An apology. A day of remembrance. And hopefully a Department of Justice Investigation into the San Francisco Police Department's use-of-force, training, and tactics.
That's all the Board of Supervisors were able to offer Gwen Woods, mother of the late Mario Woods, at a meeting yesterday.
On December 2nd, five officers shot and killed her son, a 26-year-old black San Franciscan. They maintain he met the description of the suspect in a stabbing, held a knife, and posed a threat — allegations many claim are refuted by viral bystander video of the shooting.
Regardless, Woods' death has haunted City Hall and the SFPD, with Mayor Lee's inauguration drowned out by protest and Police Chief Suhr's removal demanded.
Mario Woods' killing “raised serious questions about the actions of the officers involved, as well as SFPD’s training and use of force protocols and its treatment of African Americans,” the resolution introduced by Supervisor London Breed says according to the Examiner.
Although Suhr has himself requested a Department of Justice review already, Breed and other board members are redoubling the effort to gain insight into Woods' death with an independent investigation.
“These items are so important to me because I know the pain of folks here today, I have felt it myself,” Mission Local quotes Breed. “I have mourned the loss of far too many young African Americans in my life and since Dec. 2, I have mourned another.”
An emotional Gwen Woods also spoke before the board. “We were born and raised here,” she said of her family, arguing that a past San Francisco was a more diverse, welcoming place. “Every time I wake up in the middle of the night, I see my son in this stance being shot down like an animal,” said Woods, who learned of her son's death via Facebook. Without a radical shift, says Woods, “Somebody’s baby is going to die the same way.”
Other supervisors also expressed their condolences. “There is nothing that will bring your son back,” Supervisor Jane Kim said according to the Chronicle, reportedly crying and directly speaking to Gwen Woods. “But I just want you to know my heart is with you, along with many members of this board.”
Currently, three local investigations into the killing are ongoing: One conducted by the Police Department, a second by the District Attorney’s Office, and a third by the Office of Citizens Complaints. Christine Falvey, a spokesperson for Mayor Lee, wrote that “There are numerous ongoing investigations and the mayor welcomes independent review.” However, Breed's resolution, which may be voted on as early as the 26th, may not prompt the DOJ investigation it seeks.
For his part, Supervisor David Campos has also moved to designate a day of remembrance for Mario Woods. That would be on July 22nd, according to a release. “We do not have at this point the Police Department that the city and county of San Francisco deserves to have,” Campos said.
Amos Brown, the former SF Supervisor who is currently minister at the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, also spoke. “We must stop living this lie that we are a liberal town,” Brown said according to the Examiner. “I once stood in this room and said, ‘Ferguson is here.’ Geographically, we are on the [Bay]. But in terms of the police — not all of them, but too many — we are Ferguson."