San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr’s forum on black community relations is scheduled to move forward Wednesday evening — a day after it was canceled because supporters of Mario Woods, the black man shot and killed by police Dec. 2, planned to attend it.
Suhr’s private advisory council — called the African American Community Advisory Forum — was set to meet at the police headquarters around 5 p.m. Tuesday, where some 24 people from The City’s black community were expected to advise the chief on what to do in the wake of the Woods shooting.
But Woods supporters who learned about the non-public meeting planned to listen in and make demands at the forum, prompting its cancellation.
“It’s not a public meeting, it’s a chief’s meeting,” said Police Commissioner Joe Marshall, who was invited to the forum. “That’s what the commission is for.”
The non-public forum has since been moved to the fifth floor of the Hall of Justice at 5 p.m. Wednesday and will be the fifth time the group meets, Marshall said.
“We have had one meeting since the Woods shooting and we talked about the feeling in the community about the Woods shooting,” he said. “People are concerned. I mean everybody is concerned — the video’s pretty obvious.”
Marshall said he found out yesterday afternoon that the forum would be canceled.
“My guess would be that we were not meeting under protests,” he said. “I think probably the chief felt none of us were prepared for that.”
Officer Carlos Manfredi said on Tuesday police decided to cancel the meeting because they spent the afternoon preparing for the protest.
Protesters were not alerted to the cancellation and about a 100 Woods supporters who expected to attend were turned away from the Public Safety Building.
Phelicia Jones of SEIU Local 1021, a member of the Justice for Mario Woods coalition which organized the protest Tuesday, said the meeting was secretive.
“The black community at large did not know anything about [it],” said Jones, taking issue with police calling the meeting a forum. “What is the definition of forum? A forum is when you have community people able to come in and create dialogue. This is a secret advisory committee picked by chief Suhr.”
Protesters like Jones planned to demand at the meeting that Suhr resign or be fired, that an independent investigation be launched into the shooting and the officers be charged with crimes.
Jonah Owen Lamb contributed to this report.
Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink