Following last Friday’s tense community meeting regarding the San Francisco Police Department's shooting death of 26-year-old Mario Woods — a meeting in which many called for the resignation of SFPD Chief Greg Suhr — a different kind of community meeting is scheduled for tonight at Third Baptist Church.
The San Francisco chapter of the NAACP, whose president is Third Baptist pastor Amos Brown, will gather tonight to urge the community to remain calm.
[jump] “We cannot and will not allow ourselves to react to this abhorrent event with more violence,” Brown said in a statement.
Nonetheless, he acknowledged that the footage of Woods’ death, captured on bystanders’ cell phones, was “all too familiar and painful.”
On Dec. 2, Woods was accused of stabbing another man in the shoulder near Third Street and Le Conte. Police subsequently cornered Woods near the intersection of Keith and Fitzgerald streets in the Bayview. After he reportedly refused to drop the knife he was holding, police attempted to subdue him with beanbag pellets and pepper spray. Woods allegedly began walking towards a nearby bus, at which point officers opened fire and killed him.
The incident immediately sparked outrage, with the ACLU’s Northern California chapter declaring that the video of the shooting “does not appear to show the imminent danger or substantial risk of death or serious injury that would permit the use of a firearm under SFPD policy.”
Public Defender Jeff Adachi told KQED, “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.”
At a community meeting last week, Chief Suhr defended his officers’ actions, despite public outcry deeming the killing a “murder,” “an execution,” and “target practice.”
Pastor Brown (who was not immediately available for comment), will lead the NAACP tonight in advising the city to remain peaceful — the kind of entreaty that has become all too familiar in post-Ferguson America where the shooting deaths of young black men have prompted outrage, protest, and occasional violence in cities across the country.
Tonight's meeting will take place at Third Baptist Church on 1399 McAllister Street at 6 p.m.