SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr requested adding Tasers to the SFPD arsenal, a weapon that shocks and briefly incapacitates suspects with a strong electrical jolt. Suhr is standing behind the reasoning that stun guns could have potentially prevented officers from shooting a suspect last week.
Mario Woods, 26, was killed in the Bayview neighborhood on Thursday, December 3 by police officers. The shooting was captured on two videos, which went viral online. The videos show five police officers shooting at Woods as he holds onto his side. In the video, spectators can be heard commenting as they witness the shooting. Several gunshots are heard after the camera drops.
In a police statement released by Suhr, he stated that Woods was carrying a knife in his right hand and extended his arm toward one officer, which prompted the officer and four other officers to open fire. “We were able to enhance one second of the tweeted video… which shows the officer engaging with Mr. Woods and Mr. Woods’ arm with the knife outstretched. The officer fearing for his safety… Fired in defense of himself and the other four officers in defense of that officer.”
The documentation of the incident has created a divide between the African-American population in the Bayview neighborhood against the SFPD. Several residents and community activists have called for Suhr’s resignation in several demonstrations near the site of the shooting.
Suhr has said that he is requesting the San Francisco Police Commission to arm their officers with Tasers. In prior incidents, police officers have reached for their Tasers to disarm suspects, but instead pulled their gun. This has prompted a concern for the police commission to institute Tasers in police arsenal.
A meeting will be held on Monday, December 14, to discuss the proposal to expand SFPD’s arsenal.