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Community demands justice for Mario Woods
Photo Joel Angel Juárez
Photo Joel Angel Juárez

On Jan. 26, the San Francisco Board of Supervisor unanimously declared that July 22 would be Mario Woods Remembrance Day. Woods’ mother Gwen, was there to applaud the decision, one that came nearly two months after her son was killed.

Woods, a young black man, was shot and killed on Dec. 2 by five San Francisco police officers at close range in San Francisco’s predominantly black Bayview District.

Video footage of the shooting recorded by civilians shows Woods appearing passive, moving very slowly, backed against the wall.

Police Chief Greg Suhr defended the shooting and killing.

Mayor Ed Lee initially issued a timid statement regarding the tragic event.

Analysis of the videotape by KQED, a National Public Radio (NPR) station in San Francisco, concluded that the police chief’s version and defense of the shooting was questionable.

The black community and others are outraged at the killing, calling it an “execution,” “the killing of a Black man by a ‘firing squad.'”

People are demanding that the culture of shooting and killing of black men at the hands of law enforcement must stop.

Many people in San Francisco’s predominantly Latino Mission District are also reminded of the tragic case of Amilcar Perez-Lopez, a young Guatemalan immigrant, who was shot in the back and killed by police in the Mission in February 2015.

Mayor Lee and Chief Suhr recently said that they are looking for ways to improve how the San Francisco Police Department works in the community.

But many are skeptical.

On Jan. 18, at a program in San Francisco to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, and to honor his Legacy, when Mayor Lee was slated to give a speech, protesters shouted loudly and booed him from the stage. Some said that it was a mockery of Dr. King’s legacy for Lee to give a speech on Dr. King’s Birthday, and found Lee to be a symbol of the pervasive hypocrisy and racism in how the City and County of San Francisco regards and treats its black people.

Many are demanding that the shooting and killing of Mario Woods be fully investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney General. The Mayor has since asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for a federal Department of Justice investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Make your voice heard.

You can write and contact President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Assistant U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta:

 

Honorable Barack H. Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C, 20500

Telephone: (202) 353-1555; (202) 514-2000

 

Honorable Loretta Lynch

U.S. Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

Criminal Section, PHB

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C., 20503

Telephone: (202) 456-1111; (202) 456-1414

 

Honorable Vanita Gupta

Assistant U.S. Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

Civil Rights Division

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C., 20503

Telephone: (202) 456-1111

Story by: Anh Lê