San Francisco, CA — As TFTP reported at the time, a horrific cellphone video was uploaded to Instagram showing multiple cops surround Mario Woods and then publicly execute him as he attempted to walk away. Now, after nearly five years, San Francisco’s police watchdog found that the officers involved in the execution of Woods did actually use unnecessary force, but the agency did not seek discipline against them because it did not violate policy, newly released records show.
Five of the eight officers opened fire on Woods that day and the force they used was all deemed unnecessary. However, the Department of Police Accountability blamed the high-profile shooting on policy failures instead of the cops. The findings of this report were released this week.
The report found that the SFPD's police at the time, actually condoned the officers' execution of Woods.
“Arguably, the named officers’ conduct at the moment they used deadly force could be found in policy in light of the Department’s Use of Firearm policy that existed at the time of the incident,” the report states. “In fact, SFPD did find the officers’ conduct in policy. However, when considering the entire chain of events that led to the officers’ use of lethal force, the DPA concludes that the excessive force allegation is the result of a policy failure.”
Naturally, the police union blasted the report that claimed the cops dumping countless rounds into a mentally ill man armed with a small knife trying to walk away was "unreasonable." The union claimed the investigation police conducted of themselves was enough to exonerate all who were involved.
“Law enforcement professionals investigated this case and determined that our officers acted within the law and department policy,” Tony Montoya, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association said. “We trust their professional expertise over that of political appointees.”
Because cops investigating themselves has proven to be perfect every time, right?
In their eyes, this is exactly right, all five of the officers who shot Woods — Charles August, Winson Seto, Nicholas Cuevas, Scott Phillips, Antonio Santos — remain with the SFPD, said police spokesman Officer Robert Rueca.
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As we reported at the time, police were looking for a suspect in a crime and Woods fit the description.
As the short video begins, Woods appears confused and out of it, but he is not charging at any of the multiple officers standing around him with their guns drawn. In fact, the man appears to be holding his stomach and is in distress, perhaps from a bean bag shot moments prior.
He then stands up straight and attempts to walk away.
At this moment, the woman filming is in so much anguish that she drops down the phone before a fury of gunfire can be heard being unleashed on the man.
"It looks like an execution," a resident told the San Francisco Police Commission. "This is why we need the cameras and the video."
As Mission Local reports, in June 2019, Gwen Woods, Mario’s mother, settled a lawsuit with the city for $400,000 — a settlement that may have been larger if a judge hadn’t granted the officers qualified immunity.
Below is the disturbing footage. As you watch it, remember that this public execution was part of the SFPD's policy.
“If you can execute a person with eight different officers surrounding him — and get away with it — then I have no confidence,” Nancy Pili, a Mission District police accountability activist said, adding “If there are no consequences, there’s no confidence.”