Colin Kaepernick Says 2015 Police Shooting of Mario Woods Inspired His Activism

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

Colin Kaepernick attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the
Charles Sykes/Associated Press

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick revealed the origin of his desire to become an activist in an interview with Paper on Tuesday.

In the interview with Miabelle Bocicault, Dr. Ameer Hasan Loggins and Dr. Christopher Petrella, Kaepernick said the shooting death of Mario Woods in December 2015 was the catalyst.

Woods was shot and killed at the age of 26 by San Francisco police after he allegedly refused to drop a knife he reportedly used to stab a man. Investigators determined that 26 shots were fired by five different police officers.

The San Francisco police officers were not charged in the shooting death of Woods, and it was determined by an internal affairs unit that they "acted within policy."

Woods' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, and it was settled in June, with the city paying Woods' mother $400,000.

Kaepernick referred to Woods' death as an "execution," and he said it led to him reading books about activists such as Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton. That set the stage for Kaepernick's creation of the youth empowerment Know Your Rights Camp.

Also, Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem prior to NFL games in 2016 in protest against racial and social injustice in the United States.

Kaepernick has gone unsigned since parting ways with the 49ers following the 2016 campaign, and he settled a collusion grievance with the NFL in February.