San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr was asked to step down Thursday following a fatal shooting of a 27-year-old Black woman.
Accusations of racism have rocked the San Francisco Police Department in recent years. Last December, a judge ruled nine officers would be allowed to keep their jobs because officials waited too long to discipline them for sending racist and homophobic messages.
Now, following a fatal shooting of an unarmed Black woman on Thursday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee called for Suhr to resign, citing “tensions between law enforcement and communities of color.”
“The past several months have shaken and divided our city, and tensions between law enforcement and communities of color that have simmered for too many years have come into full view,” Lee said.
“Though the facts are still emerging, we know that, this morning, a young woman of color was killed in an officer-involved shooting in the Bayview. The community is grieving, and I join them in that grief.”
Though the investigation is still ongoing, police say they were conducting an operation to recover stolen cars when they spotted a woman behind the wheel of one. According to witnesses there was some “back and forth” between the cars, and one officer fired a single shot, striking Jessica Nelson.
Nelson, who may have also been pregnant, was taken to a nearby hospital where she later died.
The shooting kicked off protests in the city, with many calling for reform.
— Colleen Klus (@ColleenKlus) May 20, 2016
— David Lyons (@dblyons123) May 20, 2016
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the shooting was “unacceptable” and called on California’s Attorney General’s Office to open a civil rights investigation into the department.
“It is unacceptable for police encounters with unarmed citizens to end in bullet wounds and body bags,” he said. “While details are still scarce, I am deeply disturbed by reports that the young woman gunned down today was driving away from officers. She was entitled to due process and, above all, she was entitled to her life.”
Nelson was shot in the same vicinity as another deadly SFPD encounter. Back in December, police officers also fatally shot Mario Woods.