The San Francisco District Attorney announced Thursday that they will not file criminal charges against the officers in the fatal shooting deaths of Mario Woods and Luis Gongora.
26-year-old Woods was killed on December 2, 2015 during a confrontation with police in the city’s Bayview neighborhood.
Five officers shot and killed him after he appeared to raise an 8-inch knife while approaching an officer, according to police.
Gongora, a 45-year-old homeless man, was shot multiple times on April 7, 2016 as he allegedly charged at officers with a 13-inch kitchen knife in the city’s Mission District.
Questions have been raised about the police account by witnesses who told reporters that Gongora was not holding a knife at the time of the shooting, but instead had the knife strapped to his hip.
Videos of both incidents have circulated widely online, sparking outrage and protests in the community.
Mayor Mark Farrell has issued the following statement:
“Any time we lose a life on our streets, it is a tragedy. This holds true for Mario Woods and Luis Góngora Pat. I continue to offer my condolences to families and friends who continue mourn.
After thorough investigations by multiple independent agencies pursuant to our police reforms, the District Attorney made the determination that criminal charges are not warranted in either of these cases. I respect the District Attorney’s decision, and also acknowledge the pain it will cause in communities that have for so long been disproportionately impacted by violence.
The brave men and women of the San Francisco Police Department take very seriously their responsibilities to protect the public and earn the trust of communities. Today’s decision by the District Attorney will not lessen their commitment to all communities of San Francisco.
Our City’s commitment to police reform continues – this work is more important today than ever. The Police Department has adopted new use of force policies and crisis intervention trainings, among other important reforms. Our goal has been, and still is, to prioritize the sanctity of life above all else. I am committed to working closely with Attorney General Xavier Becerra to ensure our City fully implements all 272 recommended reforms.”
And here is the full statement from Public Defender Jeff Adachi:
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi today released the following statement on the San Francisco District Attorney’s decision not to pursue charges against officers in the fatal shootings of Mario Woods and Luis Gongora Pat.
“A hail of bullets is not an appropriate police response to people suffering mental health crises. In both the Woods and Gongora killings, officers were not in immediate danger when they fired their weapons. The San Francisco District Attorney’s decision not to prosecute any officer on any charge is mindboggling and fails to hold police to the same laws we, as citizens, are expected to abide. To date, not a single officer in San Francisco has ever been criminally charged as the result of shooting a citizen, yet citizens are charged with crimes every day despite prosecutors being unable to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It is clear prosecutors are using a different standard in judging police officers’ conduct. The reforms proposed by the Department of Justice’s review are empty promises without officer accountability.”
Here is a statement from Gwen Woods, Mario’s mother:
“It’s like they executed Mario all over again. There was hope this D.A. would do the right thing. But not filing any changes, I don’t understand it. I did have hope he would do the right thing. You can look at the video and see Mario’s civil rights were violated. If he wasn’t a danger, I don’t get that (decision not to file charges). I don’t understand that. I think he got it wrong this time. He got it wrong. I am so disillusioned this point. I think it’s a travesty. He allowed an evil to thrive. If you don’t at some point make an example of what is going on in San Francisco it’s going to thrive. It’s thriving.”
Here is a statement from Board of Supervisors member Malia Cohen:
“It is with sadness, disappointment, and great frustration that I share news that District Attorney George Gascón has determined he is unable to charge the officers involved in the fatal shootings of Mario Woods and Luis Gongora Pat.
I find it absurd that 2 ½ years passed before this decision was shared with the public.
I have personally fought to give the DA’s office additional taxpayer funding for investigative units to bring indictments, in hopes of bringing more results and justice across the board.
Decisions like this only serve to undermine community-police relationships and communicate that we do not exist in a fair and equal judicial system. Instead, we seemingly hold the transgressions of police officers to a different standard of justice than the one we hold all other citizens.
I continue to offer my condolences, not only to the families of Mario and Luis, but to the countless other families and survivors of police violence who remain outraged that our City’s decision makers prove incapable of upholding a simple principle: liberty and justice for all.”
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