The Golden State Warriors have hired former San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr as a security adviser for the team, according to a Wednesday report by NBC Bay Area.
Suhr resigned from the San Francisco Police Department last May at the request of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee after police in his district fatally shot an unarmed black woman. But San Francisco residents had been clamoring for him to step down for over a year prior.
Under Suhr’s purview, the SFPD was mired in accusations of racial profiling and police brutality.
The death of Mario Woods was among the most high-profile scandals under Suhr’s watch. Video of police shooting Woods over a dozen times as he walked away from five officers went viral last year, and Beyonce held up a sign that read “Justice for Mario Woods” during her Super Bowl performance. But Woods was far from alone; the fatal police shootings of Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, and Kenneth Harding also caused outrage in the community.
Additionally, there was a scandal involving the exchange of racist and homophobic text messages sent between five officers, in which they talked about racial profiling and killing black people using very explicit language.
Nonetheless, the Golden State Warriors management said that Suhr is eminently qualified to provide security support.
“Chief Suhr is an expert on public safety, security issues, event planning and operations, VIP protection, risk assessment and other matters related to the safe and secure operation of a major public venue,” the team said in a statement to NBC Bay Area.
Many members of the Warriors have been outspoken against racial profiling and police brutality in the past. Team member Andre Iguadala told USA Today last October that police were held to different standards, and that even though he was an NBA star, he still experienced racism. Last year, during the playoffs, Ayesha Curry — wife of two-time MVP Steph Curry — said police working security at Quicken Loans Arena in Ohio during a Warriors game against the Cleveland Cavaliers had racially profiled her father and attempted to arrest him.
UPDATE: On Thursday evening, just hours after his hiring was announced publicly, the Warriors released a statement saying that the organization and Suhr “mutually agreed” to part ways, according to San Francisco Chronical reporter Kimberly Veklerov.
“The last thing I want to do is cause a distraction for the Warriors during this incredibly positive time for the team and organization,” Suhr said in a statement. “I think this is in the best interest of everyone.”
While the Warriors and Suhr did not elaborate on the reason for their sudden change of heart, there was a lot of outrage by activists and fans over the hire on social media Thursday afternoon.