ACLU publishes blog after decision not to indict officers in Alex Nieto murder

The ACLU published a blog about the need for police reform following the decision not to indict the officers involved in Alex Nieto’s death – connecting the dots between racially-motivated police brutality and the need for policing reform.

The Alex Nieto Coalition is excited about this blog and hope everyone will read the blog below:

https://www.aclunc.org/blog/alex-nieto-black-and-brown-lives-and-need-policing-reform

Analysis and Evaluation of the DA’s Report Concluding No Charges by Ben Bac Sierra

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Read DA Gascón’s report here: SFPD Incident 140240512

Contributing coalition member Ben Bac Sierra writes:

THE REAL NEWS ABOUT ALEX NIETO! Analysis and evaluation of the San Francisco District Attorney’s report deciding not to file criminal charges against San Francisco police officers who killed Alex Nieto on March 21, 2014.

Welcome to the real news!

Scholarship student and security guard Alex Nieto never pointed a taser at San Francisco Police Officers Sawyer and Schiff. There is at least one witness who saw everything and emphatically confirms that Alex Nieto never pointed a taser at officers. This witness was never interviewed for the district attorney’s report.

But for one moment let’s forget the witness. The district attorney’s report accepts the police department narrative: two veteran San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) police officers have their weapons drawn aiming directly at Alex Nieto who is eating a bag of chips walking down the hill. Both officers KNOW he has a firearm. These two READY police officers then allow Alex to square off with them, reach into his holster (they KNOW he has a gun), and they allow Alex to point this “gun” directly at them BEFORE they finally make the decision to start shooting at him 59 times.

This tale is ridiculous and unbelievable, yet they expect us to accept it.

There was no reason for Alex to have been shot at 59 times! This entire sham is a cover up to hide the SFPD’s incompetence, lack of fire discipline, and illegal and intimidating investigation. They will not take responsibility for killing an innocent, promising young man, Alex Nieto, our brother.

I was Alex’s best friend. For credibility purposes, so that you will not dismiss this as some illogical rant, I must provide you with credentials: I am a combat Marine Corps veteran. I hold a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, a Master’s in English, and a Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Hastings. I have been a college professor for over a dozen years. I am a published author. You can trust that I have analyzed and evaluated this district attorney’s report not to file criminal charges against San Francisco Police Officers.

I now will begin an investigation into the report:

    • During an April 2014 meeting with me, the lawyer for the case, the Nieto family and the district attorney (D.A.) and his subordinates, San Francisco D.A. Gascon promised a thorough investigation regarding the entire shooting and its aftermath. He promised he would investigate the totality of the crimes involved with this shooting.
    • The DA did not thoroughly investigate or question the shooting itself, nor did he investigate the action of SFPD after the shooting—the illegal interrogation of the Nietos, the unlawful extraction of confidential medical records, the attempted warrantless search of the Nietos’ residence, the robbery and warrantless search of Alex Nieto’s car. Why did the police act in such a secretive manipulative manner if the shooting was justified? Why did the police claim to the media incorrect statements that Alex had a gun when they immediately knew, according to the DA report, that Alex had only a taser? This evidence must be examined and looked at as part of the totality of the crimes committed.
    • On page one and two of the report, there is a section dedicated to explaining an encounter with a dog owner witness who saw Alex on the day he was killed. This male witness has absolutely nothing to do with any police reporting about Alex. He never called 911. No police officers knew anything about this witness, so he should have no bearing on the officers’ response to the hill that day. Is the witness a licensed psychiatrist to determine whether a person who looks around at his environment is acting erratically? A trial would have led to this witness’s cross examination. I repeat: he does not contribute in any way to the police coming because he never contacted the police, and the police knew nothing about this witness or an altercation when they came with a military mindset to kill Alex.
    • On page one and two, an exchange between Alex and an uncontrollable dog is described. It is completely reasonable that Alex would have felt threatened by a large dog that was “following” and harassing him and not under the control of the owner. Alex even moved away from the dog to another set of benches in order to avoid conflict with the dog. Yet the dog persisted in harassing him. Alex even tried to wave the dog away. The dog barked aggressively and could not be controlled by the irresponsible owner. Aggressive dogs that do not pay attention to their owners can be a lethal threat to a person. Alex would have been fully justified in attempting to defend himself from this uncontrollable dog. This was a giant dog, yet its description is nowhere mentioned in the report. The DA report simply accepts the owner’s account of what happened, which is biased, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, completely irrelevant to the shooting because this owner never contacted police, perhaps because he knew he was to blame for his aggressive, uncontrollable, unleashed dog. Police knew nothing about this dog owner witness.
    • Alex must have been justifiably shaken from this dog attack.
    • According to page two of the report, two witnesses see Alex and believe he has a gun. He did not brandish it or point it. In fact according to the DA report, Alex did absolutely NOTHING to these two male witnesses who actually called the police. The witnesses do not even claim that Alex ever even looked at them!
  • According to the bottom of page two, no 911 call or radio dispatch claims Alex Nieto is doing anything that is erratic or violent. We now have confirmed evidence that Alex never threatened anyone, yet the SFPD rushed up to Bernal Hill in an aggressive military manner to kill someone.
  • On page three, according to Officer Sawyer, as Alex walked down the hill, he continued eating from his bag of chips. Consider Alex’s intent and mindset: he had no clue that anyone had called the police on him because he had done nothing wrong. He was minding his own business eating his chips. He did not imagine that the police were there for him. Any reasonable police officer seeing someone eating a bag of chips should have known that this person is not a violent threat. Yet they approach him in a daunting, life threatening manner with their guns drawn on him.
  • On page three of the report it states that when officers see Alex they believe he is the suspect. Officer Sawyer believes he sees a bulge under his jacket that may be a gun. Officer Schiff certainly sees what he believes is a holstered weapon.
  • Officers exit their patrol car with guns drawn on Alex.
    • They state that then Alex lifted his arms and exposed what appeared to them to be a holstered weapon.
  • Let’s review: They both now know that Alex Nieto has a pistol and they have their own guns aimed right at him; their weapons are drawn.
    • They then claim that Alex takes his weapon out of his holster and points it at both of the ready and trained officers, and the officers allow him to do this.
    • For argument’s sake, let us accept this narrative yet question it. If Alex had drawn his weapon, and the veteran police officers have their own pistols aimed right at him, and they justifiably believe he has a gun, why did they not immediately shoot when Alex even attempted to reach for his weapon? Why would trained police officers allow themselves to be tracked by someone with a gun?
    • This narrative is completely unbelievable. Once Alex would have reached for his weapon, officers would have immediately fired, especially since they already had their weapons drawn and pointed at him.
    • Why would Alex Nieto even point a taser at police officers when he has done nothing wrong? He is ready for work as a security guard (he’s scheduled in less than two hours). He has no criminal history and has never been arrested in his life.
    • On page three, why does the report reference the first shots fired by Officers Sawyer and Schiff as “a number of shots?” Why can’t they say exactly how many shots they fired at that moment and who fired first?
    • This D.A report’s summary of the shooting is completely inconsistent with the audio. There were first two shots and then there was a seven second pause. Then there was more firing, what we now know was a total of 59 shots!
  • On page four, why did Officer Morse “kick” the taser out of Alex’s hands? Why not take a picture at that moment?
  • According to page five, the police started shooting Alex at 7:18:40, and they claim that according to a memory device inside of the taser, that it was discharged at 7:18:45, 7:18:52, and 7:19:02. If this is accurate, and they claim that Alex is standing (from page three) during at least the 7:18:45 taser discharge, why didn’t police officers Sawyer and Schiff see that Alex would have discharged a taser that shot out a wire and darts, not bullets? Did Alex Nieto ever point a taser at officers if they could not see that he would have discharged an electric taser? Can it be possible that once the police began shooting, Alex then attempted to defend himself but did not even point the taser at the officers? Perhaps a bullet struck the taser?
  • Is lack of fire discipline by these police officers the real problem that occurred? Throughout this entire shooting, they did not have fire discipline and thought they were at the Wild West and could not tell they were in absolutely no danger from Alex.
  • On page four, Officer Morse states he thought “Mr. Nieto was firing at them when he heard popping sounds and saw what he thought were muzzle flashes.” Officer Morse cannot tell that it is only officers who are shooting because no one is taking responsibility for fire control or calling for a cease fire. Officer Morse completely imagines that there are muzzle flashes coming from Alex, but that is impossible because Alex Nieto does not have a firearm.
  • The San Francisco Police Officers were reckless in the way they fired their weapons, not taking into account possible civilian victims. They could not even find all of their bullet casings or other evidence from the taser.
  • Now we move onto the SFPD’s cover up and illegal investigation:
  • After the killing of Alex Nieto, why did SFPD tell the media that Alex had a gun when they knew that he only had a taser? They knew then that that was a lie, but it was a way to buy time for their cover up, which began in earnest after the unlawful killing.
  • There were only two officers who supposedly saw Alex draw his taser. We know of at least one witness who states certainly that Alex Nieto never pointed a taser. Why didn’t the district attorney interview this witness?
  • On page six of the report, the police claim that Alex should have known not to point a taser at officers because he owned a CD version of the taser’s operating manual “that was located in Mr. Nieto’s car.” How did police obtain that CD? The day after the unlawful killing SFPD stole Alex Nieto’s car and performed a warrantless search of it. THE D.A. IS USING AN ILLEGALLY OBTAINED CD FROM ALEX’S CAR AS EVIDENCE FOR WHY THEY WILL NOT PROSECUTE OFFICERS AND TO FURTHER DEFAME ALEX NIETO! Why isn’t the police department’s stealing of Alex’s car seen as suspicious?
  • The day after the killing, SFPD investigators are sent to intimidate the Nieto family. They attempt a warrantless search of the residence and extract information that they use to slander and smear Alex Nieto. Through their intimidating investigation of the Nietos, the SFPD found that Alex had medical records at San Francisco General Hospital.
  • How did confidential medical records get released in less than three days (for Chief of Police Greg Suhr’s town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 25, 2014) without authorization? Who authorized this release of confidential medical records? Releasing confidential medical information is a crime.
  • We were guaranteed that the D.A. would investigate the totality of the crimes involved, yet he focused on the singular shooting AND Alex’s irrelevant past. The officers knew nothing about Alex when they approached him on March 21. Now it is confirmed: No broadcast to police or 911 call gives any negative description about Alex Nieto.

I have had less than 20 hours to prepare this statement. The San Francisco District Attorney had 10 months to investigate and to write a flawed eight page report.

This is the real news.

Amor for Alex,

Benjamin Bac Sierra, M.A., J.D.

Alex Nieto at Accion Latina

The Broken System: No consequence, no confidence. A response to the non-indictment of Alex Nieto’s killers. 

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The Nieto Family refused to meet with D.A. Gascón today to receive the disappointing and all predictable news: no charges filed against the killers of Alex Nieto. We stand with the Nieto Family by turning our backs on the criminal justice system too.

Call out to supporters: Meet at the steps of 850 Bryant at 2pm.

A response to the non indictment of the officers who killed Alex Nieto…

THE BROKEN SYSTEM: NO CONSEQUENCE, NO CONFIDENCE

It doesn’t work to have the police investigate themselves.

It doesn’t work to have prosecutors, who are colleagues of police, lead investigations into police crimes.

It doesn’t work to have a former Chief of Police act as prosecutor in a police shooting.

It doesn’t work to reward and promote officers who are suspects in an open investigation.

It doesn’t work to have a police union that bullies democratic institutions into publicly protecting a cover-up.

It doesn’t work to have legal standards that always favor police version of events.

It doesn’t work to have a Mayor who has been AWOL in the face of Alex Nieto’s brutal killing by his police force.

It doesn’t work to petition the State for redress when the consequence is always impunity.

Today we abandon any expectation that the officers who killed Alex Nieto will be held personally accountable according to law.

Today we turn our backs on San Francisco’s criminal justice system, because it turned its back on us.

As far as police shootings go, we have no more confidence in the City government.

With the absence of an indictment in the case of Alex Nieto, it is the government institutions themselves that must be put on public trial.

The lack of a criminal indictment does not mean a lack of consequences for the officers who killed Alex Nieto. Today begins the public trial and public shaming of his killers and their accomplices:

Lieutenant Jason Sawyer you are a killer.

Officer Roger Morse you are a killer.

Officer Richard Schiff you are a killer.

Officer Nathan Chew you are a killer.

Chief of Police Greg Suhr you are an accomplice to killers.

District Attorney George Gascón you are an accomplice to killers.

Mayor Ed Lee you are an accomplice to killers.

You are declared guilty by the people, guilty by our community.

We will continue to shine light on this broken system until police officers who kill are made personally accountable by standards satisfactory to the communities in which they kill.

This public trial will not end until the system that doesn’t work is fixed.

No consequence, no confidence.

San Francisco, CA
Friday February 13th, 2014
www.justice4alexnieto.org

Who killed Alex Nieto? A people’s investigation…

Website Officers Photo_001

Who killed Alex Nieto? A people’s investigation…

Below is the most current information about the officers involved in the shooting of Alex Nieto. We will continuously update this post as we learn more.

You can help! Community members often provide the most valuable information about officers in their communities. Should you have any information regarding the behavior of the officers involved in the shooting of Alex Nieto, on or off duty, please contact:

Adante Pointer
Law Offices of John Burris
adante.pointer@johnburrislaw.com
510-839-5200

or

info@justice4alexnieto.org

Thanks!

Four shooters and two other officers present at shooting

Since the Town Hall meeting in March 2014, we’ve known that a sergeant and three other officers killed Alex Nieto. More than nine months later, in January 2015, we learned their names:

Lt. Jason Sawyer

Sgt. (now Lt.) Sawyer, photo posted by California's Deadliest Cops on Facebook

Sgt. (now Lt.) Sawyer, photo posted by California’s Deadliest Cops on Facebook

  • Commanding officer at the shooting of Alex Nieto.
  • First to arrive and respond: Chief Greg Suhr revealed at a Town Hall meeting in March 2014 that a sergeant and an officer from Ingleside Station were the first to arrive. Therefore, Sgt. Sawyer was one of two officers first to encounter Alex Nieto.
  • In 1998, Sawyer and Officer Furminger were involved in the questionable shooting of John Smart. (Furminger was also one of the killers of Idriss Stelley in 2001; Furminger was later convicted on federal felony charges in December 2014.)
  • Received medals of valor for the 1998 shooting (not confirmed if actually awarded) and again in 2008 (incident for award unknown)
  • Sgt. Sawyer promoted to Lt. Sawyer after Alex Nieto’s killing, stationed now at Park Station.

News quote:

Lt. Sawyer, now of Park station, was a sergeant at the time of the shooting and a longtime veteran of the department. In 1998, he was involved in the fatal shooting of ad executive John Smart after Smart allegedly used his Mercedes-Benz to pin Officer Ian Furminger to a parking meter.

Both officers were awarded the gold medal of valor for their involvement in the 1998 shooting, though an internal investigation and Office of Citizens Complaints probe had not been completed. Furminger was convicted last month of taking and dividing up thousands of dollars found during searches of drug dealers and their homes, and depriving suspects of their rights. ” (Source: SF Gate)

Officer Roger Morse

Of. Morse, photo posted by California's Deadliest Cops on Facebook

Of. Morse, photo posted by California’s Deadliest Cops on Facebook

Mission Local reports that in 2008 Morse and his partner crashed their cruiser into a liquor store at 3:30am. We do not know if these officers faced any consequence.

Officers Roger Morse and Nicholas Suslow had been responding to an assignment near the corner of Geneva Avenue and Vienna Street around 3:30 a.m. when their car slammed into a light pole, a tree, and the front of a liquor store before coming to rest on the sidewalk, according to San Francisco police Lt. Frank Lee.

The light pole in turn shattered the window of a second-floor apartment, narrowly missing a crib with a sleeping baby. (Source: Mission Local, SF Gate)

Officer Richard Schiff

N/A

Officer Nathan “Nate” Chew

All we know so far is that Chew plays basketball, a lot, on police officer teams according to POA newsletters…

We’re waiting to learn more about…

Other officers present during the shooting

Officers who secured homicide scene

Officers who carried out homicide investigation, harassing Nieto family in the process

Will there be a criminal indictment?

Police officers can only discharge their weapons when officers hold an objectively reasonable belief that there is a serious threat to their safety or the safety of another person. However, the definition of an “objectively reasonable belief” is determined based on what another officer might believe, not what a reasonable person (like yourself or one of us) might believe. Therefore, we are caught in a Catch-22 that favors police impunity.

In the vast majority of cases, district attorneys find no evidence to indict police officers who kill people, because they nearly always find that an officer acted “reasonably.” This has been seen in recent cases, such as the killings of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Andy Lopez and Yanira Serrano-Garcia. Our District Attorney George Gascón has yet to declare whether he will pursue an indictment.

Community knows that an injustice has been committed already, but the law has to catch-up. The Alex Nieto Case already set a legal precedent regarding police anonymity, perhaps we can help establish another to end police impunity.

Learn more about our petition for an independent federal investigation.

What is the evidence that a crime was committed?

The Alex Nieto case provides some evidence that police officers acted unlawfully. The most compelling and uncontroversial evidence so far of an unlawful killing of Alex Nieto are the following facts:
(1) Alex was killed by two distinct volleys of shots.
(2) Alex was alive, wounded, and on the ground after the first round of shots were fired.
(3) After an approximate 6 second pause, officers mentioned above decide to shoot again, until Alex stops moving. (Source: Audio from home security camera recording; Greg Suhr at Town Hall Meeting; witnesses)

The above are uncontested facts, whether you believe police version of events or the facts as presented in the Federal Criminal Case filed by the Nietos. This means that Alex Nieto was killed after he was wounded and fell to the ground.

We believe there is no evidence that Alex presented any threat at all, before or once the shooting began.

(4) The autopsy report supports the narrative that two sets of shots were fired. There are four upward trajectory non-lethal wounds to Alex’s wrists, right leg, and arm. There are eleven downward trajectory shots to his face, chest, and back.

We believe the second set of shots killed Alex Nieto. Furthermore, seven of those eleven downward shots are in a direct head to toe direction to his left temple, top of left shoulder, lumbar and chest. The eleven downward trajectory shots, but particularly those seven astonishing shots, indicate to us that Alex was in a completely defenseless position, when he was actually killed. The deliberate decisions of officers to kill him, when he was already on the ground and wounded, could imply criminal intent and therefore murder.

Learn more about the facts and opposing versions of events by reading Alex’s Story.

Remember: You can help us learn more about these officers!

Should you have any information regarding the behavior of the officers involved in the shooting of Alex Nieto, on or off duty, please contact:

Adante Pointer
Law Offices of John Burris
adante.pointer@johnburrislaw.com
510-839-5200

or

info@justice4alexnieto.org

Thanks!

Making legal history! Nieto Case sets limits on police anonymity!

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Anonymity: SFPD acted against public interest and the interest of justice for more than nine months

For more than nine months, SFPD acted against public interest and against the interest of justice by hiding the names of the police officers involved in Alex Nieto’s killing. Supporters of Justice4AlexNieto have been saying this from the beginning. Guess what? The justice system and legal scholars agreed with us. Community knows best…!

Release of officers’ names: The breakthrough in SFPD’s cover-up campaign also shapes a judicial precedent

Monday marked the deadline set by a federal judge in the Nieto Family’s civil rights case against the City & County of San Francisco (the “Federal Civil Case”) to end the confidentiality under which SFPD, and subsequently the City Attorney, held those names for more than nine months.

According to Chief Greg Suhr himself, SFPD policy in an officer-involved shooting is to reveal the names of the officers immediately. (Source: Interview on 1010AM Hecho en California.) This policy of transparency was already backed by a CA Supreme Court resolution from March 2014 (the “Long Beach Case”) which ruled that the names of officers are not confidential, unless exceptional circumstances require otherwise. (Please read the article below on the Long Beach Case.)

After Alex Nieto was killed, SFPD claimed that a “credible threat” to officers’ safety impeded them from revealing the names of the officers involved in his shooting. On November 12th, 2014, the nature of that “credible threat” was made public by Chief Greg Suhr. Chief Suhr’s explained in an interview on 1010am Hecho en California that the threat was made:
(1) shortly after Alex was killed
(2) on social media (rumor says, on Facebook, but police now say a phone call was also made)
(3) by someone living outside the country (rumor says, in Mexico), and
(4) by someone known to SFPD (implying they were keeping tabs on him.)

This alleged “credible threat” and the Long Beach Case were put to the test during the discovery phase of the Federal Civil Case. Presiding Magistrate Judge Cousins did not find the alleged threat sufficiently credible to continue hiding the names from public knowledge. Among other things, Magistrate Cousins considered plaintiff’s argument that keeping the names confidential not only went against public interest, but also against the interest of justice, given that confidentiality would place the Nieto Family’s attorney (Adante Pointer) in an impossible situation to carry out an independent investigation without revealing the names or restricting him to information exclusively obtained from SFPD or the City Attorney. The result would have been a lopsided case in which the City Attorney became ‘master of the case’ to the detriment of justice.

Ultimately, Magistrate Cousins saw no end in sight for such a vague threat affecting the judicial process:

Cousins said that without a more straightforward timeline for the threats to be resolved, the anonymity could continue indefinitely, making it prudent to set a date for the protective order to expire since it limits the plaintiff’s ability to investigate the case. (Source: Mission Local on 12/22/2014 discovery hearing)

The Alex Nieto Case: Legal history in the making! Legal scholars are paying attention.

Below is an extract from Alex Emslie’s KQED report regarding the Long Beach Case “Supreme Court Ruling Paved Way for Release of SFPD Names in Nieto Killing.”

A Credible Threat

The Supreme Court ruled that “generally, the public has a right to know the identity of an officer involved in an on-duty shooting.” But, the ruling says, “We do not hold that the names of officers involved in shootings have to be disclosed in every case, regardless of the circumstances.”

The circumstances involve what the Supreme Court majority calls “particularized,” or specific, evidence that “it is essential to protect an officer’s anonymity for safety reasons or for reasons peculiar to the officer’s duties.”

UC Hastings law Professor David Levine said there have been very few, if any, cases that have tested the disclosure requirements laid out in the Long Beach decision.

He said the Nieto case is “one of the first cases, if not the first case, to test the ruling in the Long Beach case, especially in the context that we’ve seen this heightened sensitivity in these police shooting cases.”

“How are you going to say these are credible threats when this person isn’t even in the damn country?” Pointer said. “If that’s the precedent, any whacko could make a threat, and the police could say this guy made a threat two years ago, and we don’t have to release the information.”

Levine said in light of the Long Beach ruling, it’d be difficult to reach another conclusion.

“The case comes down so strongly in favor of disclosure, I can see why the magistrate would reach that conclusion,” he said. “Unless you thought that it was both credible and imminent, meaning in a pretty short time frame, the values of disclosure that the Long Beach case expresses are going to outweigh the vagueness of a less credible threat. But if you’re wrong, and then the name is released, and within a relatively short period of time, we find ourselves with another officer murdered, that’s a really tough decision for a judge.”

Who are these officers? You can help us know more.

To learn more about the officers involved in the shooting of Alex Nieto, please check our new post dedicated to revealing their background. This page will be continuously updated as we learn more also.

Community members often provide the most valuable information about officers’ behavior in their communities. Should you have any information regarding the behavior of these officers in community, on or off duty, please contact:

Adante Pointer
Law Offices of John Burris
adante.pointer@johnburrislaw.com
510-839-5200

or

info@justice4alexnieto.org

Thanks!

Lisa Ganser, new neighbor, has a message about how to be a good new neighbor in the highly gentrified neighborhoods of Bernal and the Mission.

Lisa Ganser, new neighbor, has a message about how to be a good new neighbor in the highly gentrified neighborhoods of Bernal and the Mission.

Press conference statement! On release of names of officers who killed Alex Nieto

1.5.2015 Supporters attend press conference on release of officers' names

Yesterday, Monday January 5th, 2014, supporters gathered for a press conference at the Alex Nieto Memorial in the Alex Nieto Memorial Park (previously known as Bernal Heights Park) to address the release of the names of the officers who killed Alex Nieto. Below is the statement released by Ben Bac Sierra, a main supporter of the justice cause for Alex Nieto. The Nieto Family and their attorney Adante Pointer were also present at the press conference.

Press conference statement on behalf of supporters by Ben Bac Sierra

1.5.2015 Ben Bac Sierra makes statement on behalf of supporters on release of officers' names.

1.5.2015 Ben Bac Sierra makes statement on behalf of supporters on release of officers’ names.

PRESS CONFERENCE STATEMENT:

The names of the shooting officers who killed Alex Nieto have been released. They are

Jason Sawyer
Richard Schiff
Roger Morse and
Nathan Chew.

We, the community, celebrate the release of these names as a victory because the officers’ names had been unlawfully hidden from us for nine months. Because of our marching, organizing, lowriding, poetry, speeches, sharing of meals, writing, and Amor for Alex Nieto, San Francisco was forced by us and one U.S. federal judge to obey the United States Constitution.

Of course, now we will learn more about these officers’ records and experiences, and we will also begin to unravel the truth of what happened on this hill on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 7:18 p.m., less than two hours before Alex Nieto’s shift as a security guard who was licensed to carry a taser. Police reports, witness statements, and depositions will follow. But before we waste any more precious time and energy, we propose this to the machinery of San Francisco:

Stop this torture of the family and community. Stop this circus of injustice. Tell the truth: Alex Nieto never pointed any taser at police officers. You insult our intellect and attempt to hurt us by spreading lies. You make us distrustful of who you are to us, the community.

San Francisco Police Department, protect and serve us by telling the truth. Confession is liberation for a brave soul. Do not honor a dishonorable code of silence. Officers Sawyer, Schiff, Morse, and Chew, officers who witnessed this killing, officers who responded to the scene of this crime and heard and saw the cover up; confess and protect those who are most victimized, your human brown and black brothers and sisters.

San Franciscans, do not allow yourself to be repeatedly embarrassed by the United States federal government. You should be able to manage your own affairs. Mayor Ed Lee, demonstrate leadership through the example of Mahatma Gandhi’s truth force. You are the elected mayor of San Francisco! District Attorney Gascon, recuse yourself from the Alex Nieto case. You were the former San Francisco chief of police and cannot objectively process this prosecution.

Thank you for your attention, and Amor for Alex Nieto!

Amor!

 

1.5.2015 Supporters attend press conference on release of officers' names

1.5.2015 Supporters attend press conference on release of officers’ names

Who are the officers?

To learn more about the officers involved in the shooting of Alex Nieto, please check our new post dedicated to revealing their background. Should you have any information regarding the behavior of these officers in community, on or off duty, please contact:

Adante Pointer
Law Offices of John Burris
adante.pointer@johnburrislaw.com
510-839-5200

or

info@justice4alexnieto.org

1.5.2015 Alex Nieto Memorial site during press conference

1.5.2015 Alex Nieto Memorial site during press conference

Press conference! Call to Community Action! Names of killer cops now known! 2pm, Alex Nieto Memorial Site

2014.8.22 March Press Collage_001

Press conference: Names released of officers who killed Alex Nieto!

Joined by the Nieto family, we will make a public statement about the shooting officers’ names finally being revealed.

Press Conference on Monday, 1-5-15
Names released of officers who killed Alex Nieto
Today at 2:00pm
Alex Nieto Memorial Site, Alex Nieto Memorial Park
(formerly Bernal Heights Park in San Francisco, California)

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

Supporters welcome!

Please come today to the Alex Nieto Memorial Site at the Alex Nieto Memorial Park (previously known as Bernal Heights Park) to show your support for Justice 4 Alex Nieto at a press conference!

Names of killer cops finally released after more than 9 months of community pressure and legal action!

Today is the official court date of release of the names of the officers who killed Alex Nieto and two other officers present at the shooting. For nine months community members have been clamoring for the release of these names. In a false show of transparency, SFPD leaked the names to the press last Friday January 2nd, 2014. These names were ordered to be made public by a federal court judge, because the excuse used by SFPD for the previous nine months held no legal grounds. This is a community victory!

Sgt. (now Lt.) Sawyer, photo posted by California's Deadliest Cops on Facebook

Sgt. (now Lt.) Sawyer, photo posted by California’s Deadliest Cops on Facebook

SFPD and the City have been involved in a cover-up campaign since the start. It therefore comes as no surprise that Sgt. Jason Sawyer, who was the commanding officer at the scene and first to respond, was previously involved in another questionable shooting in 1998 with Officer Furminger, the later convicted on federal felony charges just last month. (Furminger was also one of the killers of Idriss Stelley in 2001.) Sgt. Sawyer was promoted to Lt. after he killed Alex Nieto.

We’ve also learned that Officer Roger Morse, in 2008, crashed his cruiser with his partner into a liquor store at 3:30am without admonishment of consequence that we know about.

Of. Morse, photo posted by California's Deadliest Cops on Facebook

Of. Morse, photo posted by California’s Deadliest Cops on Facebook

 

The police officers who perpetuated Alex Nieto’s unwarranted killing will finally get the close public scrutiny they deserve.

Let’s hope justice follows…

Come be part of a movement to end police impunity in San Francisco! Join us on the Hill today to express your solidarity.

Thank you!

 

Community victory! Officers who killed Alex Nieto are named, public scrutiny follows

Jason Sawyer receives medal of valor. Photo Credit: Sf Gate, Brant Ward

Community victory! Officers who killed Alex Nieto finally named!

Today Friday, SFPD revealed to media outlets the names of the officers responsible for killing Alex Nieto. The four officers who killed Alex Nieto are

Sgt. Jason Sawyer

Officer Roger Morse

Officer Richard Schiff, and

Officer Nathan Chew.

The release of the officers’ names is a victory achieved through nine months of constant community pressure for transparency and accountability in the police killing of Alex Nieto, backed by solid legal action. By order of a federal court judge, the names of these four officers and two other officers present during the shooting were going to be made public on Monday January 5th, 2015.  (On Monday we’ll learn the names of the other two officers who were present at the shooting of Alex Nieto, but who did not discharge their weapons.)

2014.12.3 Alex Nieto Rally We Want Names June Jordan

June Jordan students stand with the Nietos at a rally outside the federal courthouse demanding “We Want Names!” 12.3.2014

 

SFPD’s cover-up stumbles

SFPD and the City have carried out a cover-up campaign since Alex Nieto was shot to death over fourteen times on March 21, 2014. We believe they are hiding evidence and information relevant to his shooting. A court order was necessary to get them to release the names of the officers they insistently kept out of the public eye. It therefore comes as no surprise that Sgt. Jason Sawyer, who was the commanding officer at the scene and first to respond, was previously involved in another questionable shooting alongside Officer Furminger, the later convicted on federal felony charges just last month. (Furminger was also one of the killers of Idriss Stelley in 2001.)
Sgt. Sawyer was promoted to Lt. Sawyer after Alex Nieto’s killing.

Lt. Sawyer, now of Park station, was a sergeant at the time of the shooting and a longtime veteran of the department. In 1998, he was involved in the fatal shooting of ad executive John Smart after Smart allegedly used his Mercedes-Benz to pin Officer Ian Furminger to a parking meter.

Both officers were awarded the gold medal of valor for their involvement in the 1998 shooting, though an internal investigation and Office of Citizens Complaints probe had not been completed. Furminger was convicted last month of taking and dividing up thousands of dollars found during searches of drug dealers and their homes, and depriving suspects of their rights. ” (Source: SF Gate)

On Officer Roger Morse, Mission Local reports that in 2008 he and his partner crashed their cruiser into a liquor store at 3:30am without consequence.

Officers Roger Morse and Nicholas Suslow had been responding to an assignment near the corner of Geneva Avenue and Vienna Street around 3:30 a.m. when their car slammed into a light pole, a tree, and the front of a liquor store before coming to rest on the sidewalk, according to San Francisco police Lt. Frank Lee.

The light pole in turn shattered the window of a second-floor apartment, narrowly missing a crib with a sleeping baby. (Source: Mission Local, SF Gate)

The police officers who perpetuated Alex Nieto’s unwarranted killing will finally get the close public scrutiny they deserve. Let’s hope justice follows…

Nieto Family happy to gain a first step towards transparency

Elvira and Refugio Nieto, parents of Alex, expected to learn the names of the officers who killed their son on Monday January 5th, 2014, when the confidentiality order would be lifted. The parents however learned this critical information about Alex’s death once again based on media reports, rather than through responsible communication by SFPD and the City.  This is the pattern established since Alex was killed.  SFPD moves in the shadows, abusing their power to create a smear campaign about Alex Nieto, while hiding relevant information about the shooting.

Supporters delivered the news to Elvira and Refugio Nieto. The Nietos were very happy to learn about the release of names. In the words of Elvira, “…this is one step forward towards knowing what happened that day on the Hill.” Refugio Nieto praised the labor of supporters who joined them in demanding the truth about Alex’s killing.

The large yellow banners bearing Alex Nieto’s that were placed atop Bernal Heights Park on his 9th month anniversary were still flying high today.

-The truth shall set us free.

Court News: Names of officers who killed Alex Nieto will be made public on January 5th, 2015

art-by-dan-elijah-g-fajardo

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
“Quisieron enterranos sin saber que eramos semillas.”
– Mexican proverb

Names of officers involved in the homicide of Alex Nieto to be made public on January 5th, 2015

Today Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins ordered that on January 5th, 2015 secrecy surrounding the names of the officers involved in killing Alex Nieto will end. This decision came at the conclusion of a second hearing addressing whether the City & County of San Francisco could continue to keep the names of the officers involved in the homicide of Alex Nieto confidential. In attendance at the hearing was Refugio and Elvira Nieto, parents of Alex, who were relieved to learn that light would finally be shed on those responsible for their son’s homicide on March 21st, 2014.

Mission Local provided a fair account of the court proceedings of today. Click here to read.

Greg Suhr refuses to release names of officers involved in Alex's shooting

Greg Suhr refuses to release names of officers involved in Alex’s shooting

We’re done with stupid excuses…

We had previously reported that the City Attorney and SFPD insisted that there was a “credible threat” that impeded them from naming the officers who killed Alex Nieto, even after Magistrate Cousins had already once denied them such an unusual protective order. Today, the Deputy City Attorney went as far as to say that they couldn’t find the recording of Chief Suhr saying that the person who allegedly made this threat on social media (now nine months ago) lived outside of the USA. Since the Deputy City Attorney doesn’t know how to use search engines, nor the phone to call Surh and ask him what he said publicly, we’re providing the audio of the recording AGAIN below, and also a link to 1010AM Hecho en California on Facebook were they can ALSO find the link to Chief Suhr’s uncredible excuse for lack of transparency in the SFPD homicide of Alex Nieto.


Link: https://m.soundcloud.com/justice4alexnieto/chief-greg-suhr-11122014-on-1010am-hecho-en-california INTERVIEW ON ALEX NIETO STARTS AT MINUTE 15:26

1010AM Hecho en California on Facebook

At the end of the day, this nine month old “uncredible threat” was too vague, even for Magistrate Cousins. Among other things, Magistrate Cousins considered that there was actually no end in sight to when SFPD might resolve this alleged threat. Adante Pointer, the family attorney, also made the point that such confidentiality was not only highly unusual, but would allow the City to be master of the case, and impede Pointer from pursuing a full independent investigation.

In the interest of justice, we get names…

In the interest of justice, the names of the officers will be made public on January 5th, 2015. Technically, this means that the lawsuit will be amended to include the names of the FOUR officers who shot Alex and the TWO other officers who were eyewitnesses to the shooting on January 5th, 2015. There were other officers present at the hill at the moment of the shooting who may be witnesses in other forms, including how the homicide scene was secured. They too are persons of interest to community.

They didn’t know we were seeds…

If the City & County of San Francisco could continue to keep us in the dark, they would. If not for supporter’s who have helped make this case public, SFPD would bury it…! Appropriate to this moment is the saying out of #Ayotzinapa:

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
“Quisieron enterranos sin saber que eramos semillas.”
– Mexican proverb

Yesterday was Alex’s 9th month anniversary of killing on Winter Solstice, the deepest longest darkest night of the year, not only for the Nieto Family, but many other local families. Yesterday evening, we hoped for a lighter year. Today, we see the tide turning in favor of greater transparency and accountability around police brutality.

Come Spring Equinox on Alex’s one year anniversary, we’ll be sprouting. City & County of San Francisco watch out! We’re the seeds you tried to bury, but the darkness only made us stronger.

The Nieto Family ask us to extend their deepest gratitude for year long support and the many kindness extended to them by each and everyone of you.

art-by-dan-elijah-g-fajardo

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” “Quisieron enterranos sin saber que eramos semillas.” – Mexican proverb, Art by Dan Elijah G. Fajardo

 

Con Safos

Con Safos

 

 

Alex Nieto Memorial & Altar desecrated ahead of BoS vote on Resolution addressing police brutality

Memorial & Altar on 7th month anniversary versus right before 9th month anniversary

We’ve reported on prior desecrations of the Alex Nieto Memorial & Altar on Bernal Heights Park, the site were Alex was shot at least fifteen times by yet unnamed SFPD officers. We believe this to be the work of one particular person. However, we’ve noticed that past attacks have happened when the shooting of Alex Nieto gains coverage in the press.

This latest attack to the Memorial & Altar came suspiciously on the day that the Board of Supervisor was to vote on a Resolution addressing police brutality, nationally and locally. Prior to the vote, the Police Officer’s Association voiced their strong disapproval and threw its weight around the BoS.

Supporters are raising the question as to whether the person desecrating the Alex Nieto Memorial & Altar Site is associated to the POA, SFPD, or whether he is just a sole racist or moron or otherwise person incapable of respecting an entire community’s desire to hold this space as sacred for Alex Nieto. Anyone know? We’re don’t actually care much about this annoying person, but if anyone does know something about who he is, please let us know.

Elvira and Refugio Nieto immediately began restoring the site by replacing the handmade cross by Refugio.

Supporters will be campaigning for a permanent memorial in the new year. Stay tuned! We’ll need your help!

8th Month Anniversary of Alex's homicide by police

8th Month Anniversary of Alex’s homicide by police

BoS discusses Alex Nieto’s shooting and racial Bias in SF police shootings, Resolution fails after POA throws weight around

2014.12.16 Public Comments Resolution Avalos 4 Cohen BIS

A few weeks back, Supervisor John Avalos introduced a resolution to the effect of reviewing racial profiling and use of force by police. That Resolution was put up for vote yesterday Tuesday December 16th, 2014.

The original draft resolution urged the DOJ to act upon the demands of the Ferguson Action group. This first draft did not mention SFPD, nor the Alex Nieto case, but after consulting with a variety of community members, Supervisor John Avalos introduced an amended Resolution.

The amended Resolution mentioned Alex Nieto’s shooting on March 21st, 2014, as the most recent case of police brutality highlighted by protesters during nine months of peaceful non-violent protests in San Francisco, and also included data showing racial bias in police shootings in San Francisco.

After this amended Resolution was introduced, SFPD and the Police Officer’s Association threw their political weight around to thwart its success. The POA sent a letter of disapproval to John Avalos saying that SFPD was much better behaved than other police forces. (Read the Letter at the bottom of the SF Examiner’s story.)

The POA however failed to address the fact that of those killed by SFPD, since 1985, 71% of those have been people of color, and 41% of those Black, when the Black of population in San Francisco was 6% in 2013. (Source: AntiEviction Mapping Project) In other words, SFPD has a history of disproportionately killing people of color in San Francisco. It is a simple fact. This Resolution was an acknowledgement of the local and national reality.

The POA who claims SFPD is the most racially diverse police force forgot to mention in their letter a recent incident in which SFPD officers “racially profiled, choked and wrongfully arrested [a Black off-duty SFPD officer, Lorenzo Adamson] during a traffic stop by several colleagues who ignored him when he said he was an officer.” Officer Adamson filed a lawsuit against SFPD for racial profiling. (Source: “SF cop sues, claims traffic-stop racial profiling”, SF Gate.) 

The POA also avoided any mention about the recent indictment of two SFPD officers on federal felony corruption charges. (Source: SF Gate) One of those officers —Furminger— was one of the eight police officers who killed Idriss Stelley in 2001 at the Metreon. None of the officers who killed Idriss were ever indicted on criminal charges. Furminger had already killed another person while on duty, before killing Idriss, and continued to have complaints filed after Idriss’ death. (Source: SF Gate.; Account by Poor Magazine of Idriss Stelley’s shooting. )

The POA, and for that matter SFPD, also failed to address the extreme lack of transparency in hiding the names of the officers involved in the shooting of Alex Nieto after nearly 9 months since he was killed. Every name of every officer ever involved in a shooting in San Francisco is public information, except for the names of the officers who shot Alex Nieto. A recent CA Supreme Court decision ruled that releasing the names of officers cannot be denied, unless there is an exceptional reason. The reason publicly given by Chief Suhr for withholding names (and now defended by the City Attorney) is ridiculous and continues to point to a police cover-up. Also, as the case of Furminger shows, community members deserve to know the background histories of these officers working in their midst.

Cohen originally supported the Resolution, but after pressure by the POA and SFPD, she introduced another amendment to strike out any mention of Alex Nieto’s shooting and any statistics revealing racial bias by SFPD in who they shoot:

“Supervisor Malia Cohen, for example, wanted to eliminate any reference of Alex Nieto, a Latino man killed by police officers March 21 when he was shot at least 10 times. An investigation is ongoing and the names of officers involved have yet to be released.”

“We are not Ferguson,” said Supervisor London Breed, who spoke of having a strong relationship with local police officers. “I am not comfortable with a comparison of our local law enforcement to what’s happening in Ferguson.” (Source: SF Examiner)

London Breed also demanded that all data on racial bias in San Francisco officer-involved shootings be removed from the Resolution.

David Campos pointed out that he usually did not support Resolutions without specific legislative proposals, but backed this Resolution, because despite comparatively better behavior by SFPD vis-a-vis other national police departments, it was important to acknowledge that there is a problem in San Francisco and that Alex Nieto’s shooting significantly hurt San Franciscan communities. He mentioned that insistence to strike Alex Nieto’s name from the Resolution also hurt police credibility, giving the impression that they have something to hide. (Hey! We agree.)

While Supervisor David Campos has explicitly withheld judgement on the shooting, he was attacked by the POA almost nine months ago, when he showed support to Alex’s family for their mistreatment by SFPD in the aftermath of the shooting. (Read more about this mistreatment in the bottom section of Alex’s Story.)

Supporters also believe that the D.A. Gascón has failed to declare whether he will indict officers-involved, because he is working in a concerted manner with SFPD, and cannot declare himself until SFPD reveals the names of the officers. We continue to demand a federal criminal investigation into the death of Alex Nieto. We do not believe the former Chief of Police, Gascón, can secure an unbiased investigation.

Despite the failure of the Resolution, we want to commend the Board of Supervisors for holding an important conversation about police brutality, racial profiling by police, the Ferguson Action demands, the right to protest, the role of police in community, and the case of Alex Nieto and other cases like O’Shaine Evans’ shooting. We believe that the San Francisco BoS has the potential to issue legislation that could model effective ways to curb racial profiling by police departments, demilitarize police departments, demand transparency, decrease use of force, and end impunity in cases of police brutality. We expect more and better from you in the future!

Supporters of Justice & Love for Alex Nieto came out in strong numbers to express their support for the Resolution during public comments. After 9 months of hiding basic facts, his shooting has become emblematic of a police cover-up. You can help uncover the truth! Please learn the facts and tell Alex’s Story to a friend.

2014.12.16 Public Comments Resolution Avalos 2014.12.16 Public Comments Resolution Avalos 3 2014.12.16 Public Comments Resolution Avalos 2