Civil rights attorney John Burris held a sign as he marched in last year’s event for Mario Woods, killed by the police on Dec. 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community: Justice 4 Mario Woods.
It has been almost two years since 26-year-old Mario Woods died by the Muni stop Third and Fitzgerald streets in San Francisco. How he died is well-known: in a barrage of gunfire by San Francisco police, all caught on the cell-phones camera of bystanders.
As the 2nd anniversary of Woods’ death approaches, Phelicia Jones and members of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community: Justice 4 Mario Woods, want to make it clear that the right terminology be used to describe his death: Execution.
Police had been called because Woods had allegedly stabbed a man with a small knife. About 5-foot-6 inches tall, and slightly built, Woods tried to walk away. There were dozens of bullets fired in all, 21 hit his body.
A small, dedicated group has met weekly to keep the Woods case, and others like it, on the hearts and minds of the community, but also to bring pressure to bear on the S. F. District Attorney’s office, city supervisors as well as state assembly representatives and senators.
Of the groups three demands, one has been met – Police Chief Greg Suhr was fired in 2016. The two remaining demands are a truly independent investigation of Woods’ death and the arrests of the police who shot him for murder.
To honor Woods’ memory, on December 2nd at 3:30pm, a memorial march will begin at Third and Armstrong and will end at the site where he was killed.
Parents of victims killed by police have been invited and will be given seats of honor at the front of the rally. An altar will be constructed in memory of Woods and other victims of police violence including, Idriss Stelly, Kenneth Harding, Derrick Jones and Jessica Williams.
Civil rights attorney John Burris and Officer Joel Babbs, who has gone on record about the racist practices of the police department will speak at the rally. Awon Ohun Omnira will perform a ceremony for Woods, sung in the Yoruba language and accompanied by Bata drums.