Demanding Justice for Mario Woods

On Wednesday, December 2, a young Black man named Mario Woods was shot multiple times and killed by five San Francisco police officers who opened fire as he walked away. The horrific incident was caught on camera and posted online by a bystander. The following is a statement from the staff of the Ella Baker Center regarding this tragedy:

The Ella Baker Center sends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mario Woods who are grieving as they bear witness to his killing. We also condemn the actions of the San Francisco Police Department officers who fired multiple shots as Mario walked away from them and witnesses cried out in horror.

The police department alleges that Mario lunged at officers with a knife, however video footage indicates that Woods' actions did not justify the use of lethal force. We have witnessed time and time again that white suspects can be taken into custody alive, such as the case with Robert Dear who shot and killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, or Dylann Roof who killed nine people in a church in South Carolina.

We wonder why the same efforts were not made to preserve the lives of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, John Crawford, Yuvette Henderson, Richard Perkins, and now Mario Woods. At this time, it is imperative to reiterate that #BlackLivesMatter and that we will not have justice until all police officers everywhere act as if they believe they do.

Yesterday's shooting marks the San Francisco Police Department's sixth fatal shooting this year. In 2015, there have been 896 people killed by police in the U.S., more than 40% of whom come from Black or Brown communities. 

As details of this killing emerge, the Ella Baker Center stands in solidarity with Mario’s family, with the impacted community, and with all who seek accountability and justice in the wake of this tragedy.