After Racist Incidents, San Francisco Mayor Replaces White Police Chief With Black One

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Casey Harper Contributor
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San Francisco’s police chief has resigned after a series of scandals and racial incidents.

Former Police Chief Greg Suhr, who is white, resigned Thursday after pressure from the city’s mayor. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced the resignation after police fatally shot a young black woman Thursday, The Associated Press reports. The woman was allegedly in a stolen car and fled from police who then shot her. Lee admitted “the facts are still emerging” but still felt Suhr leaving was the best decision.

“I have previously expressed confidence in Chief Suhr because I know he agrees with and understands the need for reform,” Lee told reporters at a press conference. “But following this morning’s officer-involved shooting and my meeting with Chief Suhr this afternoon, today I have arrived at a different conclusion to the question of how best to move forward.”

Lee tapped Toney Chaplin, who is black, to be the new acting chief.

The police department was already under fire for the fatal shootings of Luis Gongora and Mario Woods in recent months. On top of that, the department has been embroiled in a scandal over racist text messages for more than a year. Text messages released to the public showed officers used racial slurs to mock minorities.

In one text, an officer responded to a picture of a black Thanksgiving turkey by asking, “Is that a Ferguson turkey?” SF Gate reports in another message, a picture of an older man features the caption, “BACK IN MY DAY WE DIDN’T HAVE VIDEO GAMES. WE WENT OUTSIDE AND BEAT N— WITH STICKS.” A different image shows a white man spraying a black child with a hose while calling him a racial slur.

“I hate that beaner, but I think the nig is worse,” reads one of the revealed texts. The texts also refer to black people as “barbarians” and “wild animals.” The officers used a code to call people gay, CNN found. One text says “Passive aggressive 528,” which uses the fire code 528 to call someone a “flaming” homosexual.

“The past several months have shaken and divided our city, and tensions between law enforcement and communities of color that have simmered for too many years have come into full view,” Lee said.

He apparently hopes a new police chief will help change that.

In Los Angeles, police are having their own problems. A police official resigned earlier this month after his racist, anti-Muslim, misogynistic emails went public.

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