An angry crowd gathered yesterday at the Laborers International Union on the corner of 18th and Shotwell Streets, less than a block from where a week ago San Francisco Police Officers shot and killed 45-year-old Luis Gongora. Police Chief Greg Suhr called the town hall to speak about the shooting, which police have claimed was an act of self defense by officers after Gongora charged them with a knife — a claim disputed by numerous witnesses — and took questions from those gathered. Given the already evident distrust of the chief among many in the room, it comes as no surprise that it was not long before calls of "Fire Chief Suhr now" filled the hall.
Before opening up the meeting to questions from the crowd, Suhr attempted to fill in some of the details of the shooting. However, as the investigation is still ongoing, it remained a mostly incomplete picture that was painted. Suhr confirmed that Gongora was struck six times by bullets fired from two officers' service pistols, and CBS 5 reports that Suhr informed the crowd that one of the two who fired is a sergeant with 17 years on the force, and the other is an officer with 13 years of experience.
The meeting was then opened to questions, and it was not long before those at the podium began asking the police chief if he intended to resign. He made it clear he did not.
One speaker, reports the Chronicle, emphasized the apparent disconnect between the SFPD's official de-escalation policy of creating "time and distance" and the actual circumstance of the shooting — video of which shows that it all went down in roughly 30 seconds.
“[The 'time and distance' policy has] been on your books for three years," said retired ACLU attorney John Crew. "I beg of you to speak out about it and enforce it. The message that the officers are getting is if they create the imminent danger, they can shoot.”
“This event obviously went very quickly,” CBS 5 reports Suhr as responding. “We will be looking at tactics to see if anything could have been done differently.”
According to the CBS, Gongora had a wife and three children living in Mexico.
Previously: Day Around The Bay: Another Witness Comes Forward In Shotwell Shooting
'Town Hall' On Controversial Shooting Of Homeless Man To Be Held Wednesday At Noon
Marchers Disrupt Sunday Streets To Protest SFPD Shooting Of Luis Gongora
First Video Surfaces Of SFPD Firing On Homeless Man Within 30 Seconds Of Exiting Squad Cars
Protesters March On Mission Station As Additional Witnesses Dispute SFPD Shooting Death Claims
[Update] Homeless Man Shot By SFPD Has Died, Witnesses Dispute Police Claims