Court Update (Wed. 11/19/2014): City refuses to name 4 shooters, 8-10 officers present at shooting, and 20 officers responding to homicide scene

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As we previously informed, today was the first court date in the federal civil trial initiated on August 22nd, 2014 by Refugio & Elvira Nieto v City and County of San Francisco. Magistrate Judge Nathaniel M. Cousins presided the case management conference. The objective of this first case management conference is to establish deadlines for discovery and next court date, among other pretrial matters. Adante Pointer represented the Nieto Family, while Deputy Chief Attorney Margaret W. Baumgartner represented the defendants (the SFPD officers involved in the wrongful death and civil rights violations of Alex Nieto.)

CITY REFUSES TO NAME OFFICERS, REQUESTS PROTECTIVE ORDER

Deputy Chief Attorney Baumgartner argued that there was a threat made that impedes the City from revealing the names of the officers involved. Magistrate Judge Cousins required her to reveal how many names were involved. Deputy Chief Attorney Baumgartner responded that there were 4 shooters, approximately 8-10 other officers present at the shooting, and approximately 20 officers who showed up afterwards to the homicide scene. (She said she had not counted them exactly.)

0325-gregsuhrChief Greg Suhr made publicly known (Nov. 12th) that the “threat” consisted in comments made a near 8 months ago on social media by a person known to police and who they know lives outside the USA. This in our opinion does not count at all as a credible threat.

Deputy Chief Attorney boosted her argument by saying that another threat was “phoned-in” recently that cleared the station. (What station? When? Anybody hear about such a thing? Dare we guess, a phone call from outside the US? ) If this did happen, we request such actions not be made regarding the shooting of Alex Nieto. These “threats” are hurting the Nieto Family and Alex’s community by giving excuses to the City to be opaque.

Despite Adante Pointer pointing out that the Family and public had a right to this information and withholding the names of the officers was exceptional in cases of police shootings (even the Oscar Grant case), Magistrate Judge Cousins is allowing the Deputy City Attorney to present information about “the threat” in 14 days in order to decide on a protective order.

We are incredibly disappointed that Magistrate Judge Cousins is allowing the City to continue its campaign of obscurity to ward off public dissent. We are quite frankly tired of the bullshit tossed at the Nieto Family and affected communities.

4 SHOOTERS, 8-10 OTHER OFFICERS, AND 20 OFFICERS RESPONDING POST SHOOTING STILL TO BE NAMED

The number of shooting, witnessing and responding police officers bears repeating because it is new news to us. Besides the FOUR shooters who Chief Greg Suhr described at the Town Hall Meeting on March 26th, there were actually EIGHT to TEN OTHER OFFICERS WHO WITNESSED part or all of the shooting, because they were there during the shooting, plus about TWENTY OTHER OFFICERS who responded post-shooting to the homicide scene, and who themselves are active participants and witnesses to how the homicide scene was handled.

JUSTICE SYSTEM SENDS THE WRONG MESSAGE: APPARENTLY ONLY RIOTS BRING TRANSPARENCY

We begin the federal civil trial with obscurity and delay, because discovery of facts can’t even begin if the family’s lawyer can’t know the names of the Defendants. He can’t even depose  officers or even read police reports if he is not allowed to know the names! This continued lack of transparency and accountability is an insult not only to the Nieto Family, but community members affected by Alex Nieto’s death, who have repeatedly and peacefully demanded the most basic facts of Alex’s shooting for nearly eight months.

This Friday November 21st, 2014 is Alex Nieto’s 8th month anniversary of homicide by police. That same day the Grand Jury in Ferguson will likely reach a conclusion and make public whether there will be an indictment of Officer Darren Wilson for the homicide of Mike Brown, killed August 9th, 2014. Keep in mind that Mike Brown was killed only three months ago.

The killing of Mike Brown was met with community mobilization, resulting in mass civil disobedience, riots even, over days and days, and because there was mass public disturbance the City of Ferguson revealed the name of Officer Wilson within a week, and the Medical Examiner delivered Brown’s autopsy report within two weeks. Ferguson community members continued to pour out into the street instigating the intervention of the US Attorney General and the FBI in a federal investigation. Now three months after Mike Brown was killed, protesters are organizing for an outpouring of people in the streets, because news of a criminal indictment is forthcoming. Weapons sales have skyrocketed in Ferguson in preparation!

Meanwhile, over here in San Francisco, nearly eight months later, the City is still withholding the names of the officers involved because someone on the internet made a threat…. ON THE INTERNET!

Meanwhile, over here in San Francisco, cricket sounds are still coming out of the Office of the District Attorney, who will likely disrespectfully blindside us with a disappointing announcement any day now… Any day now we are also still waiting for the FBI or the US Attorney General to respond to our petition for a federal investigation into the death of Alex Nieto. Nearly eight months have passed since Alex was killed and we have received minimal responses. The only explanation is that we are not taken seriously, because we did not riot…

Like in Ferguson, Justice for Alex Nieto supporters engaged in mass civic protests from the very beginning, but without a single case of violence or even an arrest, not even a freakin’ broken window at a march. Admittedly, Cortland Street residents got a little disgruntled when a sidewalk stencil appeared on the street. Besides that, each protest march and public event has been peaceful, law abiding, squeaky clean when permits were required, and marches accompanied by community security volunteers who helped moderate any conflict along the way.

Each month on Bernal Hill, neighbors, artists, educators, youth, seniors, dogs, friends, and family show up to peacefully remember Alex and stand for justice in his name. Every month on Bernal Hill we go to say that Alex Nieto has not been forgotten.

Nevertheless, the City is arguing that a threat made by someone who does not even live in this country is reason enough to withhold the most basic facts:

  • Who shot Alex Nieto?
  • Who witnessed his shooting?
  • Who witnessed how the crime scene was handled?
  • How do police explain the shooting?
  • What was the content of the actual 911 call?

The experience in Ferguson is teaching that a  community’s regard for law in the face of egregious injustice is absolutely meaningless when the injustice is committed by officers of the law.

To Magistrate Judge Cousins: We are counting on you to do the right thing and respond with a policy of transparency to the largest peaceful urban mobilization ever seen in San Francisco for the killing of a city native, Alex Nieto. Put an end to the City’s policy of bullshitting communities harmed by Alex’s homicide by SFPD officers, and set a precedent that prizes peaceful civic dissent to a police shooting with utmost transparency of facts and process.

2014.8.22 March

Justice4AlexNieto: A timeline of the legal process… First court date, Wed. 11/19/2014

Alex Nieto Justice Process Timeline with milestones(1)_001

So it begins… The first court date.

This Wednesday November 19th, 2014 is the first court date for the federal civil case initiated by the Nieto Family. (Location: Federal Courthouse – 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco.) The federal civil complaint for Alex Nieto’s wrongful death and violation of civil rights was filed August 22nd, 2014, one day after Alex’s 5th month anniversary of being unjustifiably killed by SFPD on Bernal Hill.

This Wednesday’s court date will address procedural matters, such as setting dates for trial and deadlines for attorneys in preparation for the trial date. However, the court will also address initial disclosures that the parties must make regarding documents or persons that they will bring forth at trial. This means that the Nieto’s attorney Adante Pointer will now be able to request that the City deliver basic information; same information over which Alex’s supporters have been clamoring for transparency since his death in March. For example:

  • names of officers involved in the shooting (and the aftermath of the shooting)
  • the original 911 call
  • police reports
  • witness statements, and
  • any other critical piece of evidence

Justice 4 Alex Nieto: Timeline of the Legal Processes…

The legal journey is arduous and complex, so we’ve created a timeline with milestones of the legal process to inform supporters about stages in the legal process through the days, months, and years to come. On the timeline, you will find milestones in the civil case initiated by the Nieto Family (CIVIL), but also our direct petitions to get a criminal indictment (CRIMINAL.) In any case, if the law gives you headaches, just follow the trail of little monthly red boxes that mark each month anniversary of justice denied.

Click here for pdf version of image (Alex Nieto Justice Process Timeline with milestones)

LEGAL MILESTONE
DATE MILESTONE USEFUL LINKS
3/21/2014 Alex Nieto killed
by SFPD
Request for Support: Alex Nieto, Killed by SFPD, True News!
3/26/2014 EVIDENCE: At Town Hall Meeting, Chief Greg Suhr narrates police version of facts. Community demands (a) names of officers involved, (b) original 911 call, (c ) witness statements, (d) police reports and (e ) autopsy report. SFPD refuses to provide. SFBG: Police provide explanation of Bernal Heights Park shooting at emotional town hall meeting
4/14/2014 CIVIL: Wrongful death claim filed with City [R. & E. Nieto v City & County of SF] News: Media coverage of yesterday’s filing of the claim against SF
4/21/2014 1st month -
no justice
Reminder: Burritos on Bernal (5pm meet @ Precita Park, 6pm walk up Bernal Hill)
5/5/2014 CRIMINAL: Nietos & supporters petition D.A. George Gascon Video: Nieto Family Petitions D.A. on 5 de mayo
5/16/2014 CRIMINAL: Nietos meet with D.A. George Gascon Update: Takeaways from Meeting with D.A. (Friday May 16th, 2014)
5/21/2014 2nd month -
no justice
Reminder: Burritos on Bernal, Wed. May 21, 2014 (5pm meet @ Precita Park, 6pm walk up Bernal Hill)
5/16/2014 CIVIL: City & County of SF denies Claim NEWS: City Denies Wrongful Death of Alex Nieto!
6/21/2014 3rd month -
no justice
Reminder: Sat. June 21st, Burritos on Bernal! Summer Solstice is Alex’s 3rd Month Anniversary: Poets, Music & Artists welcome!
7/21/2014 4th month -
no justice
Reminder: Burritos on Bernal, Mon. July 21, 2014 (5pm meet @ Precita Park, 6pm walk up Bernal Hill)
8/21/2014 5th month -
no justice
Alex Nieto Rises! Aug. 22, 2014 – Noon – March for Civil Rights Against Police Killings!
8/21/2014 CRIMINAL: Nietos & supporters petition FBI/AG for federal investigation Update! Parents and supporters of Alex Nieto deliver petitions for a federal investigation into his shooting!
8/22/2014 CIVIL: Wrongful death & violation civil rights complaint filed in Federal Court [R. & E. Nieto v City & County of SF] Federal Civil Lawsuit: REFUGIO NIETO and ELVIRA NIETO (Plaintiffs) vs. CITY AND COUNTY OF SF, Police Chief GREG SUHR & Police Officers DOES 1-50 (Defendants)
9/11/2014 EVIDENCE: Medical Examiner’s Office releases autopsy report Drawing and Analysis of the Autopsy Report
9/21/2014 6th month -
no justice
6th Month Anniversary: Educators and Community for Alex Nieto! Sunday, Sept. 21st, 5p.m.
10/21/2014 7th month -
no justice
10/21 Alex’s 7th Month Anniversary, 10/22 Police Commission Meeting
12/11/2014 EVIDENCE: Chief Suhr says names of officers withheld due to threat to police made on facebook by person in another country News: Chief Suhr reveals why he can’t reveal officer names (1010AM Hecho en California)
11/19/2014 CIVIL: 1st court date, setting dates and deadlines for trial dates  
11/21/2014 8th month -
and still no justice?
JOIN US for Burritos on Bernal this FRIDAY NOV. 19th at Alex Nieto’s memorial site on Bernal Hill, 6-7pm.

Dead silence from the D.A.’s office on a criminal indictment…

The Nieto Family is pursuing a federal civil lawsuit as the only legal means available to them to gain a semblance of justice for the homicide of their son and brother. By no other means will they be able to daylight the truth and expose the lies that SFPD has been carrying about Alex since March 21st, 2014. In the best of results, a civil lawsuit will result in compensation for damages caused. This means that the while the City must justifiably make amends to the Nieto Family, the officers involved will not be made personally accountable. At best, these officers will meet with administrative admonitions from the Police Commission.

The District Attorney George Gascón, or for that matter, the U.S. Attorney General could decide to criminally indict the officers involved to make them personally accountable for Alex’s homicide. That is, the D.A. could decide based on the evidence at hand to charge them with committing a crime, when they unlawfully killed Alex Nieto. However, criminal investigations are abnormally biased to support police version of events, because (a) police produce the police reports about the homicide, (b) police take witness statements, (c) police control the crime scene, (d) police and district attorneys have a collaborative relationship, (e) the police officers’ association has political leverage against the City, and perhaps most daunting of all (f) police who commit homicide while on duty are judged by different standards than us mortal beings.

In this regard and because we are all waiting to hear from the Grand Jury in Ferguson, consider the legal explanation as to why police are specially protected from criminal prosecution from an article titled “History Says Ferguson Police Officer Likely Won’t Be Charged For Shooting“:

… The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Graham v. Connor in 1989 that actions by law enforcement must be judged by a standard known as “objective reasonableness.”

Per Justia, that means their actions “must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation.”

The net effect is that there is a higher threshold for prosecuting police officers for actions committed in the line of duty compared to your run-of-the-mill homicide. …

After that steeplechase of obstacles, also consider that the bias in favor of police is compounded in San Francisoc by D.A. Gascón’s history as the former Chief of Police of San Francisco and a career police officer.

All eyes are on Ferguson today, because abuse of power goes hand in hand with lack of transparency and accountability. The only hope for a criminal indictment in the case of Alex Nieto is that D.A. Gascón wants to make himself credible or that the U.S. Attorney General will intervene in a federal investigation much as has happened in Ferguson.

#Ferguson #Justice4AlexNieto #Ayotzinapa

8th month anniversary: Burritos on Bernal with thanksgivings & Birthday Cake!

This first court date also arrives just before Alex’s 8th month anniversary of homicide. We invite you to join us this Friday November 21st, 2014 to commemorate Alex’s life and celebrate a milestone towards justice. We want to give everyone a pat on the back. It’s nearly Thanksgiving after all…! (It’s also Ben Bac Sierra’s birthday and there will be cake! But shshshsh… Don’t tell him, it’s a surprise.) Milestones for everyone!

Here is our FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE for Nov. 21st.

News: Chief Suhr reveals why he can’t reveal officer names (1010AM Hecho en California)

0325-gregsuhr

Today Chief Greg Suhr was a guest on the bilingual Spanish-English radio show 1010AM Hecho En California hosted by Marcos Gutierrez with Isabel Gutierrez. Marcos Gutierrez asked Chief Greg Suhr why he has not revealed the names of the officers involved in Alex Nieto’s shooting, and Chief Suhr responded that soon after Alex was killed a credible threat by a “violent person” was made on “social media” to kill the officers involved upon knowing their names.

This is not a credible threat. Does Chief Suhr think we’re idiots? This threat is not credible considering that the “threat” was made:

1. Nearly 8 months ago (just after Alex was killed.)

2. On “social media” (eg. facebook or twitter) where meaningless blather and attention-seeking is a daily thing.

3. By a person who Chief Suhr describes as living outside of the USA, and

(a) who could not exact a threat without making an effort to travel back in country,

(b) who police are keeping tabs on in case he should come in country, and

(c) who most likely was talking out of his butt when he made this “social media” threat.

This meaningless and difficult to carry out “threat” is the reason why Chief Suhr denies responding to nearly eight months of public and peaceful demands for basic facts, such as names of officers involved, original 911 call, police reports, and witness statements.

So, what part of this social media threat is credible?

None of it. Once again, police version of events are impossible to believe and SFPD’s lack of transparency and accountability is not only shocking, but an insult to public intelligence and community demands.

We’ll just laugh and cry over this one together.

The interview with Chief Greg Suhr for Nov. 12, 2014 can be found on http://www.hechoencalifornia1010.com/

2014 October Review: Art, Articles & Actions honoring Alex Nieto

A justice flotilla flies a flag

NPR/Latino USA: The Shooting of Alex Nieto (October 10, 2014). Link to Audio.

The shooting of Michael Brown spurred a national debate over the militarization of police. Maryam Jameel reports on the lesser-known case of Alex Nieto, who was gunned down by San Francisco police.

Burritos on Bernal: 7th month anniversary of Alex Nieto’s killing, Oct. 21st, Bernal Hil

On October 21st, 2014, family and supporters commemorated Alex’s 7th month anniversary of being killed by SFPD, on Bernal Hill, with no answers yet as to the names of the officers who killed him, the original 911 call, police reports, or witness statements. We were joined on the hill by the wedding party of founding justice4alexnieto supporter Maria Villalta, who earlier that morning married Alex’s cousin Fernando.

Denhi (Cortland Street flower vendor and friend of Alex) brought blooms to decorate his memorial on his 7th anniversary of killing.

Denhi (Cortland Street flower vendor and friend of Alex) brought blooms to decorate his memorial on his 7th anniversary of killing.

Ben Bac Sierra speaks to MECHA students on Oct. 22nd National Day of Action Against Police Brutality

2014.10.22 MECHA BenOn the National Day Against Police Violence, MECHA invited me to speak against arming CCSF Police:

“I am a professor, and I am a criminal. I am a criminal because I am brown, and criminal is code word for brown and black brothers. Arming CCSF police would be a direct message to brown and black people that City does not want them on campus. My soul brother City College student Alex Nieto was killed for eating a burrito in a gentrified neighborhood. We cannot allow City to become gentrified. Black and brown gente should be welcomed not scared away from college.
I say n
o to arming police. I shout–

Amor!
Amor!
Justice!
Justice!”

Gracias to Raka Ely Flores for the great photos.

2014.10.22 MECHA Ben 22014.10.22 MECHA Ben 3

Police Commission Meeting, Balboa High School, Oct. 22nd National Day of Action Against Police Brutality

Nineteen years ago, the October 22nd Movement called for a National Day Against Police Brutality against police brutality, repression, and criminalization of minorities. On October 22nd —while the family and friends of Andy Lopez (13 years old) held his one year anniversary of homicide by Santa Rosa officer Gelhaus, and the family of O’Shaine Evans (killed by SFPD Officer Goff Oct. 7th, 2014) buried him in Oakland— families, friends and supporters of Alex Nieto crowded the Police Commission at Balboa Park High School on that date to demand accountability, and the names of the officers involved.

Alex’s parents and Adriana Camarena confronted the Police Commission with a diagram and the results of the autopsy report which shows Alex executed defenseless on the ground with eleven shots. Adriana demanded the names of the officers involved. Read more about the Autopsy Report here!

Youth with Chalk, accompanied by mentors Nina Parks and Jason Wyman, also spoke to confront the police commission about the negative role police play in the lives of brown and black youth, and the lack of compliance of the police community directives.

Jeffrey Staulcup, friend of Alex, confronted SFPD on their manipulation tactics by calling out the unnecessary use of Alex’s medical record of a one time internment for a mental breakdown, which was irrelevant to police killings. Likewise, Alex’s friend, Ely confronted SFPD on the tremendous lack of legitimacy that they now had in his eyes, when once upon a time, he had aspired to be a police officer.

Other community members spoke to the injustice committed to Alex and other victims of police abuse.

Thanks Nina Parks for the video footage.

Flyer Police Commission Oct 22

New Diagram Illustrates Where and How SFPD Shot Alex Nieto, (SFWeekly, 10/23/2014)

…Just how did Alex Nieto die?

Yes, we know he died after police shot him on Bernal Hill as he waited for a bus headed to work. And yes, he died of gunshot wounds.

But asking how Nieto died can also address intent. SFPD Chief Greg Suhr maintains his officers mistook Nieto’s yellow taser for a gun, due to its laser sight. Nieto’s family dispute that claim, and filed a lawsuit to that effect. Now, they say they have evidence to back up their claims.

When 28-year-old Alejandro Nieto was shot and killed by San Francisco police, it took nearly six months for the Medical Examiner’s Office to release his autopsy. Two days ago the group Justice for Alex Nieto released a diagram of the gunshot wounds that killed him. …

Update 10/23 3:41 p.m.: SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza responded to the Justice for Alex Nieto allegations with this: “Police do not execute, we fire until the threat has been eliminated.”

Giants Playoffs & Giants for Justice

Art by Oree Originiol

Oree’s modified poster of Alex Nieto includes a rallying call to “Strike out police brutality”.

2014.10.25 Oree Originiol Strike Out Police Brutality

Banners with this image were subsequently made and strung on a sailboat in McCovey Cove during Giants final playoff series home games.

A justice flotilla flies a flag

A justice flotilla flies a flag

Soon after a mural appeared on La Galeria de la Raza billboard (northwest corner of Bryant and 24th Street) in time for Day of the Dead in the Mission to memorialize victims of police brutality in the Bay Area and beyond.

2014.11.2 OreeOriginiolphotoJean Melesaine

Art by Oree Originiol, Photo by Jean Melesaine

Rebecca Pierce, Why San Francisco Giants Fans Are Rallying Against Police Brutality, (Alternet, 10.27.14)

… Family members of Alex Nieto and O’Shaine Evans were present at the San Francisco rally. Nieto, a 28-year-old Latino security guard, was shot 14 times by police in a Bernal Heights park on March 21, after neighbors called 911 claiming his work taser was a gun. Police claimed that Nieto pointed his taser at them when they approached, and that they were unable to distinguish it from a gun, an assertion family members have questioned. His death inflamed tensions between long-time Bernal Heights residents, police and a growing tech industry gentrifier class,  which some activists blamed for calling the police. Nieto’s family filed a  civil rights lawsuit against the city of San Francisco in August. …

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Adriana Camarena, #October Together, More than just baseball, (Unsettlers, 10.28.14)

… Over Columbus Day weekend, more togetherness was plotted. Juana Tello, an organizer with POWER, reached out to Alex Nieto supporters, because she and a few youth were thinking about doing an action at AT&T park before the Giants playoff game, starting Tuesday October 14th. On Wednesday and Thursday, Refugio, Elvira and I joined local activists, artists, and youth coordinating through local organizations, friends from the PICO Network (who had been in Ferguson), as well as peeps from Stop Mass Incarceration, at the Willie Mays plaza outside AT&T ballpark. We all wore our Giants colors, mixing passions for social justice with passions for baseball. We all love to belong to something together! Something bigger than us all, and that includes raising awareness about injustice. Organizers had made a colorful banner that read “Step up to the plate against police brutality!” and we held our big black and white banner “Justice for Alex Nieto.” Together we chanted: “Giants for Justice! G-I-A-N-T-S for JUSTICE!” and “Step Up to the Plate, End This Police State!” On Thursday, we were back out again before the game. This time our big banners had literally gone sailing in McCovey Cove with an impromptu justice flotilla. So we held smaller printed signs bearing messages such as “Frisco to Ferguson, Justice for Alex Nieto & Mike Brown.” Many passing fans (from St. Louis and San Francisco alike) raised their hands in solidarity to the chant of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” …

Roberto Lovato, Yes, We Are the Champions, But Your Giants Are Not Our Giants…(Of América blog, 10.30.14)

“…First, he provided us, especially the younger among us, that rare glimpse of our collective power before SFPD and other authorities that perpetrate and sanction or do nothing about official crimes like the murder,in nearby Bernal Heights, of Alex Nieto, an unarmed 28 year-old security guard and Giants fan, a crime considered emblematic of the police-as-gentrifier-protection-force that many, many Latinos still living in the Mission know all–too-well.

The heroic SFPD officer of which corporate media and their hipster underlings write in their articles and blogs is not our SFPD officer. Some of us grew up and know another SFPD, an SFPD like that led by former Mayor Dianne Feinstein, who many of us must thank for baptizing us with the batons of institutional violence and racism– and the “journalism” that papers over it with images of so many jailed and beaten “bad guys” our family members in SFPD talk about. Last night, I ran into my cousin’s thirty-something son, who I’d known as a laid back, gentle spirit before he was re-programmed in the police academy. When he saw me, he smiled, fist bumped me and then marched towards a young celebrant, yelling, “Move any closer and you’re gonna get smashed.” The city with division–winning, World Class baseball is also home to World Class divisions of race and class, even within our families. …”

Cindy Milstein, The Giants Won and Capitalism Is the Loss, (Fireworks, 10.30.14)

…I repeatedly heard chants of “RIP Alex Nieto” and “RIP Mike Brown.” I saw lots of graffiti related to Alex Nieto’s recent murder by the SF police (for being a Latino in an upscaling and increasingly young-rich-white-males neighborhood) as well as slogans decrying gentrification. Fencing was pulled away from a super-luxury and super-egregious (racist, even; this particular complex is turning the “New Mission” cinema into “the Alamo” within this soon-to-be-former Latino area) development called Vida. An empty cop car parked on a side street was smashed up and covered in spray-painted words like “fuck the police,” and all the passersby who watched were gleeful, perfectly understanding the resentment toward cops in this neighborhood. …

Día de los Muertos by Ben Bac Sierra

Ben accompanied by Alex and friends visiting his brother's grave.

Día de los Muertos

Many try
Many die
Few succeed
In the life
We lead.

Our old street creed was wrong—
The Day of Death is a day we must
All
Celebrate
Both a victory and a defeat
A day of ending
A night of beginning

So I sing my own
Death song
Knowing
There is no escape
And why not?

This vida loca
This dream or
Nightmare
It is all the same

If I can sing death
Then
I can sing life, too

Lay your head
Upon my pillow
Hold your warm and
Tender body close to mine
For the Good Times.

Ben with Alex and other homeboys visiting his brother's grave.

Ben with Alex and other homeboys visiting his brother’s grave.

10/21 Alex’s 7th Month Anniversary, 10/22 Police Commission Meeting

Flyer Police Commission Oct 22

10/21 7th Month Anniversary, Come Remember Alex at Burritos on Bernal (6-7pm), then back to Giants World Series!

Today, Tuesday 10/21 is Alex’s 7th Month Anniversary. We’ll be at Bernal Heights Park at Alex’s Memorial Site from 6-7pm. (Please meet directly on the hill, not at Precita Park.) Alex was a huge Giants fan like you all, so join us for a moment, and then we’ll be back to the game that he loved. He would have loved to see the Giants in their third World Series.

Talking about love, we have a love story to tell you on the hill…

10/22 Police Commission Meeting, Wed. 6pm, Balboa High School

We hope that you will join us in demanding transparency and accountability in the homicide of Alex Nieto on Wednesday 10/22 at the Police Commission meeting at Balboa High School at 6pm. Public comments are at start of meeting. Each person has two minutes. (Facebook invite here.)
Balboa High School
Green Room
1000 Cayuga Street
San Francisco

For Alex’s 7th month anniversary and in preparation for the Police Commission meeting we have released a Drawing and Analysis of the Autopsy Report. Please check it out!

Despite the release of the autopsy report, at the seven month milestone of Alex’s homicide, his family, friends and community continue to be kept in the dark on essential facts. We have not received basic information from SFPD nor the City, and we request your support in demanding the following during public comments at the Police Commission meetings and through upcoming actions:

  • Original unedited 911 call or transcript to determine the threat to which Officers responded armed and in fear of their lives. According to Chief Greg Suhr (Town Hall Meeting) they were responding to a call about a man in a red jacket, eating sunflower seeds or chips, with a “gun” at his hip (i.e. a holstered weapon.) Therefore, there is no proof of threat that would have elicited the repeated lethal force exacted upon Alex.
  • Witness statements about Alex’s conduct and officer conduct. Again, what was the threat to which officers responded.
  • Police reports that might illuminate us of findings from the homicide investigation, as to why officers discharged their weapon and whether they are considered suspects of a homicide.
  • Names of officers involved. The public deserves to know who are the officers involved, as well as: what is their history? which community are they working in? what type of administrative sanctions if any have been issued?
  • Total number of officers at scene: We would like to know how many officers were on scene; not only the number of officers who shot at Alex. We have heard that at least 10 possibly up to 20 officers responded to the 911 call on the ringside road, weapons drawn and showing no caution as they ran towards the hill.
  • Number of bullets shot at Alex. We know from the autopsy report that his body has 14 to 15 bullet wounds caused by at least 10 bullets.  But, how many rounds total were discharged? What type of caliber? The autopsy report says 40 caliber, but aas there another type of weapon used?
  • 73 photographs attached to the autopsy report mentioning objects strewn about his body, including number of bullet casings found at the scene.
  • Any other information withheld by SFPD or the Police Commission that can clarify events of that day.

10/22 is the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality. The date was inaugurated in 1996 by the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation to bring those under the gun and those not under the gun as a powerful voice to expose the epidemic of police brutality.

This national day of action coincides with the San Francisco Police Commission meeting. Please join us in demanding transparency and accountability for Alex’s homicide and speak out against police brutality in San Francisco!

Public comments are at the beginning (6pm). Each person has two minutes to speak.

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Drawing and Analysis of the Autopsy Report

Alex Nieto Autopsy Front Back_001

Drawing based on the Autopsy Report

Last month, the Medical Examiner’s Office released a (sloppy) autopsy report to the media, without giving the Nieto Family the detailed report.  The Nieto Family received a one page summary, while the media received the complete report.

For Alex’s 7th month anniversary (today 10/21/2014) of being killed by SFPD officers, we’ve completed a drawing based on the information in the autopsy. We’re not forensic medics, but we’ve done our best to follow the information in the autopsy report to recreate the path of the entry wounds. The Autopsy Report is publicly available, so you can check our drawing and analysis against the original.

Alex Nieto Autopsy Front Back_001

Analysis of Autopsy Report

There are four upward trajectory wounds. These likely correspond to initial shots fired uphill by officers at Alex. The wounds would indicate that Alex had his hands up (either surrendering or raising hands for cover).  Besides these upward shots to the wrists and left arm, there is an upward shot to his right leg. The wound to the leg would explain Greg Suhr’s account that Alex fell to the ground after initial shots fired. Alive, but wounded and on the ground, officers subsequently fired a series of downward shots (direction head to toe) that killed Alex, even if he was not a threat to officers or anyone else. Downward shots when Alex was already on the ground can imply criminal intent and murder.

We believe this is a crime. Not only was Alex defenseless and down on the ground, but executing him was a deliberate, calculated decision by officers involved. The audio of the shots shows a six second pause, in which officers had time to think, before opting to release a deadly volley of shots on Alex. (Listen to audio below.)

Sequence of Shots

Upward bullet wounds K, L, M and N: While we are not certain of the sequence of all shots, we feel confident that Alex was first shot in the right leg, left wrist and arm, and right wrist (graze). These upward shots would indicate that he was upright and his hands were raised in surrender or perhaps instinctively raised for cover in a fetal position reaction.

These wounds are consistent with reports of shots fired uphill at Alex without sufficient warning. The wound to the right leg and contusions to his left knee would be consistent with accounts (by Chief Suhr and Lawsuit Witnesses) that Alex fell to the ground after initial shots fired. These upward shots (marked in blue) are not fatal wounds.

The rest of the shots were fired in a downward trajectory (marked in red), i.e. with officers firing from above Alex.

Downward bullet wound B: Alex was shot in the top right lip in a straight downward direction. The shot lodges in his mandible. This shot is also not fatal, even if extremely shocking.

Downward (head to toe direction) bullet wounds A, C, D+E (3 shots), I and J: The autopsy next shows six wounds caused by seven downward trajectory shots entering Alex in a head to toe direction: left temple, three to the left shoulder, one each to the right and left chest, and one to the back (lodging in L3.) The seven downward trajectory shots can be explained in two ways:

(1) Alex was shot in the back and fell onto his back, while officer(s) approaching from the back continued to shoot in a downward trajectory from head to toe, or

(2) Alex fell forward, over his knees, defenseless, while officer(s) approaching from the front continued to shoot at him straight on even if he must have been reclined and not presenting any threat whatsover.

Please note that eyewitness accounts mentioned in the Federal Lawsuit state that while Alex was first encountered by officers who jumped out of a police car downhill from him, armed officers had also gathered on the footpath behind him. If Alex was shot from behind after he was already on the ground, it is truly incomprehensible what type of threat he could have presented to officers shooting him in the back. Only through full discovery will we be able to understand, which officers were positioned behind and in front of him, and which officers shot these downward shots into Alex.

 Alex Nieto Autopsy Side_001 (2)

Either way, it is evident that Alex suffered multiple execution-style shots once he was incapacitated and on the ground. Alex Nieto could have survived the initial upward shots fired had officers not paused and deliberately decided to silence him. The downward series of shots seem to imply a criminal intent that cannot be justified by SFPD nor the City.

Downward bullet wounds F, G and H: The remaining three shots are explained by officers flanking Alex left and right once he is down, and shooting downward, from the sides into his right and left arms and left chest. The left side shots enter his left lung and pleural cavity, while the right side shot lodges back into his right scapula.

We hope that this information helps to understand the unlawful act committed by officers against Alex Nieto. Alex’s Story brings into question the legitimacy of a City government that defends lethal unwarranted violence from its police force. We continue to hope for full transparency and accountability, and express our desire for a government that increases human services for its residents, rather than force.

Join us on TUE 10/21 & WED 10/22 to remember Alex on Bernal Hill (Tue), and demand accountability at the Police Commission (Wed)

Maria Villalta Resignation

Dear community,

I come to you with a heavy heart. These last six months I have been working along side of wonderful people in the justice and love for Alex Nieto committee.

Due to personal reasons I would like to inform you that I will no longer be working with them as part of the committee.

I am a strong supporter of the family and will continue to work towards getting them justice and keeping Alex’s memory alive.

This decision did not come easy for me because I love working for and towards a larger cause. I have been debating on leaving the committe the last month and I believe my desicion is the best.

I know the committe will continue to do great work and with the support of the community they will keep Alex’s memory alive.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

In solidarity,
Maria Villalta

6th Month Anniversary: Educators and Community for Alex Nieto! Sunday, Sept. 21st, 5p.m.

EDUCATORS AND COMMUNITY
FOR ALEX NIETO!

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 AT 5:00 P.M.
AT BERNAL HEIGHTS PARK, NORTHEAST SIDE, SAN FRAN

Alex Nieto Oree Original

This Sunday, September 21st, 2014 is the six month anniversary of the killing of our beloved friend, Alex Nieto. In his honor, we are holding an event entitled “Educators for Alex” at 5:00 p.m. at the northeast side of Bernal Hill Park, the place where he was killed by the San Francisco Police Department. A voracious reader, Alex loved learning; he had completed his associates degree and was almost ready to transfer to a four year university. We invite students, educators, administrators, and the general public to join us for an afternoon of poetry, education, and community. This will be a great opportunity for you to connect with others to learn how to navigate through the education system. In doing this, we honor Alex’s beautiful spirit. Learn more about Alex’s Story.