SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the five people conducting a hunger strike outside San Francisco’s Mission Police Station was taken to the hospital Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman for the group.
Selassie Blackwell, one of five people dubbed the .Frisco5 who have refrained from eating since April 21 in protest of recent police killings in San Francisco, is in the hospital this afternoon, according to group spokeswoman Yayne Abeba.
Blackwell’s Instagram account includes a photo of the protester in a hospital gown and a locator of UCSF medical center. The caption reads in part: “I might be the first to the grave.”
Abeba said she would release more information on Blackwell’s condition once she has spoken to his doctor.
The group is calling for Mayor Ed Lee to fire police Chief Greg Suhr, or for Suhr to resign.
Hundreds of protesters in support of the hunger strikers marched to City Hall on Tuesday in an attempt to meet with Lee, pushing the five hunger strikers in wheelchairs.
After learning Lee was not in City Hall that afternoon, some of the protesters then interrupted the Board of Supervisors meeting that was in session, prompting Board President London Breed to call a recess.
During the recess, some of the supervisors held an impromptu conversation with the protesters, in some cases agreeing with the need for reforms but refusing to endorse calls for Suhr to be fired.
The group later marched to a planned police accountability forum at Congregation Sherith Israel at 2266 California St., where Suhr and Public Defender Jeff Adachi were scheduled to speak. Suhr canceled his appearance, citing security concerns.
Suhr has been dogged by repeated calls from activists for his resignation since the Dec. 2 fatal police shooting of Mario Woods in the Bayview District.
Those calls were only intensified by the April 7 shooting of Luis Gongora, a 45-year-old homeless immigrant who was shot by police near a tent encampment on Shotwell Street, only blocks from the Mission Police Station.
In both cases, police have said the men were armed with a knife.
Suhr has said previously that he does not plan to resign, but instead plans to implement reforms including revisions in the department’s policy around the handling of incidents involving suspects with knives and other edged weapons. An interdepartamental bulletin dated April 30, 2016 signed by Suhr mandated SFPD officers of all ranks to be equipped with a 36″ baton.
Suhr and his predecessors have long sought to equip officers with Tasers, a proposal opposed by civil rights groups and critics who have argued they are too dangerous do nothing to curb police use of deadly force.
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