Mario Woods' mother, attorney calls for federal investigation

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Mario Woods' mother calls for Department of Justice to investigate
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Gwen Woods announced her and her lawyer asked the Department of Justice to investigate the officer-involved shooting of her 26-year-old son.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Demonstrators heckled San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee off the stage Monday during Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ceremonies. They demand that the mayor fire his police chief -- the same demand they've made since the Mario Woods shooting early last month.

Mario's mother, Gwen Woods, said, "I'm sure I speak for every mother who lost their baby. I wonder how scared he was..."

VIDEO: Protesters sound off at police commission meeting over SFPD shooting

Gwen appeared with her attorney John Burris, who announced that they had formally asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the officer-involved shooting of her 26-year-old son. Burris said Lee had made the wrong decision to ask the San Francisco Police Department to conduct the investigation.

"He should not have appointed Chief Greg Suhr to do the evaluation. This is very much like the fox protecting the chicken house," Burris said.

Woods died in a barrage of gunfire last month in San Francisco's Bayview District. All of it was caught on camera. Police say video shows him raising his hand with a knife toward one of the five officers. Burris says another video shows Woods' hand going up after he was shot, with no knife in sight.

READ MORE: SFPD officers who shot Mario Woods previously accused of excessive force

Whatever the case, demonstrators have disrupted Lee at public events and even at his home, demanding the firing of Suhr and criminally charging the officers. Monday was no exception.

Protestors booed the mayor during Martin Luther King ceremonies at the Yerba Buena Center.

In response, Lee said, "People wanted to continue to interrupt, that's their right. I didn't want to be a subject, so I ended my speech quickly."

The mayor told reporters afterwards he was standing by his chief, but welcomed a federal investigation.

"I think the Department of Justice will do their investigation independent of ours and we should be open to their findings and making sure we're doing all the right things," Lee said.

The board of supervisors is also considering a resolution calling for a federal investigation of the shooting.

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