San Francisco's police chief renewed calls Monday to arm officers with Tasers after last week’s officer-involved shooting of a black man. Chief Greg Suhr reportedly said that electrical “stun guns” could have prevented officers from shooting 26-year-old Mario Woods on Thursday.
Woods, who police said was a knife-wielding suspect, was reportedly shot dead in the city’s Bayview neighborhood. Two video clips of the shooting were released last week, fueling anger against police in the predominantly black neighborhood. The videos also sparked protests over the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials, with calls for Suhr's resignation.
The police chief said that one of the videos of the shooting showed Woods raising his hand holding a knife, following which officers shot him, according to the Associated Press (AP). The other video clip, which had a 15-second duration, showed five officers opening fire at Woods. The police department reportedly also released a photo of the knife they said Woods was holding.
Watching Woods get shot was "all too familiar and painful," but “we cannot and will not allow ourselves to react to this abhorrent event with more violence," National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board Member and Third Baptist Church Pastor Amos Brown said, in a statement Monday ahead of a meeting, according to NBC News. The NAACP is scheduled to hold a meeting Monday night to discuss the shooting incident.
On Monday, Mayor Ed Lee said at a City Hall press conference that the police department would implement more training and review its policy on the use of force. The conference was also attended by Suhr, who had previously withdrawn a proposal of adding Tasers to the department’s arsenal two years ago amid opposition from the police commission.
Critics of Tasers say that the weapon, which is meant to shock and briefly incapacitate suspects with an electrical jolt, can also kill suspects and that police officers sometimes mistakenly grab their guns instead of a Taser, the AP reported.
The San Francisco Police Department and the city's district attorney are conducting an investigation into the shooting, Suhr reportedly said, adding that the identities of the officers -- currently on administrative leave -- will be released by "the end of the week."