(SAN FRANCISCO) — Five protesters in San Francisco’s Mission District, called the “Frisco Five,” continue their hunger strike over what they call racist actions by the San Francisco police department, which they say include shootings of minorities and racially-charged text messages by officers.
The group is calling for the resignation of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, as well as San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. They have been camped out in front of the Mission District police station since April 21, refusing to eat.
Protesters cite the separate shootings over the past three years of Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Mario Woods and Luis Gongora as evidence of racism in the department.
They also mention the recent release of months-old transcripts showing racist text messages written by Officer Jason Lai, who has since resigned. The texts were discovered during a criminal investigation of Lai last fall. He was charged last month with six misdemeanor counts for unlawful access and use of criminal and motor vehicle data bases.
“The investigation also revealed that three other officers had each received single questionable text messages from Lai,” a statement from the San Francisco Police Department reads. “The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the officers.”
Despite the rising pressure to resign, Suhr “has no intentions of stepping down,” the department’s spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza confirmed to ABC News.
Instead, Esparza said Suhr is working to clean up the department, mandating that all officers currently attend anti-harassment classes.
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