Day 5: Hunger strikers demand Antioch officer's firing over previous use of lethal force
ANTIOCH, Calif. - Six young demonstrators with the #6Forced2Strike movement entered their fifth day of a hunger strike at Antioch police headquarters on Tuesday. They are calling for an officer, who shot and killed a homeless man when he worked for San Francisco police in 2016, to be fired.
Officer Michael Mellone was cleared at the time by the city's district attorney who justified the officer's use of force. Police said the homeless man lunged at Mellone with a knife.
"We are staying strong and we are going to continue this effort in making sure our police department is held accountable for their efforts in hiring killer cops that have so many backgrounds in police brutality," said hunger striker Shagoofa Khan.
Police Chief Tammany Brooks told the East Bay Times he had no plans to fire Officer Mellone or any other officer based solely on someone's demand.
Mellone had worked for Antioch P.D. six years prior to his employment with SFPD. After he shot and killed Luis Gongora Pat, who was homeless, and was cleared by the D.A., Antioch P.D. rehired him in 2019.
KTVU covered previous protests of Mellone's employment with Antioch P.D. in June, just after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Protesters also want representation on an upcoming city forum on racial injustice.
In a Twitter post earlier this week, Khan said the hunger strikers were being threatened by a group who did not want them out protesting the officer's employment. She labeled it a scare tactic, but noted the strikers had plenty of support.
One of the #6ForcedtoStrike -- Michael James supported the Frisco Five hunger strike movement in San Francisco in 2016. That, along with a string of fatal SFPD shootings that year, effectively led to police Chief Greg Suhr's resignation.
The hunger strikers have posted a list of demands on a Gofundme site where they ask for support for expenses:
The 6 forced to strike demand the following:
1. The immediate termination of Officer Michael Mellone from Antioch Police Department for his known record of illegally using lethal force in the killing of Luis Góngora Pat in San Francisco, and new surfacing allegations of abuse of force in Antioch;
2. The immediate resignation of Steve Aiello as President of Antioch Police Officers’ Association for promoting violence against peaceful protesters;
3. The integration of community representatives as equal participants (unaffiliated with the City of Antioch & its government) to the “Bridging the Gap” forum during which a third-party facilitator will be assisting a discussion on racial injustice and police community relationships. We demand also that the next forum meeting happen within the following 30 days and be publicly announced through the appropriate outlets to maximize attendance.