Memorial Service for Mario Woods Paints the Man Fatally Shot by Police as A Martyr

Dozens of people gathered in San Francisco’s Bayview District Thursday at a memorial service for 26-year-old Mario Woods, whose shooting death by San Francisco police officers earlier this month has sparked public outrage and spurred city leaders to reassess the Police Department’s use of force policies.

Family and friends, some of whom referred to Woods by his middle name, Keith, gathered for the memorial service at Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church on Third Street Thursday morning, just yards away from where Woods was shot on Dec. 2.

Police have said five officers opened fire on Woods after he moved toward them with a knife. However videos circulated widely on social media appear to show Woods, who was thought to be a suspect in an earlier stabbing, limping away from officers at the time he was shot. Police, however, maintain that Woods raised the arm holding the knife and appeared to pose a threat to the officers. The number of bullets fired and the number of bullets that entered Woods’ body have not yet been released. Attorney John Burris, who filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Woods’ mother, Gwendolyn Woods, said the death was unjustified and violated his civil rights. He said roughly 20 gunshot wounds could be seen on
Woods’ body post-mortem.

White flowers were laid on Woods’ coffin while photographs of him as an infant and as a young man, along with more flowers, flanked the coffin. Along with Woods’ family and friends, attorneys from Burris’ law office, Adante Pointer and DeWitt Lacy, spoke at the memorial service. Around a dozen members of the media also attended following an invitation from Burris’ office.

The program, distributed to those who attended the service, states that Woods was born in San Francisco, lived briefly in Houston, Texas and then returned to San Francisco, where he attended El Dorado Middle School, Martin Luther King Middle School and Balboa High School.He was described at the memorial as a goofy man, an avid reader, and a music lover. The incident has triggered a public debate about police use of force policies and prompted police Chief Greg Suhr and Police Officers Association president Martin Halloran to renew efforts to arm officers with stun guns.

The Police Department also introduced a new directive earlier this month that requires officers to alert their supervisors if they draw their firearms.

In the wake of Woods’ death, Chief Suhr’s office and the Police Commission began looking at the department’s entire use of force policy to see how officers can be better equipped or trained to deescalate conflicts when they arise.

Top 10 List of Most Congested Bay Area Commutes Released

A list of the Bay Area’s top 10 most congested freeway commutes in 2014 was released Thursday by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Topping the list is the westbound morning commute on Interstate Highway 80 from Hercules to Oakland, commission officials said. The I-80 commute has held the top spot often in the last 15 years or so, but dropped to fourth in 2013, commission spokesman John Goodwin said. The congested freeway segment extends for 17 miles from the state Highway 4 interchange to the Bay Bridge toll plaza, according to commission officials.

The second most congested commute is the southbound morning drive on Interstate Highway 880 between San Leandro and Milpitas, which was also second last year, commission officials said.

In third place, is the southbound afternoon commute on U.S. Highway 101 from Fair Oaks Avenue in Sunnyvale to Oakland Road in North San Jose, according to commission officials.The freeway congestion list is part of a suite of transportation indicators compiled by the commission, a list that includes a measure of “congested delay.”

Congested delay is a condition in which traffic moves at 35 mph or less for a period of 15 minutes or more, Goodwin said.Congested delay in the Bay Area was up 3 percent in 2014 to 2.7 minutes per commuter per weekday, on average, from 2.6 minutes in 2013, commission officials said.

The 2.7 figure is a record level of delay per commuter, up nearly 40 percent from 1.9 minutes in 2010, according to commission officials. Growth in population and employment are behind the increase in congested delay, even though the Bay Area’s population and employment are not growing as fast as congestion, Goodwin said.

 Warriors Traffic Plan For New Arena Challenged in Lawsuit

The Mission Bay Alliance made its latest challenge to a proposed Golden State Warriors arena in San Francisco Thursday, suing over an agreement the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center reached with the Warriors in October.

The alliance — which describes itself as a group of UCSF stakeholders, donors, faculty and physicians — has repeatedly objected to the site for the proposed arena at 16th and Third streets, directly across
the street from the UCSF campus, on the grounds that it will create impenetrable traffic around the hospital.

They most recently tried to appeal the project’s Environmental Impact Report but were thwarted by the Board of Supervisors at last week’s meeting. After that, the Mission Bay Alliance vowed to challenge the project in the courts.

Thursday’s lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court accuses UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood of relinquishing his responsibility to negotiate for UCSF’s interests as the Warriors and Mayor Ed Lee pressured and threatened him into taking a bad deal.

The alliance’s primary objection is that UCSF will have little recourse if traffic disruptions come from simultaneous events at the Warriors arena and at AT&T Park a few blocks to the north. UCSF had sought to prohibit the Warriors from having events at the same time as baseball games or other
events at AT&T Park but, according to the complaint, Hawgood relented under pressure.

The memorandum of understanding between Hawgood and the Warriors was announced on Oct. 6. Days later the Warriors finalized their purchase of the land from Salesforce, which had planned its own project there before abandoning it in 2012.

Among the provisions in the memorandum are that the Warriors will create a special transportation improvement fund for the neighborhood, will put some limits on events there and will keep in communication with hospital officials if traffic becomes a problem.

The Mission Bay Alliance is not only concerned with the Warriors 18,000-seat arena but the office and retail space planned there as well. Other development projects in the works will also increase
traffic, such as the construction of a new headquarters for Uber and the Giants’ Mission Rock project to add 1,500 residential units and 1.3 million square feet of office and retail space, according to the complaint. Such traffic could create gridlock on the already difficult to access Mission Bay peninsula, potentially keeping ambulances from quickly reaching UCSF’s emergency room.

(News by Bay City News)