Over the objection of San Francisco's police union, county supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday to officially declare July 22 "Mario Woods Day," dedicated to the memory of the 26-year-old Bayview resident who was shot and killed by San Francisco police on Dec. 2, 2015.
"Because of Mario Woods and the video associated with the case, we have entire communities throughout the city that do not trust the police department,” said Supervisor David Campos at a news conference ahead of the board meeting.
Police have said Woods was armed with a kitchen knife at the time of the shooting and is suspected of stabbing a person earlier that day. Videos of the shooting and the moments beforehand spurred outrage among the public, with many arguing that Woods was walking away from officers when officers opened fire.
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"It’s not just (because of) remembrance that we have to do something,” Campos said. "This resolution does something very important. It’s the first time the Board of Supervisors would be on record saying we are committed to police reform.”
The move to memorialize Woods and the shooting has upset the San Francisco Police Officers Association. POA President Marty Halloran wrote a letter addressed to board on Monday. He pointed to three officers who died in the last dozen years in the line of duty who didn’t get dedicated days.
"It will be a hurtful day to their families if this city’s elected officials decide to recognize and honor an individual that preyed upon our most vulnerable citizens,” Halloran wrote.
Halloran also said Woods was a threat the day of the shooting, who "inexplicably slashed an innocent stranger with a kitchen knife and refused to drop that knife when confronted by police.”
Campos said he’d be the first to support remembrance days for those fallen officers if the POA made the proposal. He added it’s a separate issue.
"I think what the police officers' union, unfortunately, would like the city to do is stick its head in sand like nothing's going on, there's no problem here,” Campos said.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda were two other resolutions connected to Woods. One, sponsored by Supervisor London Breed, urges a federal investigation into the Woods shooting. Another, led by Supervisor John Avalos, urges the San Francisco Police Department to review its use-of-force policies and to study de-escalation tactics.
In a separate move, Supervisor Malia Cohen is announcing a June 2016 ballot measure requiring the Office of Citizen Complaints to conduct an independent investigation after any officer-involved-shooting.