The Frisco Five, also known as #Frisco5,[1] are a group of protesters who went on hunger strike on April 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California in front of the San Francisco Police Department Mission Station to demonstrate against episodes of police brutality, use-of-force violations, and racial bias.[2] Specifically the deaths of Alex Nieto on March 21, 2014,[3] Mario Woods on December 2, 2015,[4] Amilcar Perez Lopez on February 26, 2015,[5] and Luis Gongora on April 7, 2016.[6][7]


Alex Nieto memorial (2016), Bernal Heights Hill, San Francisco
Amilcar Perez-Lopez memorial (2015), Mission District, San Francisco

The five protesters – Ike Pinkston, 42, Sellassie Blackwell, 39, Edwin Lindo, 29, Maria Gutierrez, 66, and her son Ilyich "Equipto" Sato, 42 – called for the resignation of SFPD chief Greg Suhr over a series of recent shootings of men of color.[8][9] The protesters were a mix of musicians, educators, and a politician: Pinkston, Sellassie, and Equito are hip hop artists, Gutierrez is director of Los Compañeros del Barrio Preschool, and Lindo was a candidate for Supervisor in District 9.[10][11]

In February 2016, the San Francisco Police Department had voluntarily requested a United States Department of Justice begin a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) review in an effort to reform the department, but it was not a civil rights review like that being undertaken in Ferguson, Missouri.[12] Mayor Lee and the San Francisco Police Commission proposed changes in use of force policies on February 22, 2016.[13] The San Francisco Police Officers Association, SFPD's union, refused to comply with the proposed policy and issued its own proposed use of force policy on April 6, 2016.[14] The San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi sent California Attorney General Kamala Harris a request that supported the protestor's claims of racism by the San Francisco Police Department,[15] and requested a civil rights investigation that would be enforceable.[16] After Gongora's death, Adachi was joined by District Attorney George Gascon, Mission District Supervisor David Campos, and other stakeholders to protest the lack of transparency and need for police reform.[17]

In April 2016, the protest was further fueled by additional revelations of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged among SFPD officers,[18][19] one year after the first discovery of racist texts resulted in the firing of eight officers as part of a federal corruption probe.[20][21][22]

Suhr said he would not resign over the racist text scandal and received support from Mayor Ed Lee.[23] Mayor Lee spoke with the Frisco Five, telling them he respected their right to protest but that he would not agree to their demand that he fire Suhr.[24] As the five protesters were hospitalized on the 16th day of the hunger strike, the Frisco Five supporters were joined by an additional group of supporters at San Francisco City Hall,[25] resulting in clashes with the police and 33 people arrested.[26][27]

On May 7, 2016, the Frisco Five called off their hunger strike and called for a general strike in San Francisco on May 9, 2016.[28][29] A press conference on the morning of May 12, 2016 where the Frisco Five will outline their specific demands on Suhr's ouster and other reforms.[30]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Borba, Andrea (6 May 2016). "Protesters Rally At City Hall For Hospitalized 'Frisco Five' Hunger Strikers". KCBS-TV. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  2. ^ Schouten, Lucy (7 May 2016). "What's fueling violent protests over the San Francisco police". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  3. ^ Solnit, Rebecca (21 March 2016). "Death by gentrification: the killing that shamed San Francisco". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  4. ^ Ho, Vivian (11 February 2016). "Mario Woods had 20 bullet wounds, drugs in system, autopsy shows". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  5. ^ Laughland, Oliver (2 June 2015). "Chronicle of a death untold: why witnesses to killings of Latinos by police stay silent". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  6. ^ Lang, Marissa (16 April 2016). "Police identify officers who shot homeless man in the Mission". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  7. ^ Aleaziz, Hamed; Lee, Wendy (8 May 2016). "Frisco Five say hunger strike is over". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  8. ^ Allday, Erin (4 May 2016). "Hunger strikers put suffering on display, but are they in danger?". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  9. ^ Rios, Edwin (27 April 2016). "These San Francisco residents are hunger striking against a wave of police brutality". Mother Jones. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  10. ^ Roberts, Chris (6 May 2016). "Frisco 5: Longest Hunger Strike in Memory; Stalemate in Standoff with Mayor". SF Weekly. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  11. ^ Barros, Joe Rivano (13 January 2016). "SF Mission Supervisor Race Heats Up with Two More Candidates". Mission Local. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  12. ^ Mendoza, Jessica (4 February 2016). "San Francisco lesson: to help police departments, less could be more". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Use of Force Documents". San Francisco Police Department. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Proposed General Order: Use of Force" (PDF). San Francisco Police Officers Association. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  15. ^ Adachi, Jeff (4 April 2016). "Requesting investigation into racism in the San Francisco Police Department" (PDF). San Francisco Public Defender. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  16. ^ Aparton, Tamara (5 April 2016). "Public Defender Requests State Probe Into SFPD". San Francisco Public Defender. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  17. ^ Waxmann, Laura (13 April 2016). "SF Looks to State for Help with Reforming Police Policies". Mission Local. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  18. ^ Glover, Scott; Simon, Dan (26 April 2016). "Documents: Racist texts sent by San Francisco cop". CNN. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  19. ^ Har, Janie (26 April 2016). "Racist messages between SF police officers challenge city's image". The Christian Science Monitor. The Associated Press. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  20. ^ Fuller, Thomas (29 April 2016). "San Francisco Police Chief Releases Officers' Racist Texts". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  21. ^ Lee, Seung (3 May 2016). "Why #hungerforjusticeSF Shut Down San Francisco's Busiest Streets". Newsweek. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  22. ^ Bever, Lindsey (27 April 2016). "'Barbarians': Report reveals racist texts sent from San Francisco police officer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  23. ^ Elias, Paul (29 April 2016). "San Francisco chief releases racist texts, orders training". The Big Story. The Associated Press. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  24. ^ Bay City News (5 May 2016). "San Francisco mayor speaks with hunger strikers by phone, stands by police chief and reform efforts". KRON-TV. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  25. ^ Barros, Joe Rivano; Wenus, Laura (7 May 2016). "33 Arrests, Chaos as Supporters of Hunger Strikers and Sheriff's Deputies Clash at City Hall". Mission Local. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  26. ^ Sernoffsky, Evan; Allday, Erin; Aleaziz, Hamed (7 May 2016). "SF hunger strikers go to hospital — protesters arrested in clash with deputies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  27. ^ McLaughlin, Michael (6 May 2016). "5 Hunger Strikers Hospitalized 16 Days Into Protest Against SF Police". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  28. ^ Examiner Staff (7 May 2016). "'Frisco 5' protesters call off hunger strike". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  29. ^ "#Frisco5 protest: US 'police racism' hunger strike ends in San Francisco". BBC News. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  30. ^ Eskenazi, Joe (11 May 2016). "The Hunger Strike May Be Over, but the Conversation Around Police Violence Is Still Starved". San Francisco Magazine. Retrieved 11 May 2016.