A San Francisco Department of Police Accountability review concluded that officers used “unnecessary force” in the 2015 shooting death of Mario Woods but stopped short of seeking discipline against them.
In a 3,000-page report released late Thursday, the civilian watchdog agency assigned most of the blame for the fatal confrontation – which was caught on video — to “policy failures” at the time five officers opened fire on Woods, who was armed with a knife.
In explaining the rationale for not seeking discipline, the agency emphasized the department’s policy at the time lacked language to require that officers keep a safe distance during confrontations with suspects with weapons other than firearms. That language was later added.
“When considering the entire chain of events that lead to the officers’ use of lethal force, the DPA concludes that the excessive force allegation is the result of a policy failure,” the report concluded.
Video of the shooting shows officers positioned in a semi-circle around Woods as he’s pinned against a garage door. Five officers then open fire when Woods appears to start walking towards one of the officers.
Although the SFPD found officers acted within the department’s policy, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office declined to charge any of the officers, many people – including then District Attorney George Gascon – called the shooting unnecessary and avoidable.