Crowd asks San Francisco police chief to resign over death

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Some San Francisco residents are asking for the police chief to resign over the shooting death of a man by police partially captured on video that was widely circulated on social media.

A community meeting on Friday night erupted into outrage after San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said the officers fatally shot Mario Woods “in defense” of both themselves and bystanders, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (http://sfg.ly/1YQx8HV ).

Police say the 26-year-old Bayview District resident was shot several times Wednesday after he ignored commands to drop a knife. A 15-second video clip about the shooting is circulating online, and it has sparked debate over the police response.

Suhr said his officers had no choice but to open fire after Woods after unsuccessfully trying to disarm him with beanbag rounds and pepper spray. But community activists and San Francisco’s public defender argue police could have found other ways to subdue Woods before shooting him.

Suhr held Friday’s three-hour town hall meeting as part of a promise he made when he became police chief in 2011 to speak to the community after every officer-involved shooting.

Adriana Camarena, a member of the Justice for Alex Nieto Committee, an organization formed after Nieto was killed by San Francisco police officers last year, called the meeting a farce and asked for Suhr to step down.

“You get up here (at these meetings) and you tell the same version of events,” Camarena said. “You tell a narrative that someone poses. It’s the narrative you have to defend in court, but it’s a lie. So are you here to resign?”

Suhr said after the meeting he does not plan to resign.

“I took this job, and I knew it was a tough job,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that came up to me after the meeting to tell me to stay strong, and I intend to.”

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Information from: The San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

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