. However, we must go beyond protesting and create sustainable actions ensuring transparency and accountability. As supervisor, I intend to do just that.
Darcel Jackson did not provide a response to this week’s question.
43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.