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San Franciscos police chief to ask for Tasers
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco’s police chief wants city officials to arm his department with Tasers amid continued protests over the shooting death of a knife-wielding suspect last week.
Chief Greg Suhr plans to ask city officials for the devices during a police commission meeting Wednesday night. Suhr withdrew a similar proposal two years ago amid commission opposition.
Tasers are a weapon meant to shock and briefly incapacitate suspects with an electrical jolt. Critics say the weapon can kill suspects and that police officers sometimes grab and shoot their guns when they meant to use a Taser.
The request comes in the wake of last Wednesday’s fatal shooting of 26-year-old Mario Woods in the city’s Bayview neighborhood that was captured on two video clips, both circulated widely online. Suhr has said the shooting could have been avoided if the responding officers were equipped with stun guns.
Suhr said one clip isolated from the 15-second video appears to show Woods raising a hand holding the knife.
Another clip shows five officers firing their weapons as Woods is seen holding his left side and limping down a sidewalk along a wall. Woods appears to approach an officer with gun drawn who is walking toward him.
The clips fueled anger against police in the predominantly black neighborhood.
The races or ethnicities of the five officers who shot Woods were not released by the department and the video does not show all their faces.
Suhr said the five officers who fired their guns have been put on leave with pay pending the outcome of the department’s investigation. The San Francisco district attorney is also investigating. Suhr said the identities of the officers will be released by “the end of the week.”
A 5 p.m. protest at City Hall is planned before the 5:30 p.m. San Francisco Police Commission meeting.