Community Members Express Frustration During Meeting for Police Shooting

Angry residents called for Police Chief Greg Suhr’s resignation Friday evening at a packed community meeting in San Francisco’s Bayview District to discuss the fatal shooting of a San Francisco man by police earlier this week.

Hundreds of people filled a room at the Southeast Community Center at 1800 Oakdale Ave. for the town hall meeting on the death of 26-year-old Mario Woods.

Woods was shot Wednesday shortly after 4:30 p.m. in the area of Third and Keith streets by officers attempting to detain him in connection with an earlier stabbing. Several videos of the shooting have circulated on social media, fueling outrage in the community.

As Police Chief Greg Suhr described the events that lead up to the fatal shooting, he was repeatedly interrupted by a visibly upset crowd, some of whom yelled things such as “lies,” and “murderer.”

Some community members pleaded with others to “have respect for the family,” asking them to hold off on their comments until Suhr was finished.

“A lot of this is about how many rounds and couldn’t you have done something different,” said Suhr, who noted that the investigation was ongoing and urged attendees to wait for the results.

Police have said officers had been looking for a man who matched Woods’ description after a stabbing victim showed up at San Francisco General Hospital, according to police.

The victim said he had been stabbed in the 6600 block of Third Street, providing officers with a description of the suspect, police said.

When police spotted Woods in the area, he was allegedly armed with a knife, police said.

Several officers responded and gave orders for Woods to drop the knife. When Woods failed to comply, officers fired a less-lethal firearm, also known as a beanbag gun, to try and subdue him, according to police.

When the weapon had no apparent effect on Woods, officers used pepper spray, which also failed to subdue him, police said.

Officers next used a higher-powered beanbag weapon, which caused Woods to drop to one knee. Woods, however, did not drop the knife, according to police.

Woods then stood back up and attempted to walk away. An officer positioned himself on the sidewalk, in attempt to stop Woods from fleeing, police said.

As Woods moved toward the officer, the officers began shooting at Woods. Woods was struck by gunfire and fell to the ground, according to police.

Officers rendered aid to Woods and attempted CPR, police said. Paramedics arrived at the scene and pronounced him dead.

Dozens of people lined up for a chance to speak, with many calling for Suhr’s resignation. Speakers asked for the release of the names of the officers involved and called for them to face murder charges.

One woman spoke directly to Suhr, asking him “what would you advise a young man in the same situation?”

“Drop the knife,” Suhr replied, to which many in the room responded with yells of disbelief and anger.

Activist and Black Panther member Elaine Brown attended the meeting and urged community members to organize.

“We have got to seize control of our own destiny. Do not keep begging these pigs for your own future. You’re going to have to seize the future,” Brown said.

The officer-involved shooting is being investigated by the homicide division, the department’s internal affairs division, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the medical examiner’s office and the city’s Office of Citizen’s Complaints.

The medical examiner’s office said an autopsy is being conducted to document the official cause of Wood’s death.

Daniel Montes, Bay City News

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