SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco “Justice for Mario Woods Coalition” gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall on Thursday, December 24 to demand that Mayor Edward Lee fire San Francisco Police Department Police Chief Greg Suhr.
The organization has remarked that Suhr kept the public waiting too long before commenting on Woods’ death. The coalition held a rally of approximately 200 people in front of City Hall demanding justice for the death of Woods, and that the five officers who participated in the shooting be charged with murder. The coalition believes Suhr defended the five officers and is spinning Woods’ death into a justifiable homicide by misguiding the public about the cell phone footage captured of the incident.
In Suhr’s initial statement, he indicated that Woods had raised his arm and was about to strike an officer with a kitchen knife he had in his possession. When civil rights attorney John Burris reviewed the footage, he revealed in a press release that Woods did not reach his arm out, and that Suhr’s statement was false.
The coalition was joined by San Francisco trade unionists who are advocating equality for African-Americans being displaced and driven out of San Francisco by gentrification and unequal job opportunities. Eight female protestors also marched onto the Highway 101 offramp blocking traffic by the San Francisco International Airport and were arrested on Wednesday, December 23. The women briefly demonstrated on the freeway for less than 30 minutes before they were booked on charges of obstructing a freeway, creating a public nuisance and unlawful assembly.
Woods was shot nearly 20 times by officers from the SFPD on December 2 in San Francisco’s Bayview District. A local spectator captured the incident with a cellphone, which was used as evidence against SFPD officers involved in Woods’ death. Burris is currently filing a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit against the SFPD.