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When Chief William Scott had been on the job for just a few weeks, he came to the Joseph Lee Gym in Bayview Hunters Point for a townhall meeting with the community March 9. This first-ever community meeting with the new chief was presented by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods. Chief Scott said his goal is to “reduce deaths at the hands of police” and asked to be held accountable. Will Chief Scott be a better chief for San Francisco than his predecessor? We don’t know. But we do know that we will, as Scott said, hold him accountable.
The news was expected to be bad. San Franciscans for Police Accountability (SFPA), a civilian watch group, held a public forum in the Koret Auditorium of San Francisco’s Public Library. It was Saturday, Sept. 24, and featured D.A. George Gascón’s specially appointed Blue Ribbon Panel – the forum appropriately titled, “Making SFPD Accountable: A Community Conversation.” And what a conversation this was – one I could not miss!
This upcoming Friday, activist and rapper Sellassie of the Frisco 5 will be interviewing Bobby Seale, the co-founder and chairman of the Black Panther Party, in front of an audience. I hooked up this Q&A with Sellassie so he could talk about his experiences with the Frisco 5’s hunger strike as well as his upcoming event with Bobby Seale. Stay tuned.
SFPD has done it again … murdered another man in cold blood … in his own community … in broad daylight. Again, officers say that they were forced to fire their weapons. Again, cowardly officers kill a man whom they claim was wielding a knife. Again, this person suffered from mental disabilities. And sadly, again, the SFPD and Chief Greg Suhr have failed our communities.
San Francisco’s Black and Latino/a communities came together March 18 on the steps of City Hall to launch a united campaign to end police impunity in the officer-involved murders of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and Amilcar Pérez López. The new Black and Brown United Coalition coalesced after the shocking March 10 exoneration of police in a federal civil trial in the killing of Alex Nieto, 28, by a jury on which no Blacks or Latinas or Latinos had been selected to serve.
“On the weekend before Super Bowl 50 in downtown San Francisco, Officer Joshua Cabillo aggressively put his hands on me. It was a peaceful protest and I sensed the hatred in his eyes,” says protester Deja Caldwell. Not only did Officer Cabillo unnecessarily assault a woman who was protesting police killing, but he is a killer cop himself! On June 5, 2012, as a South San Francisco police officer, Joshua Cabillo brutalized, restrained and eventually shot to death 15-year-old Derrick Gaines. Officer Cabillo is a child killer with a long record of abuse, yet SFPD hired him.
The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) condemns the killing of Mario Woods by San Francisco police and opposes Chief Suhr’s proposal to provide officers with tasers as a supposed solution to deadly police shootings. Instead, city leaders must prioritize the use of non-weaponized crisis intervention teams, stepped-up police accountability mechanisms, and aggressive solutions to the displacement of working-class communities of color.
Before Mayor Ed Lee even announced the itinerary for his 2016 inauguration celebration yesterday, plans were already underway to crash the party. The Justice for Mario Woods Coalition will meet on the steps of City Hall, rain or shine, at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 8, before the public inauguration ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. Their demand of the re-elected mayor: Replace Police Chief Greg Suhr in light of his handling of the Dec. 2 officer-involved shooting that left Mario Woods, a 26-year-old Black man armed with a butter knife, dead in the Bayview.
Once a killer cop, always a killer cop! Black San Francisco is demanding that Mayor Ed Lee face the music and fire Chief Greg Suhr, as well as the five officers involved in the execution of Mario Woods, a young man with special needs who was gunned down by five gang members of the SFPD. Records reveal that many of the officers involved had used deadly force on unarmed individuals in the past.
In the wake of the brutal police execution of Mario Woods by San Francisco police in Bayview Hunters Point, many are asking where is California state Attorney General Kamala Harris? She was elected with the hope and expectation, naive as it may be, that she of all people would be out there weighing in and demanding justice for Mario. Sadly Harris has thus far been pretty much absent from the fight.
Hundreds of middle and high school students from Black and Brown low income communities in San Francisco marched together last week in solidarity to protest the execution of Mario Woods. At only 26 years, Mario Woods, a young man with special needs, was gunned down in his own neighborhood by the SFPD. “We are sick and tired of the police killing our homies!” yelled the students as they marched from the corner of 16th and Mission Street to the steps of City Hall.
The community is outraged at the execution of young brother Mario K. Woods. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, at the young age of 26, Mario Woods was gunned down by SFPD, the largest gang in San Francisco. Chief Greg Suhr didn’t even claim his officers feared for their lives, saying only that Mario “could not be allowed to move away from the scene.” Surrounded by 10 or more officers and shot over 25 times – that is not fearing for your life or safety; that’s overkill, that’s murderous behavior – and the community is demanding the resignation of Chief Greg Suhr!
A Dec. 4, 2012, ACLU letter to SF Mayor Ed Lee urged rejecting any SFPD proposal “to deploy tasers or other conductive energy devices”. The letter emphasizes that costly tasers would generate heavy legal fees from officer overuse and abuse, posing serious injury and death risks, especially to SFPD’s targeted populations: people in public mental health crisis and people of color.
Pack the courtroom -- Dept. 12 at 850 Bryant -- at 1:30pm today for the arraignment on bogus charges of DeBray Carpenter, better known as Fly Benzo, resistance leader in Bayview Hunters Point. Public Defender Jeff Adachi has assured he will be well represented, but he needs and deserves a crowd of supporters too. Fly is the keynote speaker Saturday at the October 22nd rally to stop police brutality. The mayor is in charge of the police department. Hold Mayor Ed Lee accountable for this attempt to silence a community leader. Call him at (415) 554-6141. Free Fly Benzo!