Autopsy: San Francisco police shot Mario Woods 20 times, six in the back

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According to an autopsy report released Thursday, Mario Woods, who died in a police-involved shooting last December in San Francisco, was shot 20 times—at least six in the back.


There remains the possibility, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, of a 21st gunshot wound: 27 shell casings were found at the scene. The report also says Woods had undetermined levels of methamphetamine, marijuana, antidepressants, and cough medicine in his system at the time of his death. The report was made by Chief Medical Examiner Michael Hunter.

Police attempted to apprehend Woods on Dec. 2 around 4 p.m after he allegedly "slashed a stranger for no apparent reason," the Chronicle reported. Officers had been dispatched to San Francisco General Hospital to take a report from a man who had been been slashed on his shoulder while in his car.

Following a brief search, Woods, 26, was spotted trying to board a bus and quickly took a knife out of his pants. Police ordered him to drop the knife, to which Woods allegedly responded by saying, "you're not taking me today" and "you better squeeze that [trigger] and kill me." After continued pursuit, Woods was surrounded and fired upon with non-lethal beanbags, to little effect, according to police documents. According to statements made by the five police officers involved, when Woods began moving toward a gathering crowd, knife still in hand, he was shot.

Video of the shooting quickly went viral after being posted on social media.

John Burris, the attorney who filed a civil rights lawsuit against the San Francisco Police Department for Woods' family, told the Chronicle, the report "confirms my view that the shooting was excessive." SFPD is still conducting an internal investigation of the incident, which involved five officers.

Burris noted earlier this week that Woods was not "self-destructive..or suicidal" and had turned his life around since leaving prison in 2014, earning his GED and working at a delivery company.

Chief of Police Ed Suhr has said he will not resign as a result of the shooting and Mayor Ed Lee said he has no plans to fire Suhr. Both officials contacted the Department of Justice and requested an independent investigation.


Woods' death has inspired several rounds of protests in San Francisco and the Bay Area at large, with last week's Super Bowl in Santa Clara bringing more attention—Beyoncé's dancers were seen holding signs reading, "Justice for Mario Woods."


Woods' death has been seen by some as a metaphor for the erosion of San Francisco's black community, which has declined in population and political sway over several decades. "“This is a very classic example of the powerful against the powerless,” Supervisor Malia Cohen, a black lawmaker in the city whose district includes Woods' Bayview neighborhood, told Time in December.

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