U.S. justice officials to unveil review of San Francisco police

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 11:13 AM

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice was set on Monday to unveil a comprehensive review of the San Francisco Police Department, which was the target of demonstrations by civil right activists because of the shooting death of a black man in December.

The protesters had demanded the departure of Police Chief Greg Suhr, who is due to appear alongside Mayor Edwin Lee and federal officials at a news conference at 2 p.m. PST (2200 GMT), according to a Justice Department statement on Sunday.

The statement did not specify what is covered in the review but said Brian Stretch, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, and Ronald Davis, director of the police department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, will address reporters.

Protests flared in San Francisco over the fatal police shooting on Dec. 2 of Mario Woods, 26, which was filmed by bystanders and described by San Francisco's public defender as unnecessary.

The death came amid unrest across the United States over high-profile police killings of black victims in cities such as Ferguson, Missouri, Chicago and Baltimore since mid-2014, and a renewed civil rights movement dubbed Black Lives Matter.

Woods' family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city in December for wrongful death, describing his killing as an "horrific public execution."

Suhr has said that Woods was a suspect in a stabbing, was holding a knife and was a threat to officers who had tried to subdue him with pepper spray and bean bag rounds.

The police chief has called for his force to be equipped with Tasers to prevent similar shootings in the future.

In video recorded by onlookers, officers could be seen with their weapons pointed at Woods, who was standing with his back against the wall of a building. Woods does not seem to be holding anything when he is shot multiple times, although police have said they recovered a kitchen knife from the scene.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Editing by Bill Trott)