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Monday, January 18, 2016

108 Bay Area Lawyers Call on Mayor Ed Lee For Independent Mario Woods Investigation

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 10:13 AM

click to enlarge sf-shooting.jpg
More than 100 Bay Area attorneys — criminal defense lawyers as well as plaintiffs' civil litigators — have penned an open letter to Mayor Ed Lee calling for an independent investigation into the Dec. 2 shooting death of Mario Woods at the hands of police and declaring San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr "impartiality" in the matter "fatally taint[ed]."

First circulated late last week by lead authors George Chikovani and William Jhaveri-Weeks, the letter is signed by 108 lawyers from local public defender's offices as well as attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and in private practice. 

The death of Woods — the suspect in an earlier stabbing, he was shot as many as 20 times by five different officers after refusing to surrender — is currently being investigated by the police department, the Office of Citizens' Complaints, and the office of the District Attorney. Suhr has also declared that the department's use of force policy will change — but that's not quite enough for these barristers.

"The manner in which the police killed Mr. Woods – shooting him fifteen times rather than attempting to detain him – displays a callous willingness to deprive a fellow citizen of life without due process of law," the letter's opening paragraph reads. "We hope that the City government will respond appropriately to assure its citizens and its police force that this kind of violence will not be tolerated."

In comments to SF Weekly, Chikovani explains that the lawyers want "city government to know that this is not an issue that affects only Bayview residents, or the people who are most at risk of violence by police officers — it's an issue that affects everyone in this city."

"We thought it was important to let the Mayor know that lawyers of all types - civil, criminal, defense, plaintiff - were shocked and deeply disturbed by this incident," he wrote via email.

You can read the letter for yourself below, as well as the list of signatories. 

Later today, Mario Woods' family's attorney John Burris is expected to give an update in the pending federal lawsuit against the city. 

Open letter from Bay Area lawyers to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee regarding Mario Woods shooting by cb0b

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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