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article imageSan Francisco police chief refuses to resign over shooting

By Nathan Salant     Dec 5, 2015 in World
San Francisco - San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said Friday he would not resign at the request of Bayview residents angry over a video showing officers shooting a young man who did not appear dangerous.
In fact, 26-year-old Mario Woods was surrounded by as many as 10 cops with guns drawn Wednesday when he was shot numerous times on a residential street in the city's Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood.
The video, shot by a passenger on a city bus, shows Woods walking away from police on a sidewalk on Keith Street when they open fire with a hail of bullets that killed him.
Woods died at the scene at around 4:30 p.m., according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
The shooting has sparked controversy in San Francisco, a city that prides itself on tolerance, as the video has gone viral and been widely broadcast on social media.
A community meeting convened by Chief Greg Suhr nearly ended in acrimony Friday after he told the packed auditorium that his officers killed Woods "in defense" of themselves and bystanders at the scene, the newspaper said.
Suhr had promised at the time of his appointment in 2011 to hold community meetings in response to all officer-involved shootings.
Suhr told the meeting room that San Francisco police were compelled to shoot Woods after nonlethal weapons, beanbag rounds and pepper spray, failed to subdue the victim.
But dozens of community members in the packed meeting room at City College of San Francisco's southeast facility accused officials of not telling the truth about the slaying.
"You think we're actually stupid," said Asale-Haqueenyah Chandler, a neighborhood resident whose son, Yalani Chinyamurindi was killed earlier this year in the Hayes Valley neighborhood near City Hall.
“If it were your father, or your brother, or your son that had a knife, would you shoot him down like a pig?” asked a woman identified only as Sandie T.
But Suhr said Woods was a suspect in an earlier stabbing and had been acting erratically about an hour before the shooting.
But the chief's account did not sit well with Adriana Camarena of the Justice for Alex Nieto Committee, a group formed after a fatal police shooting last year, who demanded Suhr's resignation.
“You get up here and you tell the same version of events, you tell a narrative that someone poses," Camarena said.
"It’s the narrative you have to defend in court, but it’s a lie," she said, "so are you here to resign?”
Suhr said he did not plan to resign because he thought he could do "a lot of good."
“I took this job and I knew it was a tough job,” he said.
Suhr said he had contacted the Police Executive Research Forum to inquire about joining a group of police departments studying confrontation de-escalation techniques used by police in the United Kingdom, the newspaper said.
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