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Increasing police killing of blacks sparks off protest in U.S.

US President, Barack Obama

US President, Barack Obama

DOZENS of people have marched into San Francisco’s City Hall protesting police killing of a black man earlier this month and demanding the firing of the city’s police chief.

The demonstration came amid unrest across the United States over high-profile police killings of black people from cities like Ferguson, Missouri, to Chicago and Baltimore since mid-2014, and a renewed civil rights movement under the name Black Lives Matter.

According to Reuters, the San Francisco demonstrators carried signs and chanted phrases like “Fire Chief Suhr” as they took to City Hall to protest the December 2 , 2015 shooting death of 26-year-old Mario Woods.

Protesters had railed against San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr numerous times over the shooting, which was captured on camera by bystanders and described as unnecessary by the city’s Public Defender.

Suhr responded to the shooting by saying Woods, who was a suspect in a stabbing, was a threat to officers. He had called for equipping his police force with Tasers to prevent similar shootings in the future.

Protesters disagreed with that assessment on Thursday, however, according to the video footage. One man can be heard saying: “Tasers were not the answer. Tasers are not the answer.”

San Francisco police said officers encountered Woods while investigating reports that someone matching his description had stabbed someone in the shoulder. Police said they first tried using pepper spray and firing bean bag rounds at Woods, who they said was holding a knife and refused orders to drop it.

Video of the shooting showed one of about a dozen officers in a phalanx move directly in front of Woods, who was attempting to walk away. Officers opened fire, killing him in a hail of gunfire. Police said in a statement that he was a danger to others and that “officers could not allow him room to harm anyone else.”

Woods’ family had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city earlier this month.

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