Update, 9:50 a.m. Thursday: The man who died in Wednesday’s officer-involved shooting has been identified as Mario Woods, 26, of San Francisco. In a statement confirming his identity, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Woods’ next of kin have been notified and an autopsy examination is being conducted.


Original post: San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr says video showing the moments leading up to a fatal police shooting in the Bayview neighborhood early Wednesday evening confirms officers faced a deadly threat before opening fire on a man they say was carrying a knife.

But Suhr’s interpretation of the video — posted on Instagram Wednesday night and embedded above — was disputed by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who said the man officers shot did not appear to pose an immediate threat to officers.

“Based on that snippet of video, it does seem as if the person was not posing a direct threat and certainly did not have to be shot,” Adachi said. “I certainly would want to know more about why this individual supposedly posed a risk that the officer felt that he or others were in harm of being killed.”

Suhr said after a meeting of the city’s Police Commission that the man officers shot was a suspect in a stabbing and was carrying a kitchen knife with a 6- to 8-inch blade.

Suhr said officers who confronted the man on Keith Street, near Third Street and Fitzgerald Avenue, opened fire after failing to subdue the man with “less lethal” beanbag rounds.

The video shows a man walking along a sidewalk and gesturing to a group of seven or eight police officers who have weapons drawn.

It’s not clear whether the man has an object in his hands. One officer moves to block the suspect’s progress as he moves along a wall bordering the sidewalk.

A woman’s voice can be heard screaming, “Just drop it! Just drop it, please!”

Then gunfire erupts — a rapid-fire sequence that could have been more than a dozen shots — followed by screams of, “Oh, my God.” Neither the shooting nor its results are shown in the video.

Suhr said that “in some of the video I saw,” the man involved in the incident “appears to go at the officer” who had tried to block him.

“Officers are allowed to fire in defense of themselves or others in danger of serious injury or death,” Suhr said after the commission meeting. “That’s what we have at this point in time.”

He said five officers fired on the man.

Adachi said his first reaction upon seeing the video was, “Oh, no, not another one.” The incident marked the Police Department’s sixth fatal shooting of the year.

The public defender said the incident highlighted the need for more restraint among officers who wield the means to kill.

“What I think San Franciscans want to see, particularly when you’re talking about the use of deadly force, is that it’s a last resort,” Adachi said. “I understand that officers are trained to kill, but if we are going to expect ordinary citizens to only shoot and kill people where they believe they are in danger of being killed themselves, we should hold police officers to a similar standard. Based on what we see in this video, it does not look like the officer who fired the fatal shots was in immediate danger of being killed.”

S.F. Police Chief, Public Defender Clash Over Latest Fatal Cop Shooting 15 September,2016Dan Brekke

  • DrG

    The problem with the video is that the camera goes off the subject the split second before the shots ring out. Did the man under suspicion suddenly raise his arm with the knife, or lunge at the office? We do not know from the recording.

    • Adrian

      So many cops, one hunched-over man. His death was unnecessary, and due only to a shoot-first gun culture run amok.

      More discussion on this sad travesty (and the video) here: http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201512041000

  • Travis Pittman

    I’m sure most San Franciscans are glad this guy is off the streets for good. They pay the police to protect them from scum like this guy.

    • Adrian

      I’m sure you’re a trigger-happy, unthinking, heartless jerk. And, though you may have money, I’m sure you have scum in your heart.

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area’s transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED’s comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

Twitter: twitter.com/danbrekke
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LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/danbrekke

Author

Alex Emslie

Alex Emslie is a criminal justice reporter at KQED. He covers policing policy, crime and the courts.

He left Colorado and a career as a carpenter in 2008 to study journalism at City College of San Francisco. He then graduated from San Francisco State University’s journalism program with a minor in criminal justice studies. Prior to joining KQED in 2013, Alex freelanced for various news outlets including the Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner and Bay Guardian.

Alex is proud of his work at KQED on a spike in fatal officer-involved shootings in Vallejo, which uncovered that a single officer shot and killed three suspects over the course of five months. Alex’s work with a team at KQED on police encounters with people in psychiatric crisis was cited in amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court. He received the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists Best Scoop award in 2015 for exposing a series of bigoted text messages swapped by San Francisco police officers. He was honored with 2010 San Francisco Peninsula Press Club and California Newspaper Publishers Association awards for breaking news reporting on the trial following the shooting of Oscar Grant. Email: aemslie@kqed.org. Twitter: @SFNewsReporter.

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