A suspected stabber was shot and killed by San Francisco police late Wednesday afternoon. The whole thing was caught on video by someone on a Muni bus, which was later on posted on Instagram. Many now debate whether the man deserves to be killed.
SF Weekly reports that San Francisco police shot dead Mario Woods, 26, who approached an officer while holding a knife. Earlier, the police went to the neighborhood because of a report that a man was stabbed in the shoulder. Officers said that the suspect was found near the 2900 block of Keith Street, holding a knife of at least 6 inches. However, instead of controlling the situation successfully, the incident ended with the man dead.
The shooting took place after officers tried to subdue the man with nonlethal beanbags to no avail. According to Police Chief Greg Suhr, the video serves as evidence that the suspect had a knife in his hand and did move toward the officers.
In the short video, the man can be seen up against a building and gesturing at armed officers. Even though it is unclear what the man wanted or was saying, a bystander can be heard shouting for the man to drop his weapon. The man, his hands at his sides, can be seen walking away from the group of officers but toward one officer. The officer stepped in the suspect's path, walking backwards holding his gun drawn.
Just seconds later, the camera pans away from the scene but continuous shots can be heard. The camera was not able to capture what the man did before the shots were fired.
Officers have called paramedics to revive the man, but he died on the spot. Suhr claimed that it is still unknown how many shots were fired.
The incident caused debate on whether Woods deserves to be killed and whether officers have been in imminent danger so as to fire at the suspect.
Chief Suhr defended law enforcement's actions. According to him, he "had already demonstrated, by committing a felony aggravated assault, that he was a danger to others, so he could not be allowed to move away from the scene."
However, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, said the same video showed that the person did not act in a way that posed a direct threat to the officers. Adachi claimed that the man did not deserve to be shot.
"There could have been other ways to subdue him," said Chris Richard, a community activist organizing public meetings with police to discuss the shooting added.
People who know Woods also asserted to Chronicle that even though he was a gang member, he was not someone who could hurt a fly. He was often observed just smoking cigarettes and drinking around the neighborhood. Black Lives Matter Bay Area have called for a vigil and protest, as shown in an event listing posted on Facebook.