Mario Woods' mother accepts his diploma 7 weeks after SFPD shooting

Thursday, January 21, 2016
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Exactly seven weeks after Mario Woods was shot by San Francisco police, his mother accepted the high school diploma he earned.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A mother collected her son's diploma exactly seven weeks after his death at the hands of San Francisco police. Officers say Mario Woods had a knife and that's why they opened fire.

Protesters want the police chief fired, the officers charged with murder and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate what happened. They made those demands Wednesday night at city hall, where a special meeting of the police commission was held.

VIDEO: Mario Woods' mother, attorney calls for federal investigation

At the meeting a contingent of police officers was also expected, including the one who performed CPR on Mario Woods after he was shot. Woods' family was not expected to attend the meeting since Mario's mother had a bittersweet experience earlier in the day.

At St. Mary's Cathedral, there was someone missing among the crowd of graduates receiving their high school diplomas. Wood's mother, Gwen, watched with tears in her eyes as other students crossed the stage.

It took months and even years for some to complete classes in the 5 Keys Charter School program run by the Sheriff's Department.

Gwen told ABC7 News, "He should be here. This should be his moment."

VIDEO: Funeral held for man killed by San Francisco police

Her 26-year-old son was fatally shot by police last month. Police said after he stabbed someone, he raised a knife at them, but cellphone videos of the shooting that surfaced have raised questions if that was true. The videos and police response also sparked protests and led critics to call for the firing of Police Chief Greg Suhr.

The police union said there would be a show of support for the officers at the police commission hearing. Martin Halloran, from the San Francisco Police Officers Association, told ABC7 News, "They want the commission to look at this case objectively without any type of bias or without any influence from some faith-based leaders in the community and from some politicians."

Halloran also said there would be officers who were there during the Woods shooting.

"If their voices are allowed to be heard, they could perhaps clear some of the skepticism that is circulating in this city," Halloran said.

The Woods family has filed a lawsuit against the city over the shooting death of Mario.

Wednesday, there were cheers and applause for Gwen as she accepted her son's diploma. The crowd was even chanting his name.

"If anything I could hope for is that he would see this moment and know how proud I am of him," Gwen said.

Some supervisors have suggested an official day of remembrance for Mario. That controversial proposal will be debated on Thursday.

At the police commission meeting Wednesday night, a crowd shouted down police meeting to address the death of Woods at the hands of officers. After a few officers spoke, mot walked out of the meeting.

San Francisco Police Sgt. Tracy McCray said, "Obviously, we can't have a dialogue where people can discuss their feelings back and forth without being shouted down."

Perry Jones, from the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition, said, "With all the police walking out like that, that was their way of detaching [themselves] from our community."

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Mother says San Francisco police 'executed' her son

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