Mario Woods, 26, executed by SFPD in his own hood

The San Francisco NAACP is calling a public meeting to discuss the police murder of Mario Woods for Monday, Dec. 7, 6 p.m., at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister St., San Francisco

by Apollonia Jordan

Mario Woods’ cousin Jeff Stewart consoles Mario’s mother as she weeps in his arms over her murdered son. “They’re going to paint my child out to be a monster, and he wasn’t a monster,” she said. “He would give you the shirt off his back.”
Mario Woods’ cousin Jeff Stewart consoles Mario’s mother as she weeps in his arms over her murdered son. “They’re going to paint my child out to be a monster, and he wasn’t a monster,” she said. “He would give you the shirt off his back.” – Photo: Tiny aka Lisa Gray Garcia, Poor News Network

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 and assassinated by SFPD, the largest gang in San Francisco, without an injunction.

“They executed my child,” Mario’s mother, Gwendolyn Woods, told ABC7 News. “It was a better way of handling it than 25 bullets in my baby.”

“He needed some help. He just needed some help,” she added, explaining that since coming home four months ago from a stint in prison, he was suffering some mental health issues. But he “fought past them. He was supposed to start UPS today. He got his uniform,” Gwen Woods said.

“I was born and raised here in this community,” she said at the community vigil the following evening, according to the Chronicle, “and officers don’t care an iota about people of color. You feel inferior. It’s an ugly dynamic.”

Why are the police continuing to lie and mislead the public on what actually took place that day, and why are some of the media taking them at their word? What are they trying to cover up?

Initially, 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” because a man had told staff at San Francisco General Hospital earlier in the day that Mario was responsible for a small stab wound in his shoulder that required six stitches.

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.”

Mario had so much life and so much potential ahead of him. He was well known positively in his community, loved by all and an inspiration to everyone who he came across in life.

“They killed Mario,” stated Jesus, a witness who was present during the shooting on Wednesday. Jesus spoke to me during the community vigil, which took place at the exact spot where Mario was slain, in Bayview Hunters Point, where he was born and raised. “The cops never used non-lethal force and after they shot him down, you can hear them laughing amongst each other.”

Mario Woods, 26

“After they shot him down, you can hear them laughing amongst each other.”

Mario is our son, he is my son, he is your son, he is our nephew and he is our brother, and he did not deserve to be gunned down in the street, dehumanized like a vicious animal. And, if you think for a second that these terrorists in blue won’t gun your child down, cold blooded in the streets where they grew up, then you are sadly mistaken, unaware, and blind to the fact that the police have no problem, no hesitation, and no remorse behind pulling that trigger.

According to KTVU News, the police released a picture of the knife found at the scene, but during the community gathering and protest, I spoke with several eye witnesses who stated that they heard the police saying to put down the knife, but no one reported actually physically seeing a knife. All stated that Mario looked afraid because of all the guns that were drawn on him.

I spoke with several eye witnesses who stated that they heard the police saying to put down the knife, but no one reported actually physically seeing a knife. All stated that Mario looked afraid because of all the guns that were drawn on him.

Looking at the video, which has gone viral on social media with millions of views, Mario looked far from being a threat, in fact, he is surrounded by at least 15 officers, guns drawn, and you can see the fear in Mario’s eyes, the fear in his physical stance, how he buckles at the knees when he notices the officer stepping in front of him to box him in. The video doesn’t show fear on the officers’ faces, they look like they were ready for war, ready to follow orders to shoot to kill.

“We used to hang out, play boxing and Xbox,” a friend of Mario who wants to stay anonymous stated to me at the vigil. Holding back tears, he continued to tell me about who Mario was as a person:

A memorial is growing at the blood-splattered place where he was executed. – Photo: Benjamin Bac Sierra
A memorial is growing at the blood-splattered place where he was executed. – Photo: Benjamin Bac Sierra

“The media are trying to portray him as a suspect and a bad person, but Mario had a good heart. He had some developmental disabilities and, like many young men growing up in The Point , he lacked positive male role models in his life growing up. He was living life on a positive note, had been looking for work and was making a positive improvement in his life. He didn’t deserve to be gunned down like that.”

Surrounded by 10 or more officers, gunned down by at least six of those terrorists 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! Chief Suhr proved as captain of the Bayview Precinct for years and now chief that he doesn’t give a damn about Black people or the Black community, and it is time for him to get out of our city for good!

Surrounded by 10 or more officers, gunned down by at least six of those terrorists 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!

Chief Suhr and the SFPD are not telling the community the whole truth about why police targeted Mario that day. The community wants answers and we want them now, Chief Greg Suhr!

We want to know who this so-called stabbing victim is? How did he know Mario? Were they friends? Family?

Why did your officers use deadly force on a person who had no threatening demeanor? These are all questions from the community that are unanswered by Police Chief Greg Suhr and the local news outlets.

The police are making it seem as if he was a threat because he had a knife, but Mario was in fear for his life due to being surrounded by a firing squad of terrorists in blue who wanted nothing more than to shoot a barrage of bullets at this young Black man. The police acted like cowards.

There was no heroism in this senseless act of violence, no prestige in gunning down a disabled man. No way will we sit back and continue to take this kind of abuse of our people in our community.

“He was getting down on the ground. The police don’t give a fuck about us or our sons. I didn’t see a knife in his hands at all and I was right there on the bus looking at the entire incident. They shot him down in front of us, a bus full of people,” stated Rita, a Bayview Hunters Point native who came down to the vigil to show support to Mario’s family.

“The police don’t give a fuck about us or our sons. I didn’t see a knife in his hands at all and I was right there on the bus looking at the entire incident. They shot him down in front of us, a bus full of people.”

At the murder site, you can still see Mario’s blood splattered alongside the wall and tree. Yellow chalk circles outlining the blood splatters still visible on the concrete where Mario’s cold, lifeless body lay after being slain by SFPD.

Rita continued to tell me her account of what happened that dreadful afternoon: “The officer who you can see in front of him in the video, stopping him from going anywhere, was the officer who shot first, and then the other officers also fired their weapons.”

Mario was an artist, who produced his own documentary on life as a young man growing up in the Bay View. “For the police to think that they can assassinate a young man for having a small pocket knife is ridiculous. When I was a young boy in boy scouts, the first thing they gave me was a pocket knife,” stated Archbishop Franzo King of the John Coltrane Church, who spoke to the mourning crowd at the vigil.

The family of Mario Woods have a Go Fund Me page to collect donations to help pay for funeral costs. If you would like to help the family, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/bqdcp6zw.

A crowd estimated at 200-300 by the mainstream media gathered on the evening following the execution of Mario Woods for a vigil at the place the 26-year-old died. They were invited into the gym at St. Paul of the Shipwreck Church, where they held a very informative and moving town hall meeting. Afterward, about half the crowd marched through the neighborhood. – Photo: Benjamin Bac Sierra
A crowd estimated at 200-300 by the mainstream media gathered on the evening following the execution of Mario Woods for a vigil at the place the 26-year-old died. They were invited into the gym at St. Paul of the Shipwreck Church, where they held a very informative and moving town hall meeting. Afterward, about half the crowd marched through the neighborhood. – Photo: Benjamin Bac Sierra

Two petitions demanding justice for Mario and accountability from Chief Suhr need to be signed and shared, one at Care2 and the other at Change.org.

We can’t allow these killers to continue to police our community and murder our babies in the street! We can’t allow the police to lie on our sons and make them out to be criminals and gang members, when they are the ones being victimized and murdered by those sworn to serve and protect.

We can’t allow these killers to continue to police our community and murder our babies in the street! We can’t allow the police to lie on our sons and make them out to be criminals and gang members, when they are the ones being victimized and murdered by those sworn to serve and protect.

But who have they sworn to protect? Themselves? It’s evident that they’re here to murder and control poor communities of color. They want to kill our sons, our fathers, our brothers, our uncles, our grandfathers, and our nephews because without the Black man to reproduce, the Black population declines.

Mario Woods’ life was taken pointlessly and these officers need to be fired and charged with murder! SFPD, we are tired of your lies! We want answers and we want Greg Suhr outta here!

Apollonia Jordan, who was born and raised in Bayview Hunters Point and has written for the Bay View for nearly 20 years, can be reached at apollonia@sfbayview.com.