A meeting of the police commission Wednesday night to discuss the SFPD's policies around the use of force and the December 2 shooting of Mario Woods became an ersatz rally about police violence, with at least 200 protesters packing into City Hall and getting up for the public comment portion, as ABC 7 and KRON 4 report. The meeting, which began at 5:30 p.m., went well past 10 p.m., with a forced recess at 7:45 p.m. after one woman refused to cede the microphone after her allotted comment period had ended. Most protesters, many with signs saying "Fire Chief Suhr," were there to vent anger at Police Chief Greg Suhr and to reject his justification of Woods' death.
The Chronicle has a number of quotes from speakers, including from Archbishop Franzo King who said, "If the chief continues to defend the right to kill and slaughter people on the street under his command, then he becomes a co-conspirator to murder."
Suhr once again pushed for equipping officers with Tasers, something he said last week could have meant the difference between life and death for Woods ignoring of course that officers likely could have disabled Woods without fatally shooting him, but we'll leave that to the courts.
As ACLU attorney Micaela Davis tells the Chron, "There were other tactical decisions that could have been done to prevent that shooting. Tools [like Tasers] are only a piece of it, and there is a whole host of training that the department needs to undergo in order to make the department more accountable to the community it polices."
The pitch of the protest last night echoed that of last week's town hall meeting in which Suhr also sought to defend his officers and explain what happened to the community.
As the Examiner reports, another detail in Woods' death emerged during last night's meeting via an attorney for the Woods family: Woods had a total of 21 wounds to his body following being fired on by at least five officers simultaneously.
The Examiner editorial board also printed an editorial today calling for an end to the SFPD's "comply or die" policy, saying that the videos capturing Woods' death "are a terrifying indictment of how SFPD’s policy of escalation leads to horrific consequences."
Still, many argue against the use of Tasers because they have been known to inflict death in certain cases, and one of those arguing against is Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who asks, "Are we willing to take that risk?"
The Commission is now set to come up with a new draft of the SFPD's use-of-force policy, which will include recommendations around Tasers, on February 3.