San Francisco continues to see mounting tension in the aftermath of a December 2 police shooting that has left one man dead. According to CNN, protestors surrounded San Francisco City Hall for five hours on Wednesday, December 9, shouting “No justice, no peace” in addition to calling for the resignation of Police Chief Greg Suhr, as well as for murder charges to be levied against the officers in question responsible for the death of 26-year-old Mario Woods.
“He did not drop [his] weapon,” said the San Francisco police chief in a statement. “The suspect had already shown by committing a felony aggravated assault that he was a danger to others, so he could not be allowed to move away from the scene.”
The San Francisco Police Department contends that officers initially confronted Woods because he was identified as a suspect in a stabbing attack earlier that day and that he refused to drop the kitchen knife in his hand when prompted.
The shooting of Mario Woods took place around 4:35 p.m.
Further inciting anger among protesters, however, is the existence of video footage of the police killing Woods in the Bayview section of San Francisco that CNN noted has been circulating on social media. This video depicts a man who, after ignoring demands to drop his knife and later being hit with bean bag rounds and sprayed with pepper spray, was seen walking toward an officer trying to block his escape path.
It is unknown exactly how many San Francisco police officers then opened fire.
“Black lives do matter,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, who called the video upsetting and noted that it raises questions regarding police protocol. “I commit we will take all necessary steps to prevent these kinds of incidents when at all possible. We owe all San Francisco communities of color, and the Woods family, a full and transparent investigation without delay.”
According to the San Francisco Examiner, Woods’ legal history includes a series of injunctions and, according to “court documents,” includes a criminal record dating back to 2007 for gang-related activity such as armed robbery, shooting incidents, weapons possession, and driving a stolen car.
His mother Gwendolyn Woods, however, believes that he was was turning his life around.
“The family is… lost for words. The mom simply can’t believe that her son was shot that many times and he did not pose a threat. He never pointed the knife in their direction,” Shawn Richard of the Brothers Against Guns organization, who is serving as a spokesperson for Gwendolyn Woods, told the San Francisco Examiner. “He was just trying to do the right thing.”
Richard also noted that, while Woods was “struggling with a lot of issues,” he had been out of prison for only about four months and was poised to begin a new job with UPS.
According to CNN, the San Francisco Police Department noted in a press release that officers performed CPR on Woods prior to the paramedics’ arrival.
The San Francisco shooting footage is one of several videos of alleged police brutality that have gone viral via social media in the past year.
[Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]