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Family Insists on Federal Probe of Police Shooting

Posted by Seth Chazin | Feb 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

Mario Woods was said to have raised a knife and approached an officer before being killed by five San Francisco Police Officers. Fortunately, the incident was captured on video and the family is now demanding a federal civil rights investigation. The family alleges that the San Francisco police have engaged in a pattern of excessive force and illegal stops and detention of Latinos and African-Americans. These unjustified acts warrant a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice , who has agreed to investigate.

The family has also requested that the Department of Justice investigate the five officers who shot Woods and consider filing criminal charges after they acted like a “firing squad.” “This is a golden opportunity for everyone to take a look at the San Francisco Police Department,” declared the attorney for the family.

Before Mario Woods was shot and killed, police were responding to a stabbing report in the city's Bayview neighborhood. When they saw Mario, who was only 26, five officers shot and killed him.

Woods' family has disputed the events and filed a lawsuit against the Department. The family's attorney said that Woods was not “aggressively fighting” the officers, who should have backed away.

After video clips of the incident circulated online, the actions of the police have sparked protests and calls for the firing of the officers and the resignation of Police Chief Greg Suhr.

Suhr reported that the department is investigating the shooting and the procedures used. He has called upon the police commission to provide the department with stun guns. The family's attorney believes that an independent, outside group should investigate the Department's polices, not Suhr, who has backed all police shootings. There has been a lot of skepticism with the procedures and tactics that the San Francisco Police Department uses; just recently the SF Police Commission voted on the use of body cameras but this has not been implemented yet because they still have to create guidelines around the use of these cameras.

This shooting is just another example of the many unfettered racist police incidents that have plagued San Francisco, the Bay Area, and the US as a whole for many years.

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson