Gwen Woods, center, is consoled by attorney John Burris as she addresses the media on Dec. 11 about the shooting of her son, Mario Woods, by San Francisco police officers. (Connor Hunt/Special to S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco may publicly apologize to Mario Woods’ mother

Tensions remain high in San Francisco over last month’s fatal police shooting of Mario Woods, as evidenced by protesters chanting “Fire Chief Suhr,” which at times drowned out Mayor Ed Lee’s inauguration Friday.

Today, Supervisor David Campos is expected to introduce a resolution to the Board of Supervisors that would offer condolences to the mother of the 26­-year­-old black man, who was shot and killed by police on Dec. 2 in the Bayview, and offer a public apology. Mario Woods’ mother, Gwen Woods, is expected to attend the meeting, according to Campos’ office.

The resolution would also declare July 22 “Mario Woods Remembrance Day” in San Francisco, the date of Woods’ birthday. The resolution states, “Mario Woods has himself become a symbol of the absolute necessity and urgency of this [police] reform.”

Campos, who at age 14 fled Guatemala to the United States, said Monday that he was “born in a country where violence by state agents is a fact of life. My parents brought me here because they wanted a different life for their kids. I felt the need to say something.”

The resolution says The City “offers Mario Woods’ mother, Gwen Woods, sincere condolences for the loss of her son and apologies for the way in which she has been treated since her son’s death.”

Campos added, “The human side, the personal side of everything that has happened, is getting lost. This resolution is ultimately about addressing that.”

The resolution says Mario Woods’ mother “has experienced tremendous grief in the aftermath of his death, first learning of his death via Facebook while riding the bus … no City official has yet to publicly reach out to Gwen Woods to offer their condolences.”

The resolution also puts the board on record in calling for police reform. “It’s important for us to be on the record not only acknowledging the human side of this, which is important, but also to be on record recognizing the need for thorough comprehensive reform,” Campos said.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Mayor Ed Lee called for a reform of use of force policies. The department has purchased additional shields in an effort to de-escalate similar situations in the future, but it has yet to train officers in how to use the shields.

Police Chief Greg Suhr has asked the United States Department of Justice to review his department’s training, policy and procedures.

Still, activists have continued to show up in numbers at Police Commission meetings as well as other events, calling for the firing of Suhr.

Gwen Woods has a pending federal lawsuit against The City, which argues police used excessive force and violated Mario Woods’ civil rights. The incident remains under investigation by District Attorney George Gascon, the police department’s homicide unit and the Office of Citizen Complaints.

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