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UPDATE: SFPD fatally shoots woman allegedly driving stolen car

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Officers work a crime scene in the Bayview on May 19 where Jessica Williams, 29, was shot and killed by police. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
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San Francisco police shot and killed a 27-year-old woman allegedly driving a stolen car late Thursday morning, police said.

The incident unfolded around 9:30 a.m. when two officers, who are part of the Bayview Station’s unit that specializes in searching for stolen vehicles, began pursuing the woman, Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

The woman soon crashed into a truck in the area of Shafter Avenue and Elmira Street, and police approached the vehicle on foot. As they tried to remove the woman from the car, a witness told police there was a “back-and-forth” and the woman was shot once by one of the officers shortly before 10 a.m., according to Suhr.

She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

“This is exactly the kind of thing with all the reforms we are trying to prevent,” Suhr told reporters at the scene, referring in part to the $17.5 million in police reforms and violence prevention efforts Mayor Ed Lee has announced he intends to include in his two-year budget.

“It’s always a tragedy anytime anyone is shot,” Suhr said.

SFPD Chief Greg Suhr briefs the media near the scene where a 27-year-old woman was shot and killed by police in the Bayview District of San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, May 19, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

SFPD Chief Greg Suhr briefs the media near the scene where a 27-year-old woman was shot and killed by police in the Bayview District of San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, May 19, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

The mayor was late to an unrelated news conference in the Castro District early Thursday because of the fatal police shooting.

“Whether or not [the incident] required the use of deadly force is something we need to look at very, very specifically,” Lee said. “We want to make sure we understand … whether it fits into our reforms.”

The mayor said he was in conversations with Suhr and community advocates who are “very concerned” about the shooting.

“I’ve got to get back to my office and get all the facts,” Lee said.

Protesters have been calling for Suhr’s job since Bayview police shot and killed Mario Woods in December. After the fatal police shooting of Luis Gongora last month, five activists went on hunger strike for 17 days to pressure Suhr to resign or for Lee to fire him.

When asked by reporters if the latest shooting put more pressure on him to fire Suhr, Lee said, “I think we’re going to have to ask a lot of questions, including that one.”

“I have to hold our chief accountable for everything our officers do in every circumstance, especially when an officer-involved shooting is the circumstance,” Lee said.

Lee said more information on the shooting would be available within a day or the next few days.

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  • Let the people choose the police chief!

  • JuiceWeasel

    Heartwarming prayers and thoughts for this latest SFPD shooting victim and her loved ones.

  • Paul Bearer

    Oh! Oh! The Liquid Diet 5 are not going to like this one bit!

  • Chief,

    Was the officer who fired the fatal shot hired under your ‘lateral’ program and had they shot someone in another jurisdiction before they killed this woman?

    Go Giants!

    h. (Elect the Police Chief by the People!!)

  • riptorn

    Wow.. what went wrong? Why the lethal force?
    This is gonna be a big story…

  • Zippster

    “Two officers attempted to detain the woman after spotting the stolen car, said Police Chief Greg Suhr.
    She tried to drive away before the officers could talk to her, but only
    got 100 feet before crashing into a parked truck, witnesses told
    police.While she was trying to dislodge the vehicle and not complying with
    police orders, one of the two officers, a Bayview station sergeant,
    fired one shot, striking her.”

    She was in possession of a deadly weapon and not doing what the cops told her to do, so of course she’s going to get shot.

    Now there is your equal opportunity at work.

    Live like a thug, die like a thug no matter WHAT sex you identify with…

  • Zippster

    What went wrong? She didn’t follow police orders, just like the other idiots.

    How hard is it to not get shot by police?

  • Zippster

    She got herself killed.

  • sffoghorn

    Is the SFPD now playing “Grand Theft Auto?”

  • Zippster

    Sounds like she was.

  • MsOakilland

    At least the thugette only got one bullet.

    Next time don’t disobey cops’ orders to stop when you’re in a stolen car, and you won’t get shot.

  • Citizen87654

    Sorry to hear the theft victim’s car got crashed.

  • As part of the SFPD – CIT Mental Health Working Group, the group that trains SFPD officers in crisis de-escalation, we had a meeting scheduled with Chief Greg Suhr this afternoon, a meeting now cancelled. We planned to talk about how to improve their CIT (Crisis Intervention Teams) program and how to better implement its team aspect.

    We even planned to propose the creation of a critical incidents review group, a task force to enable members of our mental health working group to review critical incidents involving mental health crisis encounters and learn from them – to create better responses and tactics.

    CIT is a work in progress. We aspire to much but only partially deliver on our promise. Incidents like the tragic shooting today, however, set us back.

    Stepping back, however, to examine the bigger picture of SFPD responses to people suffering mental health crisis, every month there are about three hundred and sixty – that is 360 mental health detentions. That is more than four thousand per year.

    In these incidents, individuals assessed by police as a threat to themselves or others are taken into custody by being placed into handcuffs and transported to Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). This is considered a mental health detention under the police code 5150. Even though it is not voluntary, it is not an arrest as no charges are filled.

    These yearly four thousand plus 5150 mental health detentions occur without anybody getting hurt or even incurring a criminal case.

    While even one death is one too many, one way too many, it is still an extremely rare occurrence given the thousands of people in crisis that are transported each year, transported involuntarily, to psychiatric services, and transported without harm.

    We have so much work ahead.

    David Elliott Lewis, Ph.D.
    ________________________
    SFPD Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training Mental Health Working Group.
    Mental Health Board of the City and County of San Francisco.
    National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), SF Board of Directors.

  • websamurai

    Here we go again. Suhr is incompetent and needs to be replaced with an outsider.

  • Randy F.

    No but the woman driver was….

  • Flubert

    Yep, disobey a cop and/or attempt to flee, and that’s the inevitable outcome

  • Randy F.

    Bring back Heather Fong…

  • Flubert

    He catches bad guys and bad girls. How does that make him incompetent?

    If the cops had instead let her escape, how is that more “competent”?

  • Flubert

    We the people do. We elect a mayor whom we trust to make good appointments.

  • Flubert

    Better stock up on some extra protein shakes.

  • Flubert

    Yes, because reasonable people always favor felons over cops.

  • Flubert

    No but evidently some residents of Bayview do.

  • Flubert

    And also sorry for the owner of the truck that she crashed into before being stopped from creating more harm, damage and potential injury.

  • john doe

    “Oh No…We don’t want our officers to have Tasers”. Yeh. Keep saying that. They may hurt like a S.O.B. but 5 preventable deaths and counting may wake up the police commission. Maybe not.

  • Reality?

    The POA and Lee have 5,000 guns and badges (including retirees) and all I have is this little keyboard. Let’s agree to this …

    If the Office of Police Chief becomes an elected position over the next year or so, I won.

    Right?

    Go Giants!

    h.

  • websamurai

    You don’t kill a person for stealing a car.

  • websamurai

    Suhr has resigned.

  • Francois

    I’m sorry that you are a despicable human being.

  • Francois

    I piss on you.

  • Francois

    and you too.

  • Flubert

    But the cops can and should use force to someone presenting a clear danger to others

  • websamurai

    Agreed when that is the case.

  • Citizen87654

    Also sorry when people choose a life of crime. Big difference between a kid tossing a few eggs on Halloween, and ripping off a car and running from the cops – this could have saved some innocent pregnant woman from getting t-boned. I’ve been in trouble with the law before (like 35-40 traffic tickets over 40 years. etc), but never got shot or strong armed by a cop, and didn’t have warrants out because I went to court, paid fines, etc. It’s not that difficult. Has to do a lot with how I was raised – I credit good parents with teaching their kids to take responsibility for actions.

  • ryan villegas

    that’ll teach her not to steal other peoples things

  • F U

    ignorant fuck… u dont know any circumstances in any ones life…because u never experience police brutality does not mean it does not exist. U need any education, some cultural studies, take some at state i heard its top of the line.

  • Not A Native

    Not obeying a cop is rude and defiant, but it isn’t a death penalty offense. What was the imminent and very likely danger to human life(not just property)?

  • Citizen87654

    Police brutality DOES exist but doesn’t matter for this mope because she stole a car and didn’t obey the cop when he told her to stop. Amadou Diallo, Aaron Campbell, and a couple others were REAL victims of PB, but not this punk. In my neighborhood if the cops don’t get thieving punks, CCW citizens will. Best not to break the law.

  • Flubert

    You want us to explain to you where the danger is in a suspect driving dangerously while seeking to evade capture for a felony?

  • Flubert

    Well, the perp had already crashed into one car and one aggressively seeking to continue to drive dangerously.

  • Not A Native

    Yes explain it, please. It isn’t dangerous, its merely someone trying to escape capture. No pursuit, no danger. I don’t know if she had committed a felony but its likely even if she had been charged with one it would have been reduced to misdemeanor in court. No person had received or was immediately threatened with bodily harm. If the car was actually operable, she could have been followed and captured safely or identified and arrested safely later.

  • Flubert,

    We had direct election of the Police Chief before and I believe we should return to the practice and also elect the Executive Director of the OCC and the Police Commissioners. Also, we should take hiring authority away from the department because they favor knuckle-draggers. Make it a Charter mandate that 15% of the force should be civilian as it is in L.A..

    Once you’ve reached those goals, fill the 300-400 vacant positions with college grad and, voila, you have a new culture.

    Spent morning practicing spelling ‘Samardzija’.

    h.

  • Zippster

    The thugette lodged the stolen vehicle into a truck and was trying to dislodge it which meant mowing down a police officer who was standing right behind that car. Bang! Bang! GAME OVER.

  • Not A Native

    You’re inventing things. What the woman was doing wasn’t reported as “mowing down” the police officer. If the police officer was trying to stop the vehicle by standing behind it while the motor was running, he acted stupidly and recklessly. That’s just not how it happened.

  • JON999

    Why is the LIBERAL MEDIA not reporting about the gun that she had ?

  • JON999

    ALLEGEDLY……WHAT THE FUCK ? FACT :the car was stollen….FACT;she was in the stolen vehicle FACT SHE”S DEAD Where does ALLEGEDLY fit into this situation….Did she fall out of the sky after a church meeting in heaven and wind up in a stolen car ? Fucking MEDIA and political correctness,,,,They left the one small fact OUT…probably not relevant….The mention of the gun in her possession…HMMMMMM Strange

  • Zippster

    She was about to mow down the officer. Why do you think she is dead?

    You weren’t there and I am simply stating what the news has reported.

    GAME OVER.

  • Zippster

    In the end, this was another justified police shooting.

  • Flubert

    Wait, so a driver willing to take risks and break laws to evade capture does not strike you as any kind of potential hazard at all?

    Really?

  • Flubert

    I didn’t know that SF used to elect its police chief. Although we do elect the sheriff and the DA, so I’m not sure why the difference.

    The big risk with electing technical positions is of course that it politicizes them

  • websamurai

    The police have not given any such info., you must have inside info. because the only thing we have been told is that she was driving a stolen car not that she had stolen it and they did not say she was driving dangerously. A person is incompetent if he/she does not do his/her job even if he/she knows how to do it, in this case because the union for all intents and purposes runs the PD.

  • Brynn Hurlstone

    She didn’t have one. Or any weapon. Everyone IS reporting that.

  • I’d think being elected would free Top Cop

    It cannot get more political than it is now. An elected Chief (it could be Suhr – I asked him couple weeks ago and he wasn’t opposed to the idea) … an elected Chief wouldn’t have to bow down to the POA or the Mayor.

    If the people don’t like the job they’re doing they can vote them out. It would be interesting to see the platforms of the various candidates. .

    Interestingly, it would take 6 supes to put it (any of these measures) on the ballot cause they’re Charter changes but I’m pretty sure the Mayor can do it by himself.

    Now, that would be something.

    Curry … 15 points in 1:58?

    h.

  • John,

    If cops wouldn’t abuse the use of the tasers, maybe. However, they don’t stop zapping. You see the video in today’s onlline where cops in Georgia tazed a guy 15 times and killed him? Manufacturer says not to taze anyone more than once or twice.

    Go Giants!

    h.

  • Flubert

    No, the fact that she was disobeying police orders, was evading capture, and ran her stolen vehicle into a parked truck has been widely reported.

  • bob cobb

    She was a car thief, pathetic criminal. How many baby daddy’s? I watch Springer. Hasselhoff, if broke, as dumb as Iverson.

  • bob cobb

    Driving is dangerous especially a stolen car, morons.

  • bob cobb

    The same people sticking up for this thief are the same ones protesting everthing, They’re often professional protesters.

  • websamurai

    And that is the only info. we have.

  • Holly Harwood

    Last time I checked, car theft wasn’t a capital offense. Most pregnant women would fear being dragged out of a car and try to protect their unborn child. What did the baby do to deserve execution? Was the unborn baby a thug? Or were the police just saving tax dollars by preventing a life of welfare and/or incarceration? That baby might have grown up to be another Neil de Grasse Tyson! We can’t have that!

  • roscoe cowboy

    I’m home, warm, safe and reading the news. This woman could’ve been doing the same if she wasn’t putting her life on the line, dedicated to crime. I think I’m going to make some tea now, tah tah.

  • Not A Native

    Its no more a “potential hazard” than a driver who flees from a traffic stop. And it isn’t anywhere near an imminent threat to life. Simply driving away to evade capture away doesn’t justify use of deadly force to stop it. Do you think its permissible to shoot at any driver who is driving recklessly?

  • Not A Native

    From the facts made public so far, I don’t agree.

  • Not A Native

    There was no public report that “she was about to mow down the officer”. she is dead because she was shot with bullets. Police chief was fired as a result of facts that haven’t been made public. so every indication is…
    IT WAS A WRONGFUL SHOOTING.

  • Zippster

    She was determined to get out of there and mow down an officer. That’s why she is no longer with us.

    Not a wrongful shooting and one less car thief in my city.

  • Zippster

    You don’t have to agree. Neither of us were there and a car thief is dead because of her own actions.

  • Not A Native

    Your right about only one thing, neither of us were there. So your conclusion of what happened and why are simply prejudices based on your personal biases. A person who appeared to be committing a minor and non-violent offense was extra-judicially executed by a bully in a blue uniform.

  • Not A Native

    You weren’t there so your description of her state of mind is totally bogus. She was unlawfully executed by a authoritarian cop who will be facing punishment from the new police chief.

  • Zippster

    She got herself “executed”. That’s all I know.

  • Zippster

    Why is the cop a bully? So they were supposed to let her leave in the stolen vehicle and maybe kill an innocent civilian just because she was black.

  • Paul Bearer

    Leave me out of your sick little fantasies, twit.

  • Not A Native

    You’re still making stuff up from your imagination. “Maybe kill…” isn’t even close to a reasonable justification to shoot someone. Here’s a quote from Nevius with more detail of what happened.

    “This time there wasn’t an attempt to justify the act or claim
    life-threatening actions by the victim. She was a 27-year-old woman
    without a weapon whose only apparent provocation was attempting to
    escape. There’s no spinning that. “

  • Not A Native

    Here’s a quote from Nevius who knows more facts about this than you or I.

    “This time there wasn’t an attempt to justify the act or claim
    life-threatening actions by the victim. She was a 27-year-old woman
    without a weapon whose only apparent provocation was attempting to
    escape. There’s no spinning that. “

  • Zippster

    And stealing a car.

  • Zippster

    A car is a weapon.

  • Not A Native

    A car is a weapon only when used that way. There’s no public evidence that was the case in this instance. Mayor Lee knew more facts than you do and determined the shooting was likely unjustified and fired the police chief because of it.

  • Not A Native

    Car theft still isn’t an imminent danger to life that justifies shooting.

  • Zippster

    Yes, but not complying and attempting to run over a cop in a stolen car makes it justified.

  • Zippster

    Thank goodness I will never have to worry about get shot by a cop.

  • Not A Native

    You’re very privileged and entitled because many people always have to worry about getting shot by a cop.

  • Not A Native

    You’re just making up lies about what happened.

    Not complying with a cop’s direction isn’t anywhere close to justification for threat or use of extreme or lethal force.

    SF Chronicle reported:
    “….a police officer shot and killed an African American woman in the Bayview district Thursday after she crashed her vehicle and was trying to dislodge it from beneath a truck. Police said there was no immediate indication the woman was armed or was driving toward officers when she was shot. Mayor Ed Lee reportedly said early reports of the incident made him “very uneasy” before he asked Suhr to resign. “

  • Zippster

    Dislodging it. Which meant backing up at full speed. Weapon.

  • Zippster

    Yes, like people who steal cars, those who walk around with bloody knives that they refuse to drop when told to by police and those who also like to point tasers at civilians and police. Great examples.

    No worries here.

  • Not A Native

    No, like people who do minor infractions the same as you do every day. But unlike you, they get belligerent, aggressive, and authoritarian confrontations from cops.

  • Not A Native

    You don’t think or read. OK here it is in CAPS

    POLICE SAID THERE WAS NO IMMEDIATE INDICATION THE WOMAN WAS ARMED OR DRIVING TOWARD OFFICERS WHEN SHE WAS SHOT

  • Zippster

    Then why was she shot?

  • Zippster

    Yep, that will never happen. LOL!

  • Not A Native

    We don’t know why she was shot. But its also what the mayor asked before he decided to fire Suhr. The reason she was shot is the focus of the investigation and subsequent actions to the officers involved.

  • Zippster

    Again, she was shot because of her own actions. Don’t steal cars and try fleeing police.

  • Not A Native

    You asked the question and now you have the answer. You’ve got a concrete mind, all mixed up and permanently set. You ignore facts to suit your prejudices.

  • Zippster

    Now I’m a racist. LOL.

    I don’t ignore the facts, I simply point them out.

  • Not A Native

    I didn’t call you a racist but that just shows how you ignore the data and what you point out are preconceived ideas(prejudices) not supported by the facts.

  • Zippster

    They are facts.

    She stole a car, was desperate to get away, didn’t obey police orders and got shot. The End.

  • Not A Native

    NO Those aren’t the facts. The car was allegedly stolen, its never been established that it was. There was a report that it was stolen. If it was stolen, its not proved that she stole it. It was reported she attempted to get away. But your description that she was “desperate” is made up in your head, it’s not a fact. Yes she didn’t comply with a police directive, but its not certain why she did not or that she knew she wasn’t complying. Yes she was shot and died as a result. Its not clear why the police officer shot her(and whether it was justified). So what you say are facts is mostly stuff you’ve concluded and is way beyond the facts that have been made public. You jump to conclusions because you have preconceived ideas about what happened even though you are not a witness and have no information beyond what has been made public. CASE PROVED. YOU’RE PREJUDICED

  • Zippster

    All facts that you can’t accept. Dead because of her own actions. Move on.

  • Not A Native

    The things you believe are facts are made up stories from your imagination. CASE CLOSED !

  • Zippster

    Right. She was never in a stolen car. La La La.

  • Not A Native

    You know nothing. From the Chronicle.

    “Although the May 19 fatal shooting of 29-year-old Jessica Williams
    remains under investigation, Lee told The Chronicle’s editorial board
    that “in my view, generally, this was not supposed to happen.”

    At the heart is the issue of whether the sergeant should have
    fired at the car. In recent years, the Police Department has strongly
    discouraged shooting at moving cars because of the danger to both police
    and the public if the driver is hit. The city’s Police Commission is
    considering restricting officers from doing so.

    I don’t know what the circumstances were in the Bayview that caused
    the officer to need to shoot,” the mayor said Thursday. “I just don’t
    know that, and until we hear what that is, it generally falls in my
    opinion in the category of, ‘Thou shalt not.’

    “So let’s find out what happened here,” Lee said. “What went wrong?
    Because I think it was, in my view, generally, this was not supposed to
    happen. For Chief Suhr and I, to be very candid with you, that was the
    conversation that we had that led to the change.”

  • Zippster

    So? The thugette met her fate for stealing a car and try to evade police.

  • Not A Native

    So you admit facts aren’t of interest to you, just name calling. You’ll meet a bad fate soon enough.

  • Zippster

    Name calling? She WAS a thugette.

    I hope you do, and that its at the hands of these thugs you love so much.

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