FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”

San Francisco, May 1.

Five hunger strikers – angered by new police murders of Black and brown people – have been occupying half the sidewalk in front of Mission Police Station since April 21. It’s Day 11 of their liquid-only fast and they’re losing weight, but they vow to keep it up until SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns or is fired.

“We see so many execution-style police murders of young Black and Latino men – it just doesn’t stop,” said Cristina Gutierrez, 66, a teacher and hunger striker. “Since the killings of Alex Nieto (in 2014), then Amilcar Perez-Lopez, then Mario Woods, the community has been on the move, with weekly meetings, town halls, marches, and protests at City Hall. But it hasn’t moved the chief or the mayor one bit. Now the police gunned down Luis Gongora, only a few blocks from where we’re sitting. For us, that was the last straw.”

Witnesses say Gongora, 45, a Yucatecan Mayan man from Mexico, was the target of 11 shots from police weapons on April 6 while sitting on the ground near his blue tent in a small homeless encampment on Shotwell Street in the Mission District. Apparently he did not understand the “orders” barked by the officers.

The ‘Frisco Five’ hunger strikers include Cristina’s son Ilyich (Equipto) Sato and Ike Pinkston, both 42, who work with her at the Companeros del Barrio preschool in the Mission. The others are Selassie Blackwell, 39, and Edwin Lindo, 29. Equipto and Selassie are active as hip hop artists. Pinkston, a father of two, is a soon-to-be-published poet. Lindo is running for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. They say their hunger strike “is organized with the guidance of the Black and Brown Social Club, which works to unite and empower the Black and Brown communities.”

Hundreds of people come by every day to offer support and encouragement to the fasters, preparing their drinks (a secret recipe rumored to include coconut water, broth and miso), or joining them in a 60-minute, raucous occupation of the nearby intersection at 17th and Valencia streets, or for a Saturday afternoon of drums and dancing outside the police station. “High school students come by. So many who say there’s no time to wait any more, to stop these police killings,” said Gutierrez. “People coming by who were active in the movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s: it’s an outpouring of love from the community.”

One supporter, Ruthie Sakheim who runs a weekly discussion series called Occupy Forum, tied the police killings to the rent-gouging, gentrification and displacement that is plaguing Black and brown neighborhoods . “This is not normal,” she said. “Nowadays when the police come in, they shoot people in the heart or in the head. Why is this? We know some of the officers are Army veterans who’ve been trained to shoot to kill. It’s happened so many times, this cannot be just an accident. I think they are intending to kill people in these neighborhoods. The big developers, do they have a hand in this? Are police getting orders from somewhere to terrorize these targeted areas? I don’t know for sure, but there is more to this than meets the eye.”

For more on San Francisco’s struggle against police murder and gentrification, see “Black & Brown Unity against Police Impunity” by the same author, CounterPunch, March 2016

More articles by:

Dave Welsh, a delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council, was a member of a Human Rights and Labor Fact Finding Delegation to Haiti in October, that reported on systematic voter suppression, violence and intimidation in the election process.

January 23, 2019
Paul Street
Time for the U.S. Yellow Vests
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail