No charges in two SF police shootings
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced Thursday he will not seek charges against officers involved in two high-profile fatal police shootings.
In a report outlining details of the investigations into the fatal police shootings of Mario Woods on Dec. 5, 2015, and Luis Gongora Pat on April 7, 2016, Gascon’s office said it could not prove without a reasonable doubt that the officers’ actions were unjustified.
Gascon said in a statement:
“Use of force cases can only be charged if we can prove that it was unreasonable for the officer to be in fear for their life or someone else’s … Whether or not the officer could have used another tactic such as non-lethal force, or simply waiting, is not a factor we can even consider under current law.”
Gongora Pat, 45, was killed during a confrontation with police in which he was allegedly armed with a knife near the corner of Shotwell and 18th streets. Police identified the two officers who shot Gongora as Sgt. Nate Steger and Officer Michael Mellone.
Woods, 26, was killed on Dec. 2, 2015, when five officers fired their weapons at him near Keith Street and Fitzgerald Avenue after he allegedly refused to put down a knife. The officers were identified by police as Winson Seto, Antonio Santos, Charles August, Nicholas Cuevas and Scott Phillips.
Following the announcement, the family of Luis Gongora Pat and their supporters rallied outside the Hall of Justice and called for Gascon’s resignation.
According to the family, they had been given a one-day notice to meet with Gascon ahead of today’s announcement, but declined the meeting after they were told that their spokeswoman, Adriana Camarena, and a member of the Mexican consulate would not be allowed to attend.
The mother of Mario Woods, Gwendolyn Woods, did not attend the rally.
Attorney Adante Pointer, who is representing both families in federal lawsuits, was also in attendance at the rally and vowed to seek charges in federal court.