Watch CBS News

Mayor Lee Calls Bayview Shooting 'Very Upsetting' After Viewing Video

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Monday that following a fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man in the city's Bayview District last week he is working with the Police Department and police commission to prioritize deescalation and minimize use of force.

Lee said Monday that he watched footage of San Francisco resident Mario Woods' death and "found it very upsetting, as many did, and it raised a number of questions."

Members of the Police Department and the public, Lee said, deserve more alternatives to deescalating conflict without lethal force.

Lee said that since Woods' death, San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr is now "equipping officers with protective shields, instituting significant changes to instruction for when and how officers use their firearms, and increasing mandatory, recurring training on de-escalation skills."

Immediately after the fatal shooting of Woods, the Police Department opted in to the national program, Re-Engineering Training on Police Use of Force.

"Our Police Department will have at least as much training in de-escalation as we do in use of force," Lee said today.

He said he has directed the police commission to do a thorough review of all existing policies regarding use of force and to make it clear that the department's policy is that using lethal force is the last resort, even if it requires "fundamentally revising the Department's policy through General Orders," and adopting new training or equipment.

He said this discussion will begin at this week's police commission meeting.

Suhr said the names of five officers who have been placed on administrative leave after fatally shooting Woods on Wednesday will be released this week and that each officer will have "to justify every round they fired" as the investigations into the shooting moves forward.

Woods was fatally shot by police shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, in the area of Third and Keith streets.

The officers apparently attempting to detain Woods in connection with an earlier stabbing opened fire on him as he allegedly brandished a knife, fatally wounding him and drawing outrage from the community.

Several videos of the shooting are circulating on social media, fueling outrage in the community and have led to hundreds of people voicing their concerns at a vigil and a town hall meeting last week.

The police commission is now reconsidering arming officers with stun guns and other ways to help officers deescalate such situations in the future.

Suhr said today that while the commission is considering arming officers with stun guns, the Police Department has issued 60 protective shields, with six shields going to each of the city's 10 districts, to be used in deescalation efforts.

Suzy Loftus, president of the San Francisco Police Commission, said that while she has had lingering concerns on the use of Tasers by officers, she thinks it could help with deescalation efforts.

Loftus said it's important to ensure that the Police Department is giving officers the tools they need to deescalate situations, especially when mental illness is a factor.

Joseph Marshall, a member of the police commission, said today that the community has been voicing its anger over what happened to Woods and said the outrage is justified.

Johnson said the main concerns expressed by the community include why police were using lethal weapons on a person armed with a knife and why all five officers opened fire on Woods.

"To them it looked like an execution," Johnson said.

He said that when he saw video footage of what had happened to Woods, it didn't make sense to him either.

"When you have these policies, you've got to use them in all situations and you don't know every situation they're going to be used. It's sort of a one size fits all. And this is one of the situations where, obviously, it didn't fit and that's why it's being addressed," Johnson said.

He said Woods' death has caused the commission to rethink its policies on use of force within the Police Department.

Suhr could not say how many rounds were fired by officers or how many bullets struck Woods, but said all five officers who opened fire remain on administrative leave.

The officer-involved shooting is being investigated by the department's homicide division and internal affairs division, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, the medical examiner's office and the city's Office of Citizen's Complaints.

The medical examiner's office said an autopsy is being conducted to document the official cause of Wood's death.

In 2009, when Woods was 19, a San Francisco Superior Court judge added him and five other men to one of the city's civil gang injunctions targeting a Hunters Point criminal street gang known as the Oakdale Mob.

At a vigil on Thursday, Gwen, Woods' mother was accompanied by family members and said her son "wasn't that monster that you're going to hear on the news."

She urged the San Francisco Police Department to get trained on how to handle people in distress and accused police of "executing" her son.

Woods' mother said her son had received his driver's license, a high school diploma, and was about to start a job at UPS.

© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.