A swearing-in ceremony for SF's new police chief Monday at the City Hall rotunda was interrupted briefly by a small group of protesters affiliated with the Frisco Five the hunger strikers who led the charge last spring in calling for the resignation of former chief Greg Suhr. Newly hired chief Bill Scott comes to the department from the LAPD, and as ABC 7 reports, several of his LA colleagues were on hand to congratulate him on his first official day on the job here, including LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
It's unclear whether the protesters were specifically there to protest Scott's hiring by Mayor Lee, or just the police department in general. Seven individuals were detained briefly on Monday and cited for trespassing and disturbing the peace, including local rapper and frequent mayoral heckler Equipto, whose real name is Illyich Sato. 48 Hills says that Sato was "roughed up" in the process, but did not require medical attention. Three protesters standing outside City Hall after Sato's arrest, including Sato's mother and Frisco Five leader Maria Christina Gutierrez, held signs saying "Jail Killer Cops" and "Mario is our son," referring to Mario Woods.
As KQED puts it, "The demonstrators were quickly removed from the highly choreographed swearing-in ceremony beneath the City Hall rotunda Monday, but their message to William Scott was nonetheless delivered: Welcome to San Francisco you have your work cut out for you."
Scott has pledged to be a "good listener," to be "transparent and accountable to you the community," and to "deal with community violence and understand the complexities of serving the mentally ill and homeless."
During his speech at Monday's swearing in he addressed the fact that he arrives to the department as an outsider. Speaking to officers in the rank and file, he said, "I accepted this position knowing that your respect and trust in me as your chief is not simply granted by the virtue of this appointment. It has to be earned, and I fully intend to earn your respect." But he then added, "In turn, what I expect of every member of this department, both sworn and not sworn, is to respect the sanctity of human life, to police this city in a constitutional manner... and to treat each other and the public with the utmost dignity and respect."
Scott has spent 27 years on the force in LA, helping see that department through "the turbulence of the '90s," as LAPD Chief Beck told ABC 7. And Suhr spoke to KQED saying, "This is a veteran police officer that handled a very tough area in Los Angeles, and yet he has this very quiet, calm, humble, genuine, gracious persona. Roll it all up, and that’s going to make for a great chief who does have a very hard job in the greatest city in the world."
We have not heard much from Suhr in eight months since his resignation, though two weeks ago he appeared in the news after taking a security consulting gig with the Golden State Warriors. The announcement drew some immediate community backlash, and within a day KRON 4 was reporting that Suhr and the team had mutually parted ways.
Below, an interview Scott did with ABC 7's Carolyn Tyler, and he says that coming from the outside "I felt I was a good fit [and] there's not many cities that I was willing to leave the comfort and satisfaction of Los Angeles to do this [and] this was it."