San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón refuses to charge cops who killed Mario Woods or Luis Gongora Pat
Spread the word: Protest and press conference Tuesday, May 29, 12 noon, at 850 Bryant, San Francisco, organized by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods, joined by Justice 4 Luis Gongora Coalition, civil rights attorney John Burris, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) SF, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area, San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America, San Francisco for Democracy, Indivisible SF, SF Berniecrats, Harvey Milk Democratic Club and families of victims of police violence, including the Gongora family and Rick and Julie Perez, parents of Pedie Perez, murdered by Richmond police in 2014
by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods
We are enraged and disheartened by the cowardly decision of the San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón NOT to file charges against the officers who killed Mario Woods. Charges for killer cops are among the three demands we have made since our start in December 2015.
We are enraged, yet how can we be surprised at this “decision” when this DA has never – not once, in all of his tenure, and all of the egregious cases during his watch – filed any charges against officers who kill. Further to that point, DA Gascón also announced today that he will not seek charges in the killing by officers of Luis Gongora Pat.
Again and again SFPD kills, and its accounts of events are proven false by witnesses, autopsy reports, audio recordings and, in the case of Mario, even videos of the entire event that directly contradict police accounts. The video clearly shows Mario, a young man of small stature, attempting to move away from numerous officers. He was no threat to the police who chose to annihilate him in a hail of 41 bullets. And still, it wasn’t enough for career cop Gascón to file charges.
Gwen Woods, Mario’s mom, refused DA Gascón’s request to meet – knowing that he would default to what he’s always done: failing her, failing her family, and failing the Black community in his failure to file charges. She refused to listen to her son be executed all over again with the words from Gascón: “No charges.”
We will not stand for this “decision.” We’ve long seen it coming and our demands have always included charges for the killer cops who executed Mario.
This decision means that those cops who saw fit to perform a firing squad style execution of Mario Woods are allowed back onto the streets to police Black and Brown communities. It means San Francisco defies public outcry and the public will, and it’s a clear dereliction of duty by this DA.
Join Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods and our allies, San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America, San Francisco for Democracy, Showing Up for Racial Justice SF, Showing Up for Racial Justice Bay Area, SF Berniecrats, Indivisble SF, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, Justice 4 Luis Gongora Coalition, civil rights attorney John Burris and families victimized by police violence at noon on Tuesday, May 29, at 850 Bryant to express our discontent and to rally for further steps as we continue, more strongly than ever, to seek #Justice4MarioWoods and justice for all victims of police violence.
Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods meets every Thursday, 6-8 p.m., at 5600A Third St., San Francisco and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi
A hail of bullets is not an appropriate police response to people suffering mental health crises. In both the Woods and Gongora killings, officers were not in immediate danger when they fired their weapons.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s decision not to prosecute any officer on any charge is mindboggling and fails to hold police to the same laws we, as citizens, are expected to abide. To date, not a single officer in San Francisco has ever been criminally charged as the result of shooting a citizen, yet citizens are charged with crimes every day despite prosecutors being unable to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is clear prosecutors are using a different standard in judging police officers’ conduct. The reforms proposed by the Department of Justice’s review are empty promises without officer accountability.
The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office can be reached at Tamara.Aparton@sfgov.org.
Statement by District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen
It is with sadness, disappointment and great frustration that I share news that District Attorney George Gascón has determined he is unable to charge the officers involved in the fatal shootings of Mario Woods and Luis Gongora Pat.
I find it absurd that two and a half years passed before this decision was shared with the public.
I have personally fought to give the DA’s office additional taxpayer funding for investigative units to bring indictments, in hopes of bringing more results and justice across the board.
Decisions like this only serve to undermine community-police relationships and communicate that we do not exist in a fair and equal judicial system. Instead, we seemingly hold the transgressions of police officers to a different standard of justice than the one we hold for all other citizens.
I continue to offer my condolences, not only to the families of Mario and Luis, but to the countless other families and survivors of police violence who remain outraged that our City’s decision makers prove incapable of upholding a simple principle: liberty and justice for all.
Statement by Racial Justice Committee Chairperson Demarris Evans of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office
The failure of the district attorney to pursue accountability for the police killings of Mario Woods and Luis Gongora Pat is another message to the San Francisco community that Black and Brown lives do not matter. The video footage of Mario Woods’ murder clearly showed that killing him was excessive force gone mad.
There were numerous alternatives to this SFPD firing squad. There was no effort made to de-escalate and to spare his life. The lack of any attempt to seek justice and hold any officers accountable for this shooting is completely unacceptable.
A similar analysis applies to the police killing of Luis Gongora Pat. Police shot him within seconds of exiting their vehicle. Both of these killings were completely avoidable and the failure of the district attorney to let the citizens of San Francisco decide whether or not there is criminal liability is nothing more than a coverup for racist killer cops.
All lives do not matter as long as Black and Brown bodies are gunned down by police with impunity. This decision by the San Francisco district attorney pours salt on the wounds of people of color in San Francisco who are barely healing from the trauma of seeing people who look like them consistently being gunned down in cold blood by the very officers who are supposed to protect them.
Contact Deputy Public Defender Demarris R. Evans at 555 Seventh St., San Francisco, CA 94103 or 415-553-9350.