BLACK VOICES

Black Man Fatally Shot By Cops 21 Times Never Raised Knife, Lawyer Says

Mario Woods' family filed a lawsuit over his deadly encounter with police.

A stabbing suspect in San Francisco who died in a police encounter never raised his knife at officers before being fatally shot 21 times, a lawyer for his family says. 

The family of Mario Woods, who was killed in a Dec. 2 encounter with police, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday. 

Following reports of a stabbing in the city’s Bayview neighborhood that day, a group of officers confronted Woods, 26, who refused to drop the knife he was carrying.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said that Woods had stabbed a man in the left bicep prior to his confrontation with police, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

In a cell phone video released Friday by the Woods family attorney, John Burris, graphic footage of Woods’ last moments shows cops surrounding the knife-wielding man. 

 

In the video, officers use pepper spray and rubber bullets on Woods, but he does not drop his knife.

A crying woman in the video can be heard saying “just drop it!”  

Moments later, as Woods appears to stumble off to the side with his arms lowered, a barrage of gunfire erupts. Five officers fired a total of 21 bullets into Woods. On Friday, the San Francisco Police Department identified the officers as Scott Phillips, Antonio Santos, Winson Sets, Nicholas Cuevas and Charles August.

The latest video is one of three captured on cell phones at the time of the shooting. At a public forum on Dec. 4, Suhr said Woods raised his arm in a “threatening manner” before the five cops opened fire. But Burris, along with news outlet KQED, determined Woods’ arm moved because he had already been shot and was falling backwards.

"You do not see him lunge at the officers, run at the officers with anything in his hand," Burris said at a press conference on Friday.

Woods' mother, Gwen, said at Friday's press conference that her son was "the best of me," according to SFGate. She was surrounded by her two surviving sons.

The five officers have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation into their actions continues.

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