San Francisco will pay $400,000 to the mother of Mario Woods who was fatally shot by the city’s police officers four years ago in an incident captured on video that led to the resignation of the department's police chief.
Attorney John Burris filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the San Francisco Police Department days after the shooting. “This was all the indications of murder,” Burris said regarding the actions of the officers.
However, he stated Monday that Gwendolyn Woods, Mario Woods’ mother, was satisfied with the settlement amount.
“The issue here was she wanted to bring closure,” Burris said. “She wanted to put her son to rest.”
On Dec. 2, 2015, Woods allegedly fought with and stabbed another man, Marcel Gardener. Still armed with a knife, Woods was found by San Francisco police officers but attempted to walk away, according to the officers’ deposition. After multiple attempts to disarm Woods, five officers opened fire.
Multiple recordings of the shooting were captured by bystanders. The footage went viral and led to protests, a federal review of SFPD and the eventual resignation of Chief Greg Suhr.
According to his deposition, Gardener drove himself to the hospital and described Woods to an officer there. Two SFPD officers then found Woods waiting at a bus and they said he walked away with his knife drawn. Woods was soon surrounded by nine officers forming a semi-circle pinning him against a wall.
The officers first attempted to get Woods to drop his knife by shouting commands and firing non-lethal rubber bullets and beanbag rounds. One officer attempted to pepper spray him. Woods then started to walk along the path of the wall when San Francisco police officer Charles August stepped in his way. August said he heard Woods repeat “You’re going to have to shoot me” before he and four other officers began to fire.
According to the medical examiner’s report, Woods was shot 21 times and contained methamphetamine in his system.
Last year, the San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón declined to file charges against the officers who shot Woods.
“Given the serious nature of the crime the officers had probable cause to believe Woods had committed, the officers would have been derelict in their duty to protect the public had they let Woods escape,” Gascón’s office said.
Earlier this year, San Francisco agreed to settle a lawsuit over the shooting of Luis Gongora-Pat for $140,000. Last year, the city agreed to pay the family of Amilcar Perez Lopez $275,000.