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San Francisco at the ramparts

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Former police Chief Greg Suhr has parted ways with the Warriors less than 48 hours after it was announced he was hired as the team’s head of security. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

I guess Ed Lee just hates the Dead Kennedys. And Santana. And the Widow Norton. San Francisco is in a bidding war to become the most corrupt, callous big city in America. San Francisco is one black site Holman Square away from being Chicago. We’re one broken broomstick away from being New York City. Somewhere in Frisco at this very moment, cops are probably trying via text to figure out how to be more like Chicago or New York, or Guatemala in the 1980s.

The San Francisco Police Department needs a simple name that sums up the scandals, like Riders or Ramparts.

There are good cops in The City. I know because the POA buys ads on Facebook to tell me so. The ads say the cops are “working for you to keep you safe, working with you to protect our city.” I sent a note suggesting they add “*unless you’re black, Latino, homeless or mentally ill.” The ad boasts a photo of POA President Martin Halloran, looking like the buffoonish evil captain from “Police Academy VII: Shooting Every Goddamn Thing That Moves” and “Police Academy VIII: Actually, Did I Say Every Goddamn Thing? I Mean Certain Things. You Know Which Ones.”

Since the “Frisco 5” ended their hunger strike, things are moving quickly. There were protests and reports of excessive force by sheriffs; the District Attorney’s Blue Ribbon Panel report damned the SFPD; Mayor Lee fumbled question time; as of this writing, four supervisors have called for Chief Suhr to go; and a recall of Mayor Lee is gathering momentum.

For political junkies, it’s the Red Wedding.

A week after the hunger strike, history has absolved the strikers. They were right. During the strike, people worried at me. Yes, perhaps Suhr should go, but what about the hunger strike as a tactic? Was there a risk that firing the chief could divert from other demands for reform? Did the “Frisco 5” paint themselves into a corner with the hunger strike where they couldn’t negotiate a partial victory?

As they say in “Robert’s Rules of Order,” the “Frisco 5” called the question on San Francisco. No more blah, blah, blah. Time to pick sides. I frankly don’t see how, with all the dirty laundry that keeps tumbling out of City Hall, there’s any scenario where people just retreat to their corners. At this point, the question is whether it will take major lawsuits or more killings of the defenseless to force the issue.

Mayor Lee and Chief Suhr are not behaving like politicians who are trying to avoid a crisis. They’re behaving like people who are bracing for impact and hoping they survive the storm. A politician who wants a political problem to go away fires people. Suhr could have thrown some low-level officers under the bus. If more people got fired for awful incidents, instead of press releases saying “regrettable but justified use of force,” it wouldn’t have come to this. They could have done what politicians do and contained the issue with lip service.

One common concern is that even if Suhr were out, it’s not clear there’s a better police chief to be found. Given the kind of rot he has tolerated, no one is suggesting there is a deep bench of capable cops who are not also reckless, violent bigots. Fair enough. The mayor’s budget proposal to buy Tasers and defibrillators is basically an admission that the cops will get carried away with their Tasers. It’s like buying condoms and the morning after pill at the same time.

It’s not that Chief Suhr should be fired as a punishment or revenge. But all the new protocols and trainings in the world will not matter if cops believe there will be no consequences for doing bad things. So far, Chief Suhr hasn’t demonstrated he will be held accountable for misconduct. And if he won’t, The City deserves a chief who will.

Nato Green will be doing comedy Doc’s Lab on May 16 and 23, and riffing over “Bull Durham” at the Alamo Drafthouse on May 25. Troll @natogreen.

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  • Dash Cam

    I’m not sure what Nato Green is attempting to say here? Rather than do a dance around the May Pole, let’s actually pull it out of the ground and draw a line in the sand with Greg Suhr, shall we?

    The guy’s been known as a nepotistic, corrupt and lying individual far before he was appointed Chief of Police for SFPD. The SFWeekly article by Julia Carrie Wong outlining, “The Many Scandals of Police Chief Greg Suhr,” :
    Demotion No. 1: Then-Chief Heather Fong reassigned Suhr from Head of
    Patrol to guarding the city’s water supply, reportedly for mishandling a
    G-8 protest that left a cop with a fractured skull.
    Demotion No. 2: Suhr is demoted to captain after failing to file a
    report after a female friend told Suhr she’d been attacked by a

    Suhr is sued for retaliation by an SFPD lawyer who recommended his
    firing for mishandling the 2009 DV incident — and whom he fired two
    weeks after being named chief. The city settled the lawsuit in March
    2015 for $725,000.

    Suhr has COST THE CITY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BECAUSE OF HIS closet-racist behavior. He’s allowed SFPD to target historically poorer neighborhoods like Bayview and allowed officers to exchange RACIST COMMENTS about the citizens he and the SFPD ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT.

    Greg Suhr was put into his position by Edwin Lee, who’s equally UNTRUSTWORTHY.

    The P.O.A. President, run by pseudo-mafioso-type Martin Halloran
    continues to undermine any credibility for this organization by circling
    the wagons and refusing to acknowledge that anything could be wrong
    with the SFPD – there’s PLENTY THAT’S WRONG WITH SFPD starting with Greg
    Suhr and his questionable record. He’s the highest paid cop in the
    U.S. making over $300K a year and one of the laziest, avoidant,
    do-nothing individuals.


  • Gina Genochio

    Just as a pubic service, could you please provide us with a telephone contact number for Nato Green and the heroic Frisco 5 so we can call them if we are ever in trouble and need help?

  • bear on the peaks

    Greg Suhr is not the problem. He is the scapegoat for the problem.. Jane Kim from New York is using the city of San Francisco as her bitch to climb the political career ladder to Sacramento by scapegoating a 4th generation San Franciscan, someone born and raised and educated in this city. She will not get away with it. Jane Kim, David Campos and John Avalos are the problem!

  • Marcelo Rodriguez

    Gina: I may be wrong, but, should YOU be in trouble, you’d be OK dialing 911. From your pic, it does not look like you match the profile of those who are justifiably afraid.

  • PatrickMonkRn

    I guess the reason that Mr Ed hasn’t ‘read the report yet’ is that he’s waiting for the Brown/Conway redacted version.

  • angryyoungman

    “Somewhere in Frisco at this very moment, cops are probably….”

    How can anyone take seriously any carpetbagger who calls The City this name?

    Here’s an idea: Let’s have a city-wide advisory referendum with two questions:

    1. Yes or no: Do you prefer a city where knife wielding people stumble around dangerously and people poop and pee everywhere (including sidewalks, parkland, and escalators) to a city where these things are prevented and/or punished?

    2. Yes or no: Should the Mayor fire Chief Suhr?

    This would give an honest pulse of The City, as opposed to the whinings of a couple hundred disaffected souls. Of course, that’s why “Progressives” will never allow such a vote.

  • D_burr

    This article blows. And repeats the same “victories” frisco 5 and co. have been obsessing over for more than a week and a half now-that appear to have done nothing to give the steam to their movement that they claim of in every Examiner, 48 Hills, or Mission Local op-ed put out by a wimpy dude/dudette thats not even from the city. You dont know shit. Youre bad at pretending like you do. Have a nice life.

  • angryyoungman

    Yeah–she’s not waving a knife around and refusing to drop it.

  • sfsoma

    Nothing will change as long as the POA can make or break a mayoral campaign with their threats and intimidation. Suhr is part of the problem, not the solution.

  • LStoll

    I support the police, not violent gangbangers like the ones the Frisco Five were protesting about.

    They are the problem, not the police. Shame on anyone who supports them.

  • Marie of Romania

    Every time someone says that horrible F word, Herb Caen kicks a kitten. Stop it!

  • Marcelo Rodriguez

    Correct. And if she were, she would not be shot 25 times either.

  • angryyoungman

    If she had enough meth & other drugs onboard to withstand four beanbag rounds, then maybe….

  • Guest

    Suhr appears to be a good man and a monumental improvement over Gavin Nuisance’s appointment of Heather Thong … a totally disastrous decision. As a resident of SF for the past 40 years, I can personally attest to how the city has changed from a livable environment to a concrete jungle ruled by 11 dictators each needing only a few thousand votes to be ordained Stupidvisors. The city went south with district elections, balkanizing the best policies for SF instead with ‘La Raza’ candidates for open borders and sanctuary city madness, Asian law caucus candidates, nutty professors from SF State, the tunnel vision of the LGBT crowd, and the environmental wackos including today’s bicycle crazies. Suhr strongly supported the use of tasers as an option to deadly force but was rebuked by the Stupidvisors. So what he predicted … the use of deadly force had to be used instead of a very sensible, momentary disabling of a serious threat. I’m not a fan of Lee for permanently transforming SF to an unlivable concrete jungle that has already reached its population capacity, but I support Lee for standing by Suhr. Direct your blame at the disgusting losers on the BOS …. Kim, Avalos, Campos, Mar, who are all looking for their next political gig. As a group, the BOS is a shameful disgrace representing SF.

  • darla simmons

    No wonder this publication cost zero. It has no value.v

  • sffoghorn

    Yeah, cops killing civilians for sport, funny funny ha ha.

    Add the requisite self promotion tag at the end that seems to count for everything in progressive lala land.

  • Scoop Brady

    Nato Green, no one knows who you are. Good bye

  • Scoop Brady

    Hey Gascon, if you’re going to comment, use your real name at least.

  • sadly, it did take another murder by sfpd to make suhr go away … also sadly, instead of being fired and losing his pension, san francisco residents will be paying his pension as he traipses off to obscurity … or into the arms of some other poor city as their new thug in charge

  • how are these inane questions related to whether people prefer law abiding police to criminal police who murder with impunity?

  • i’m just here celebrating that suhr is gone (even if he managed to retire instead of be fired and lose his pension)

    also enjoying the idiotic comments by police state cheerleaders

  • angryyoungman

    Because firing Suhr is/was a relevant question, one that should not be assumed from the whinings of a disaffected few.

  • what? when the ‘disaffected few’ are DEAD due to police illegally murdering them, you don’t hear them whining . when people are protesting against police for illegally beating, illegally detaining, and otherwise illegally harassing them, that is not whining

  • angryyoungman

    Aw, quit whining. “Hands up, don’t shoot” would have saved these dead wackos. Instead, they, not the cops, chose the route of vonfrontation/escape over legal compliance.

    But my basic point remains: Let’s hear what all people want, not just the screaming of a jobless few.