January 13, 2016
Dear San Francisco Police Commission, Police Chief Greg Suhr, Mayor Ed Lee, the Police Officers Association, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors:
We write to you today to demand justice for Mario Woods and the countless individuals who have been unjustly terrorized and murdered by the SFPD. We stand in solidarity with the family of Mario Woods and the Justice For Mario Woods Coalition in demanding the following actions be taken immediately:
- Release of a public apology to Gwendolyn Woods;
- Payment by the SFPD and the City and County of San Francisco for the funeral of Mario Woods;
- Termination of Police Chief Greg Suhr
- An independent Federal and External investigation into the murder
San Francisco has been a well-known leader in many social justice causes. Sadly, however, our Police Department has lagged behind implementing 21st Century Policing strategies to ensure the protection and safety of our most marginalised, vulnerable communities. Despite the fact that SFPD has adopted Community Policing strategies in its General Orders (Section 1.08 - Community Policing), these policies have no points of accountability or enforcement. Additionally, Police Chief Greg Suhr and other leadership have continued to execute policies and support personnel that allow racism, homophobia, transphobia, and homeless persecution to proliferate within the force, instead of challenging the Board of Supervisors to vote in favor of protecting all citizens of San Francisco, and not just the most elite.
Far too many black and brown folks, people with mental and physical disabilities, and members of the LGBT community and homeless residents have suffered at the hands of the SFPD. This is not unique to San Francisco. This is a national endemic. But we refuse to let this happen here. Current leadership has proven that it either cannot or will not take action to stop the excessive use of force, abuse of power, and bigotry that is causing unjust pain and suffering in our communities. It is clear that current training and practices being deployed by the San Francisco Police Department are part of the problem, and that better solutions like anti-oppression training, de-escalation and conflict mediation are necessary.
The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club Political Action Committee demands immediate actions be taken to ensure justice for the victims of police brutality, including Mario Woods and Alex Nieto, and for the Police Commission to aggressively pursue measures that ensure accountability, transparency and the implementation of effective Community Policing best practices.
Political Action Committee of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club