An autopsy report released by a medical examiner Thursday revealed San Francisco police officers shot Mario Woods more than 20 times — several times in the back — when he allegedly refused to drop a knife on Dec. 2, 2015.
Woods’ death, which was caught on cell phone video, sparked numerous protests and echoed the growing concern over the use of deadly force by police officers against African-Americans. Just last week, the Justice Department announced an investigation of the police department’s practices.
The medical examiner’s report lists 21 gunshot wounds, several to Woods’ back. The 26-year-old was grazed in the face by a bullet. According to CNN, who obtained the report from network affiliate KRON, Woods also sustained “five injuries from less than lethal firearm rounds and six injuries likely caused by shrapnel.”
Marijuana, methamphetamine, and two kinds of anti-depressants were found in the young man’s system.
His official cause of death is listed as “multiple gunshot wounds.”
Though the San Francisco Police Officers Association said “the report speaks for itself,” the department released a statement following the examination that acknowledged the shooting — and the results — may heighten the public’s distrust of law enforcement.
“It is difficult for anyone to watch videos of the shooting. Similarly, it is equally as difficult to read the Medical Examiner’s report,” the statement said. “That said, newly released information in the autopsy report appears to corroborate facts gathered by investigators in the aftermath of this tragic incident.”
Police opened fire on Woods, who they say was a suspect in an earlier stabbing, after he refused to put down a knife. After shooting bean bags and pepper spray at the young man — methods they say didn’t stop Woods — police used firearms “fearing serious injury or death.”
The five police officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.