Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Family of knife-wielding man who shot by FIVE San Francisco cops release new video of his death as they launch lawsuit

A second graphic video showing the shocking moment a San Francisco man was shot dead by 10 police officers in the street has been released.

Mario Woods, 26, was killed last week after he was reportedly hit 20 times by the five cops, who claim he refused commands to drop an 8-inch knife he was carrying.

The new video, recorded on a cell phone, shows Woods surrounded by cops, backed up against a garage.

A second graphic video showing the shocking moment Mario Woods, 26, was shot dead by five San Francisco police officers in the street has been released

He appears to kneel down briefly, and then walks a couple of steps forward before a barrage of gun shots are fired and his body is suddenly on the ground.

'What did he do, he's literally standing there,' someone can be heard asking behind the camera. 'The kid is standing and you shot him, what did he he do?'

The camera then turns to show at least four police cars surrounding the area with their sirens on and lights flashing.

Police were responding to a stabbing report in the city's Bayview neighborhood when they encountered and surrounded Woods.

The video is the second to be released that shows Wood's death.

In the first video, a woman standing in front of the person recording can be heard shouting 'Just drop it! Just drop it, please!'

Woods is seen walking away as one officer steps in front of him, and then begins to walk backward as the officer points his gun at him.

The camera then cuts away as gunfire erupts and the screams of people can be heard in the background.

Woods' family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Friday, saying officers needlessly opened fire.

The shooting has also angered community activists, who have called for San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr's resignation and for the officers who fired their guns to be charged criminally.

Suhr said the department is investigating the shooting along with the district attorney and the city's Office of Citizens Complaints.

The chief also said the department is reviewing its 'use-of-force' policies and procedures and called on the police commission to arm the department with stun guns.

Police departments in San Francisco and Detroit are the only cities with more than 500,000 residents to not arm officers with stun guns.

The five officers who fired their guns have been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigations.

The department released the officers' names Friday night. They are: Winson Seto, Antonio Santos, Charles August, Nicholas Cuevas and Scott Phillips. No further details on them were released.

Martin Halloran, president of the police union, said the officers acted appropriately and fired their weapons after pepper spray and the shooting of bean bags full of lead pellets failed to stop Woods.

'With innocent bystanders nearby and the erratic behavior of the subject, the threat to life was imminent,' Halloran said. 'With no other options available, the officers were forced to discharge their firearms.'

Suhr said at a news conference on Wednesday that police opened fire when it appeared Woods was raising the knife and approaching one of the officers.

Lawyer John Burris, who is representing Woods' family, disputed that account Friday and said Woods never raised his hands.

'This was all the indications of a murder,' he said, according to ABC News. 'You do not see him lunge at the officers, run at the officers with anything in his hand.'  

Burris said Suhr also came to his conclusions regarding the shooting too quickly.

'I'm sort of insulted by the chief's comments, that he would make a comment to justify and support the police officers' conduct so quickly,' he said.  

Woods' mother and two brothers attended the news conference and sobbed while the first publicly released video played on a large television screen.

Burris also displayed four photos taken of Woods at the morgue and said his body had 20 gunshot wounds, including one to the back of the head.

Woods' mother briefly spoke Friday, saying her son 'was the best of me' while crying uncontrollably.

'He was the best of me and redeemed himself,' Gwendolyn Woods said of her son, who had just been released from prison for robbery.

'He did. He redeemed himself. He was the best of me.'

Original report here

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