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Protesters rally against police violence in San Francisco

3 December 2016 15:47

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US protesters have staged a rally against police brutality in San Francisco, California, on the death anniversary of an African-American man killed by police.

Community members and Mario Woods’ family marched on Friday to the location where the young black man was shot, chanting slogans and demanding justice for him.

The Reverend Ben McBride opened the proceedings with a prayer and chants that energized the group. “Say his name!” McBride shouted. “Mario Woods!” the mourners shouted back.

The rally comes at a time when anti-police sentiment is high across the US due to a surge of unjustified killings of unarmed African Americans and other minorities over the past several years.

Last year, Woods, 26, was fatally shot by five San Francisco police officers, a shooting that sparked outrage, national attention and unprecedented police reform in the city after it was captured on video.

Activists say the video showed police using excessive force, shooting at least 27 times on a man who posed no apparent threat to the officers and those around him.

Wood’s mother attended Thursday’s rally surrounded by women who have lost children to law enforcement violence all throughout the state of California.

“There are so many mothers you have to pray for, so many sleepless nights, so many dragging themselves out of bed,” Gwen Woods said. “This is our truth. Our babies are not platforms. They’re not agendas. They are our babies.”

Earlier in the day, about 20 activists protested at District Attorney George Gascón’s office, demanding that the five officers who shot Woods be charged. The case remains under review.

We believe, and the video evidence proves, that Mario Woods was gunned down like a wild animal in this city,” said Christopher Muhammad, the San Francisco Bay Area Minister of the Nation of Islam. “Mario was judged by a jury of police, and they became his executioner, and now Mario is dead.”

Woods’ death prompted San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and others to ask the US Justice Department to investigate the city’s police department. The probe led to unprecedented police reforms.

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