News From San Francisco and Around the Bay

SFPD Release Names of Five Officers Who Fatally Shot Mario Woods; Family Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

Attorney John Burris on Friday filed a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit in federal court alleging that the officers who shot and killed Mario Woods last week used excessive force.
Burris also released a new video of the Dec. 2 shooting that he said contradicted San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr’s account of what happened.

Suhr has said publicly that Woods raised his arm holding a knife in an aggressive manner prior to officers opening fire. But Burris said the knife is not visible in the video and that the video shows Woods raising his arm after he was shot, and not before. Burris said the evidence calls Suhr’s credibility into question and that the community deserves better.

“You should resign,” Burris said in a comment directed at Suhr Friday. Police were attempting to detain Woods in connection with an earlier stabbing at the time of the shooting, which occurred on Keith Street near Third Street in front of numerous bystanders. Two videos were quickly posted on social media following Woods’ death that appeared to show officers firing on Woods as he tried to walk
away, fueling outrage from community members. The new video released Friday comes from “a confidential source” and had not been handed over to police investigators as of that afternoon, Burris said.

San Francisco police also on Friday identified the five officers involved in the shooting as Winson Seto, Antonio Santos, Charles August, Nicholas Cuevas and Scott Phillips. Burris said the lawsuit aims to prove that what happened to Woods was unlawful and also aims to change any policies carried out by the Police Department that are found to be unconstitutional. He said he hopes the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office or the U.S. Attorney’s Office will file criminal charges against the five officers who opened fire on Woods. He said those officers should be indicted. Police said all evidence including videos, witness statements and evidence procured by Burris will be followed up on by investigators.

SFPD Officers, Sergeants Accused of Racial Bias, Misconduct During Drug Sweeps

San Francisco police officers who took part in a two-year drug sting operation in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood have been accused of sexually and physically harassing and threatening suspects and using racial slurs, according to recent court documents.

Federal defense attorneys named several San Francisco police officers accused of disturbing and biased behavior while on the job in a motion to compel discovery filed last week on behalf of defendants charged with drug-trafficking crimes resulting from Operation Safe Schools.

The sting operation, conducted jointly with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, arrested only black suspects. Federal defense attorneys in April filed a motion alleging that the defendants were targeted because of their race and asking that all 37 cases should be heard together.

Court documents state that evidence of racial bias in the sting includes video footage taken by law enforcement of one sweep that shows an undercover officer refusing to buy drugs from an Asian woman as he waits to buy drugs from a black woman who is busy on a phone call. Defendants also recounted numerous officers using racial slurs in the Tenderloin, including referring to black women as “black bitches” and referring to black men as the n-word, according to court documents.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendants arrested in Operation Safe Schools are each charged with the distribution of prohibited drugs on or within 1,000 feet of a school or playground and are charged with distributing various controlled substances, such as crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and oxycodone.

The defendants are facing federal charges, meaning that if found guilty they face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail with at least six years of supervised release. Efforts to reach police late in the day Friday for comment were unsuccessful.

Mayor Announces Completion of Switch to Renewable Diesel for City Transportation Fleet

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Friday at a summit in Portland, Oregon that the city’s transportation fleet has completed swapping its petroleum diesel for a more eco-friendly alternative.
The switch to renewable diesel is estimated to slash the greenhouse gas emissions from the fleet’s diesel vehicles by 50 percent, or 50,000 metric tons, according to the mayor’s office.

Lee said on July 21 that San Francisco’s municipal fleet of vehicles would be switching from petroleum diesel to renewable diesel before the year’s end at a conference in Vatican City. “As the global climate negotiations conclude,” Lee said in a statement, “San Francisco and cities worldwide must continue to lead by taking bold actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately.” The city completed the switch to renewable diesel at all 53 of its
fueling facilities.

It’s expected to reduce the emissions of harmful air pollutants that harm health of local residents, according to the mayor’s office. These pollutants disproportionately affect the city’s low-income communities because the heavy-duty traffic occurs in those areas, according to the mayor’s office. “This change to renewable diesel reflects the high value that the SFMTA places on sustainability and recognition of our role in addressing climate change through sustainable transportation,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement.

“Even though Muni already has one of the greenest bus fleets in the country, we remain committed to making our system even cleaner and more efficient,” Reiskin added.

Police Officers Save Resident Trapped in Sofa Bed for More Than 12 Hours

Two San Francisco police officers helped an 84-year-old woman last month out of a sofa bed frame she was stuck in for more than 12 hours, police said Thursday.

Officers McFall and Cuthbertson of the San Francisco Police Department’s Richmond Station have befriended the woman and regularly check on her, according to police. The woman lives alone and has no family nearby, police said.

The two officers brought her Thanksgiving dinner Thanksgiving Day and checked on her again Nov. 27, police said. The woman did not answer the door but the officers heard her calling out to them faintly, according to police.

When the officers were able to get in the house, they found the woman’s sofa bed frame had cracked and she had fallen through it, police said. If not for the officers, she could have been trapped for four days until a home health visit, according to police.

The woman went to a hospital to recover, police said. The next day the officers delivered the woman’s glasses, address book and cellphone from her home because no else could get them for her, according to police.

Womans Suffers Minor Injuries When Struck by LRV in Duboce Triangle

 A woman was struck by a Municipal Railway light rail vehicle in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle Sunday morning, according to firefighters. The incident was reported at Duboce Avenue and Sanchez Street at 8:47 a.m., and had been resolved by 8:54 a.m.

The victim suffered minor injuries and was transported to San Francisco General Hospital as a precaution, according to firefighters.

San Francisco and Bay Area Weather

Today will be partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Highs will be in the mid-50s and northwest winds could reach 15 to 20 miles per hour.

Tonight will remain partly cloudy in the evening then will become mostly clear. Lows will be in the mid-40s. North winds could reach 10 to 20 miles per hour.

Tuesday will be sunny. Highs will be in the upper 50s, and north
winds will be 10 to 20 miles per hour.

(News by Bay City News)