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.

SF Medical Examiner’s Report is a Desperate Dud

ALEX’S DEATH RULED A HOMICIDE

The San Francisco Medical Examiner has ruled the death of Alejandro (Alex) Nieto as a homicide, not death by natural causes, not death by accident, not death by suicide. This is a death by homicide. Unfortunately, because much of their report seems to be an intentional sabotage to our justice cause, we hereby emphatically re-request the federal department of justice to thoroughly investigate this homicide. San Francisco and their apparatus cannot be trusted.

14 BULLET WOUNDS

While the medical examiner report contains much information that is irrelevant to Alex’s death, it does state that he had up to fourteen wounds in both his head and body, from the front and back; the trajectory of those wounds were both downward and upward, which seems to indicate he was shot while lying on the ground. What justification can be used to fire up to fifteen rounds into someone who is lying on the ground?

The report also indicates that most of the bullets hit Alex in the front of the body; both head wounds were to the face. But there were at least two gunshot wounds in his back. Eyewitness reports indicate that two officers approached him from behind. What kind of threat does a man facing away from officers present?

D.A. FAILS US AGAIN

During a meeting with the Nietos and their attorney on Friday, May 16, District Attorney Gascon promised that when the autopsy report would be completed, he would personally notify us in advance. He did not. In fact, the family received a summary report, while the media received the full report. While we could only address a summary report, the media reacted to a full biased report that we did not have access to comment on at the time.

To add insult to injury, the Medical Examiner’s Office called the Nieto Family to tell them they could request the full report for $38.

This biased report seems to be an attempt to shock us, but the community stands strong and ready.

FACTS VERSUS CONTESTED POLICE VERSION OF EVENTS

Let us review the uncontested facts of this case:

On Friday, March 21st, 2014, at the time police encountered Alex Nieto, they knew absolutely nothing about his history. At this present time, six months later, we have no evidence that any 911 call, witness statement, or radio dispatch notified police officers before they encountered Alex that he was in any way acting aggressively or erratically. In fact, information provided by police and eyewitnesses consistently report him as NOT a threat.

Facts: Alex Nieto was a hard-working, outstanding college student, a volunteer at the Youth Guidance Center Juvenile Hall, a loving son, and positive community activist. This is not the portrait of someone who is so ill that they cannot perform productively in society. How could he be so dysfunctional yet at the same time perform so many positive duties? A security guard, Alex Nieto was scheduled for work in less than two hours when the police killed him.

When one can’t deal with facts, one attempts to slander the victim.

Learn more about Alex’s Story!

MEDICAL EXAMINER IS NOT A POLICE DETECTIVE

There is no reason or authority for the Medical Examiner to act as a police detective investigating any possible rationale for anything that happened on Bernal Heights on Friday, March 21. Their job is simply to conduct an examination of the body and notify the public of the medical examination concerning the cause of death. The San Francisco Medical Examiner is not a detective agency; if they were, then they should also be investigating the background and disciplinary records of the police officers who killed Alex Nieto, yet we still do not even have those officers’ names. The San Francisco Medical Examiner is supposed to be unbiased and transparent in safeguarding the public good, yet here they are obviously attempting to besmirch the character of Alex Nieto, even though that is not their job.

M.E. INSERTS CONTESTED POLICE VERSION OF EVENTS IN AN AUTOPSY REPORT

The report also claims that Alex brandished his taser, yet it is not the medical examiner’s job to make any determinations on possible brandishing of tasers. In an unbiased manner, they are simply supposed to determine cause of death. Their statement about brandishing obviously shows that they are using the police account as fact, which is not part of the medical examiner’s job.

But we should question why the medical examiner used the term “brandishing.” Who gave the medical examiner that language? It is critically important to understand that the Medical Examiner chose to pander to SFPD by including a CONTESTED version of events into their report. Even this language shows the need for further evidence. At the townhall meeting at Leonard Flynn Elementary School on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, the Chief of Police Greg Suhr consistently and repeatedly stated that Alex Nieto had “pointed” the taser at officers. Brandishing and pointing are not the same action. There is inconsistency in this vital detail that is unraveling the competing police accounts.

Consider that this narrative of the taser firing is a different story than that told at the Town Hall meeting. SFPD are changing their story; trying to increase the perception of threat when there was none. If the taser had been fired, this would have been the first story told. SFPD and the City are digging themselves deeper into the hole of their fabricated story.

Remember, eyewitnesses consistently say Alex was never a threat, never raised his taser, nor moved to touch his taser. The Medical Examiner’s is deliberately and shamelessly facilitating SFPD’s cover up; showing that besides its general incompetence, the M.E. cannot be trusted as an independent examiner.

The Medical Examiner’s report also states the taser was discharged. Again, this is a contested fact in a lawsuit which explains that witnesses confirm that Alex never touched his taser. There is absolutely no reason why police narrative of events should even be in the AUTOPSY report. This is a violation of the public trust.

  • If the taser were discharged while Alex was lying down, then Alex may have discharged it in self-defense of his life.
  • If the taser was discharged, was it due to one of the fifteen bullets that attacked Alex Nieto?
  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, did police discharge the taser to cover up the fact that Alex never had a taser in his hand?
  • Even if the taser had been discharged, which we have no proof that it was discharged by Alex, this would indicate that if Alex was upright, officers would or should have immediately known that Alex did not discharge a firearm, as the sound of a taser being discharged is not the blast of a pistol, and, of course, no bullet would have ejected from the taser. Yet the police continued to fire into Alex while he was lying down.

Note again that the witness(es) contradict any possibility of Alex brandishing, pointing, or discharging any taser, as they state that Alex never pointed a taser nor was he warned by the police before the police shot him multiple times.

AN INCIDENT OF MENTAL DISTRESS IN 2011 IS IRRELEVANT TO A POLICE MURDER in 2014

Alex’s past mental well-being is irrelevant to the issue of whether the police are liable or criminally accountable for his homicide. An isolated incident, years back, in which Alex needed medical attention in no manner justifies an unlawful police murder. In fact, it is unrelated to March 21st, 2014.

Any smear tactics cannot contradict or explain witness statements concerning this police shooting. Officers did not know who Alex was or anything about any mental illness. No evidence whatsoever has been brought forth that police knew anything about Alex’s history prior to encountering him, so any issues that Alex may have had in 2011, three full years before his killing, are completely irrelevant and should not have equated to a death sentence without due process at the hands of the police.

We also question why police officers, who should be protecting and serving communities, continue to stigmatize and criminalize mental illness. Mental illness is not a crime. Mental illness is a recoverable condition.

M.E.’S REPORT IS A GROTESQUE BREACH OF DUTY

The medical examiner’s job is to examine the decedent’s body, not his medical history. According to experienced attorneys in the field, the type of report that the medical examiner has issued in this case is a grotesque, unprecedented type of report that goes well beyond the scope of the medical examiner’s duties. Furthermore, we ask these questions: why did the medical examiner even requisition Alex’s medical history when they knew exactly how he had been killed—by gunshot wounds? How would the medical examiner have known that Alex had medical records at San Francisco General Hospital? Was it that the San Francisco Police Department, after killing a completely innocent man and then through their desperate attempt to slander Alex’s name by intimidating and interrogating various people, told the medical examiner to dig into Alex’s specific confidential medical records? In less than one business day after the killing, who gave the medical examiner permission to access Alex Nieto’s medical records, which are confidential private information that must be subpoenaed by an authorized agent? Who authorized the medical examiner to use the language that was used to summarize only certain information about Alex Nieto’s confidential medical records? The medical examiner has absolutely no expertise to perform a psychological profile or police detective evaluation concerning Alex Nieto.

SF MEDICAL EXAMINER HAS VIOLATED THE PUBLIC TRUST

The San Francisco Medical Examiner has violated the public trust.

The San Francisco city apparatus continues to push forward slanderous information to negatively assassinate Alex’s character, when the focus should remain on the killing of an innocent man. Highest level San Francisco officials seem to be embracing this ridiculous report in order to cover up their negligence and possible criminality. A desperate dud, this report is their attempt to counter our positive and effective community efforts.

When looked at with critical and reasonable eyes, this medical examiner’s report is proof that our efforts are forcing them into desperation.

Continue to question. Continue to spread the word. Continue the good fight.

Continue Amor and Justice for Alex Nieto!

UPDATE: Read Medical Examiner’s Report Ruling Homicide as Cause of Death

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

Breaking! Medical Examiner Rules Death of Alex Nieto A Homicide

Summary Autopsy Report Med Ex_001 RED

The San Francisco Medical Examiner has ruled the death of Alex Nieto a homicide. Therefore, we demand a thorough investigation into his homicide by the San Francisco District Attorney or, as emphatically requested, an outside federal investigation. We also demand a full detailed autopsy report be released immediately.

A summary report was mailed to Refugio and Elvira Nieto consisting of two brief lines stating the following:

CAUSE OF DEATH: MULTIPLE GUNSHOT WOUNDS

OTHER CONDITIONS: CANNABINOIDS PRESENT

We find this summary unsatisfactory. After nearly six months of examining and investigating, the San Francisco Medical Examiner causes the family and community only further grief and angst by summarizing Alex Nieto’s cause of death as “multiple gunshot wounds.” We demand to know how many gunshots entered into Alex’s body and head, and whether those entry wounds were from the front or back of his body. We demand the full autopsy report.

Alex Nieto had a California Medical Marijuana Card. In the state of California, someone can legally consume marijuana with a medical marijuana card.

Summary Autopsy Report Med Ex_001 REDA press conference will be held Friday September 12, 2014, 2p.m. at the Alex Nieto Memorial Site on Bernal Hill, northside slope.

Learn more about Alex’s Story!

PDF: Medical Examiner’s Summary Autopsy Report

Campaign: Permanent memorial bench for Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights!

Alex Nieto Memorial vandalized again Aug. 31st, 2014.

Yesterday, August 31st, 2014, the Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill was vandalized *again* in the morning. We collected the items scattered down the side of the hill. One picture frame was broken, and we had to remove it. The recovered items are shown below and have been set up again.

Altar items recovered; one picture frame broken.

Altar items recovered; one picture frame broken.

We’re pretty sure the vandal is just one messed up person. (The same man seen tossing the pebbles down the same side of the hill, who is either a racist or a moron or a combination of both, and not worth worrying about.) In fact, we stopped posting about every vandalism, because on and off it has continued to happen again.

IMG_4237

Vandal M.O.: He takes items from the altar, across the fire road, and throws them down the hill.

Vandalism and Recovery Aug. 31st. 2'14

Refugio Nieto looking for items tossed down hill.

 

By now, we’re actually oddly grateful to the Vandal, because his negative actions have each time multiplied into outpourings of positive support and interest for Alex Nieto and his cause for justice. (Karma, or as Ben Bac Sierra likes to shout out “Amor por Alex, Amooooor for Alex!“) We hope you’ll join us in this effort for a permanent memorial to remember Alex and the injustice done to him on his native hill.

At this point, the Nieto Family needs support in moving forward with getting a permanent bench at the site where Alex was killed, ideally with a native plant garden surrounding the bench. In our experience, everyone walking by is extremely sympathetic to the Nietos and also for a standing memorial.

Our understanding is that the applications for benches at the park open in October again. The cost for a bench is prohibitive without additional fundraising support or a waiver by Parks/Recs or a donation by the City (which given the current lawsuits seems unlikely).

We’ll update this page with a proper campaign announcement, as we figure out all details. To that end, if you have specific know-how on getting a memorial bench, please write to us: info@justice4alexnieto.org

As always, thank you for your support!

The Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Committee

Memorial site recovered, again, Aug. 31st, 2014

Memorial site recovered, again, Aug. 31st, 2014

Vandalized again on August 31st, 2014

Vandalized again on August 31st, 2014

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)

Selfie by Alex with parents Refugio & Elvira

COMPLAINT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH AND VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS

NIETO COMPLAINT Offices John Burris_001

CLICK LINK FOR PDF FILE: NIETO REFUGIO NIETO and ELVIRA NIETO (Plaintiffs) vs. CITY AND COUNTY OF SF, Police Chief GREG SUHR & Police Officers DOES 1-50 (Defendants) (Filed by Law Offices of John Burris)

(Please find below an excerpt of the basis for the complaint, emphasis is our own.)

Case3:14-cv-03823 Filed 08/22/14

REFUGIO NIETO and ELVIRA NIETO, individually and as the Co-Successors in Interest to ALEJANDRO NIETO; Plaintiffs,

vs.

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, Police Chief GREG SUHR in his individual capacity & DOES 1-50, individually and in their official capacities as a Police Officer for the City and County of San Francisco, inclusive. Defendants.

INTRODUCTION

1. This claim arises out of an incident that took place on Friday, March 21, 2014 at approximately 7:00 p.m. at Bernal Heights Park in the City of San Francisco, California wherein Decedent, Alejandro “Alex” Nieto was unlawfully shot and killed by several yet to be identified San Francisco Police Officers.

2. In the aftermath of the incident, the City and County of San Francisco (“CCSF”) and the involved Officers claimed Alex defied Officers’ orders and pointed a taser at them. The Officers claimed they mistook the taser for a handgun, causing them to fear for their lives and as a result shot and killed him. After an independent investigation led by the community and the Law Offices of John L. Burris, witnesses along with physical evidence was uncovered which contradicts CCSF’s version of the events.

3. To date, CCSF has refused to release the involved Officers’ names. Instead, CCSF has engaged in a media campaign to besmirch Alex’s reputation as a well known San Francisco resident who never sustained a single arrest, was an active community organizer, college student, and local law enforcement volunteer.

[…]

STATEMENT OF FACTS

 11. On Friday, March 21, 2014, Mr. Alejandro Nieto began his evening at the home he shared with his mother, father and younger brother. He left the family home intent on getting some food before he went to work as a security guard at a nearby restaurant. To that end, Mr. Nieto bought a burrito and went to Bernal Heights Park to enjoy his meal and the view of the City and neighborhood he loved. Once he arrived at the Park he found a bench and began eating his dinner.

12. Witnesses recount seeing Mr. Nieto at the park peacefully sitting alone on the bench enjoying his burrito. A yet to be identified person called 911 and erroneously reported Mr. Nieto as having a black gun on his hip. The caller mistook the black and yellow taser Mr. Nieto lawfully carried for use on his security job for a gun. However, the caller did not claim Mr. Nieto was bothering anyone or making any type of threatening gestures with the reported “gun.

13. Several SFPD Officers converged on the park determined to investigate the call and confront the reported “gunman.” An SFPD Patrol car entered the park and drove up a fire trail before stopping approximately 75 to 100 feet away from Mr. Nieto who at that time was casually walking down the jogging trail to the Park’s entrance. Two Officers emerged from the patrol car and immediately took cover using their car for protection. Several other Officers had also gathered on the jogging path, appeared to be carrying rifle-type guns and were positioned behind Mr. Nieto. One of the Officers behind the patrol car called out and ordered Mr. Nieto to “stop.”

14. Within seconds a quick volley of bullets were fired at Mr. Nieto. No additional orders or any other verbal communication was heard between the first Officer yelling “stop” and the initial volley of gunfire that rang out. Mr. Nieto fell to the ground. After a brief pause of just a second or two, a second barrage of shots were fired. The Officers’ bullets struck Mr. Nieto in his forehead and at least nine other places leaving his body grossly disfigured and mortally wounded.

15. In the aftermath of the incident, SFPD claims Mr. Nieto refused to comply with Officers’ requests for him to show them his hands and instead pointed the taser at them, challenged their authority forcing the Officers to shoot him. However, the ear and eye witness’ revelations undermine SFPD’s claims. Based upon the witnesses’ accounts there, in fact, was no justification for this unwarranted use of deadly force as contrary to the Defendants’ claims, they did not hear Mr. Nieto threaten anyone or see him attempt to grab or point any object at the Officers prior to being shot.

16. The above-described intentional and/or negligent conduct by defendants was a factual and proximate cause of Decedent’s death and Plaintiff’s damages.

17. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that CCSF, Chief Suhr and DOES 26-49, inclusive, breached their duty of care to the public in that they have failed to discipline defendant John Doe SFPD Officers 1-25 inclusive, for their respective misconduct and involvement in the incident described herein. Their failure to discipline defendant John Doe SFPD Officers 1-25 inclusive, demonstrates the existence of an entrenched culture, policy or practice of promoting, tolerating and/or ratifying with deliberate indifference, the use of excessive and/or deadly force and the fabrication of official reports to cover up defendant John Doe SFPD Officers 1-25’s inclusive, misconduct.

18. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that members of the San Francisco Police Department, including, but not limited to DOES 1 -25 and/or each of them, have individually and/or while acting in concert with one another used excessive, arbitrary and/or unreasonable force against decedent, ALEJANDRO NIETO.

19. Plaintiffs’ are further informed, believe and therein allege that as a matter of official policy — rooted in an entrenched posture of deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of persons who live, work or visit the City of San Francisco, SFPD has allowed persons to be abuse by its Police Officers including defendant DOES 1-25 and/or each of them, individually and/or while acting in concert with one another.

20. Plaintiffs’ are informed, believe and therein allege that SFPD Police Officers exhibit a pattern and practice of using excessive and/or deadly force against citizens, as evidenced by the 97 SFPD Officer involved shootings that have occurred since 2000. Of those 97 shootings, 33 people have died and 35 people have been injured. In each and every one of the shooting cases wherein a person died as a result of the Officers’ use of deadly force, SFPD has found the Officer used deadly force within policy even under the most questionable of circumstances. SFPD’s failure to discipline or retrain any of the involved Officers is evidence of an official policy, entrenched culture and posture of deliberate indifference toward protecting citizen’s rights and the resulting deaths and injuries is a proximate result of SFPD’s failure to properly supervise its Police Officers and ratify their unconstitutional conduct.

21. Plaintiffs are informed, believe and therein allege that CCSF knew, had reason to know by way of actual or constructive notice of the aforementioned policy, culture, pattern and/or practice and the complained of conduct and resultant injuries/violations.

22. Plaintiffs are ignorant of the true names and capacities of Defendants DOES 1 through 25, inclusive, and therefore sue these defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiffs are informed, believe, and thereon allege that each defendant so named is responsible in some manner for the injuries and damages sustained by plaintiffs as set forth herein. Plaintiffs will amend their complaint to state the names and capacities of DOES 1-50, inclusive, when they have been ascertained.

Selfie by Alex with parents Refugio & Elvira

Selfie by Alex with parents Refugio & Elvira

Refugio & Elvira work tirelessly to maintain a memorial to their son at the site of his killing.

Refugio & Elvira work tirelessly to maintain a memorial to their son at the site of his killing.

Elvira & Refugio Nieto lead the Alex Rises! march down from Bernal Hill. (Aug. 22, 2014) Photo: Chris Carlsson

Elvira & Refugio Nieto lead the Alex Rises! march down from Bernal Hill. (Aug. 22, 2014) Photo: Chris Carlsson

Elvira & Refugio Nieto march for their son. (Aug. 22, 2014)

Elvira & Refugio Nieto march for their son. (Aug. 22, 2014)

Alex Rises! Thank you & Rally Speeches at Federal Courthouse (Aug. 22, 2014)

Rallier arrives to federal building holding banner with Refugio Nieto (Aug. 22, 2014) Photo: Ray Ysaguirre

THANK YOU! Making history…

Thank you from the Nieto Family and the Justice & Love Committee for Alex Nieto. Once again gracias to everyone who volunteered work and accompanied the Nieto Family on a long, memorable, effective walk from the spot where Alex Nieto was shot dead by SFPD on March 21st, 2014 to the Federal Courthouse Building at 450 Golden Gate, on August 22, 2014, where the family lawyers filed a lawsuit that day. (READ ACTUAL COMPLAINT FILED HERE.)

Rallier arrives to federal building holding banner with Refugio Nieto (Aug. 22, 2014) Photo: Ray Ysaguirre

Rallier arrives to federal building holding banner with Refugio Nieto (Aug. 22, 2014) Photo: Ray Ysaguirre

Click for video of Protesters arriving to rally at Federal Building by Isabel Gutierrez.

I know many more of you were also with us in spirit! We got tons of media coverage of the manifest concern of San Franciscans for what’s starting to look like a serious cover-up by the City and County of San Francisco and SFPD in the unlawful killing of Alex Nieto.

We also thank you for holding space for all the other victims of police brutality (local, state, and national) by calling out their names alongside with Alex Nieto’s. There is an unforgivable pattern of impunity of police violence in San Francisco and around the country. (HOW DO YOU SPELL MURDER? SFPD!)

Together we will continue striving for a historic resolution to the federal CIVIL lawsuit filed by the Nieto Family, but also strive for a historic independent federal CRIMINAL investigation into SFPD’s murder of Alex Nieto, any subsequent cover-up, and SFPD’s historic pattern of impunity surrounding excessive use of force. Right on! You matter. All lives matter. Lives of youth of color matter. Alex Nieto’s life matters!

Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Committee STOKED by your solidarity and interest in justice for Alex and his Family.

Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Committee STOKED by your courage and solidarity to get justice for Alex and his Family.

RALLY SPEECHES by Ben Bac Sierra and Adriana Camarena (members of the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Committee)

with VIDEO links of Closing Words by Mission community organizer Roberto Hernandez, and Family Attorneys John Burris and Adante Pointer

Below please find the rally speeches delivered at the 3pm Rally at Federal Courthouse Building (450 Golden Gate) on August 22nd, 2014.

#HandsUpDontShoot Ben Bac Sierra surrenders to the Alex Rises! March for Civil Rights Against Police Killings (Aug. 22 2014) Photo: Jason Wyman

#HandsUpDontShoot Ben Bac Sierra surrenders to the Alex Rises! March for Civil Rights Against Police Killings (Aug. 22 2014) Photo: Jason Wyman

Alex Rises! by Ben Bac Sierra

ALEX NIETO RISES!

Today Alex Nieto Rises! Alex Nieto Rises! But five months ago on Friday, March 21st flexing an aggressive military mentality, the San Francisco Police Department gunned down Alex Nieto, our beloved brother, a college graduate, a loving son, and positive community activist. They thought that once they fired over 14 bullets into his innocent body that he would be silenced off the face of this Earth. Friends, family, Freedom Fighters, they did not kill Alex Nieto.

Look around you; right now, look into your neighbor’s eyes and be filled with strength, with righteousness, with miracles—for you see that Alex Nieto is here within you, amongst you. Alex Nieto is not silent. Alex Nieto speaks.

Listen.

Do you hear?

Our breath is his voice. Our voice is his voice. Let’s sing together:

AMOR! JUSTICE! AMOR! JUSTICE!

That is Alex Nieto’s song. And with that music, using the power of the United States Constitution, we confront you San Francisco! Look in your heart. See who we are. We are Alex Nieto, and we will not be killed! Recognize our living humanity.

San Francisco Police Officers, be noble. Do not support a corrupt code of silence. You vowed to protect and to serve us. Hold honor. Confession is liberation for a brave soul.

Standing here today, we are the truth. Today, the machinery of justice has begun its cycle. Now we demand the police reports, the police officers’ names, the coroner’s report, the witness statements, the total truth. Through us, Alex Nieto, Michael Brown, Andy Lopez, and Eric Garner have risen and they shout:

AMOR! JUSTICE! AMOR! JUSTICE!

CON SAFOS.

Ben introduces co-committee member Adriana Camarena; Elvira & Refugio Nieto look on. (Aug. 22, 2014)

Ben introduces co-committee member Adriana Camarena; Elvira & Refugio Nieto look on. (Aug. 22, 2014, Rally at Federal Courthouse) (Photo: Ray Ysaguirre)

Alex Nieto: A Man Betrayed by Decades of Impunity. Speech by Adriana Camarena

CLICK HERE FOR PARTIAL VIDEO OF ADRIANA CAMARENA AT RALLY by Ray Ysaguirre.

Alex Nieto –a young Latino working class man- strove to make change within the justice system, by studying administration of justice, interning at the probation department, and volunteering at countless electoral campaigns and youth organizations. Who he was did not matter, because the system of law enforcement could only imagine him as an outlaw, whose life did not matter. Police killed him without reasonable justification. Alex Nieto is a man betrayed.

Five months ago, Alex Nieto was killed on Bernal Hill and for five months, City officials have kept sealed all records that could explain what happened on March 21st, 2014. For five months, SFPD, the Police Commission, the District Attorney’s office, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Mayor have maintained in secrecy the names of the four officers who killed Alejandro Nieto, the original 911 call or calls, eye witness reports, the number of bullets fired, and the autopsy report. For five months, the Nieto Family has been kept in the dark around facts that could ease some of their trauma of what happened the day the police killed their son. For five months, the various communities of San Francisco affected by this act of police violence have likewise been kept ignorant.

Instead of the facts, the public has received a curated police version of events. We are here because we do not believe the police version of events narrated to us by Chief Greg Suhr at the Town Hall meeting after Alex’s death. You do not need to have known Alex Nieto to know that police version of events do not add up. A clear message has been sent: In San Francisco, protecting political careers is more important than accountability and transparency by the City government over its killing of one of its citizens.

Since 1990, 376 San Francisco police officers have fired their weapons. 45 of those officers have done so on repeated occasions, and in that period, 61 people have been shot dead. None of these killings have resulted in an indictment of a San Francisco Police Department officer. In fact, I cannot find a historic instance in which an SFPD officer has faced criminal charges for an unjustified killing. The lack of criminal charges does not mean that SFPD officers are infallible. It reveals a criminal system rigged to deny justice in any instance of an unwarranted police shooting.

In addition, in our City, D.A. Gascón is a career police officer and former Chief of Police of San Francisco. The D.A. denies having a conflict of interest in investigating this case, but we are left without hope that Alex Nieto’s case will receive an unbiased investigation at a local level. We look around the Bay Area and already see the writing on the wall: On July 7th, the Sonoma County D.A. announced that no charges would be filed against the officer who shot 13 year old Andy Lopez. On Tuesday of this week, the Santa Rosa D.A. announced that no charges would be filed against the officer who shot 18 year old Yanira Serrano. Of the 15 most recent cases of police shootings in Northern California, 9 out of 15 of those killed were Latinos. I’ve also heard say that the Oscar Grant case is the only police shooting in to have resulted in the conviction of an officer 90 years in Northern California.

As the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri show, the police at a local, city, state, and national level are facing a crisis of legitimacy. Police killings are an epidemic in Northern California: Oscar Grant, Kenneth Harding Jr., Alan Blueford, Andy Lopez, Yanira Serrano-Garcia, Errol Chang, the four recent killings of Latino men in Salinas, and now the latest killing of Jacorey Calhoun in Oakland. If the police can kill with impunity, decade after decade, then they are not a force accountable to law, but simply a force of oppression in low income communities.

Yesterday, we delivered (at this very building) a stack of signed petitions collected through the last five months in which San Franciscans ask the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out a federal investigation into the shooting of Alex Nieto. Today, the Nieto Family will file a civil federal lawsuit. Today, we peacefully marched for Civil Rights Against Police Killings in solidarity with thousands of families across the country. People of all races and ethnicities have joined in action to protect their most basic civil and human right: Life—and specifically, the lives of youth of color. 

Alex was a man betrayed. Fight for him!

Closing Words: Mission community organizer Roberto Hernandez: CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO OF CLOSING WORDS BY ROBERTO HERNANDEZ by Ray Ysaguirre.

Closing Words: Family Attorneys John Burris and Adante Pointer address the crowd
(Apologies in advance for echo on mic, skip to minute 2:30 to avoid feedback on mic)

Thanks for checking-in and now please enjoy a musical mix by Pedro Reyes of Setting the Standard with audio from “Alex Rises! March for Civil Rights Against Police Violence.”

GROOVE WITH THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE!

News coverage (8/22/2014): Alex Rises! Civil Federal Lawsuit Filed & March for Civil Rights Against Police Killings!

2014.8.22 March Press Collage_001

News coverage for August 22nd, 2014 related to the Nieto Family filing a civil rights federal lawsuit and Alex Rises! March for Civil Rights Against Police Killings.

KRON 4 VIDEO: Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed Today in Fatal Shooting of Alex Nieto by Police

Lawyer John Burris talks to media and states that the police version in which Alex raises his taser is a cover up story and they will bring forth witnesses to contest that story.

SFBG: Federal complaint filed over death of Alex Nieto as supporters vow to keep fighting

Shortly before Nieto was killed on March 21, a person had dialed 911 to report seeing a man in Bernal Heights Park with a gun. In reality Nieto, who worked part-time as a security guard, had a Taser in his holster, not a firearm. But the call sent police vehicles racing into the park in pursuit of a gunman.

What transpired next is in dispute: Police say Nieto pointed his Taser at officers, causing them to mistake it for a firearm and discharge their weapons. Yet Burris offered a very different account in the federal complaint, based on the account of an eyewitness, audio recordings, and other information gathered independently by attorneys and community supporters.

“Based upon the witnesses’ accounts there, in fact, was no justification for this unwarranted use of deadly force as contrary to the Defendants’ claims, they did not hear Mr. Nieto threaten anyone or see him attempt to grab or point any object at the officers prior to being shot,” the compaint charges.

Courthouse news service: 100 Protest Police Killing, in San Francisco

When police arrived, Nieto was walking down a jogging trail near the park’s entrance. Several officers were there, one of whom, from behind a patrol car, ordered Nieto to stop.
“Within seconds a quick volley of bullets were fired at Nieto,” the lawsuit states. “No additional orders or any other verbal communication was heard between the first officer yelling ‘stop’ and the initial volley of gunfire.”
Afterward, police said Nieto did not follow orders to show his hands, but pointed his Taser as the officers. But an independent investigation led by Burris and community members found witnesses who contradict the authorities’ story, according to the lawsuit.
At the rally, Burris called the police narrative “flat-out wrong.”
“Lies!” yelled someone from the crowd.
The lawsuit claims that the SFPD has a pattern of using excessive force against citizens. Since 2000 there have been 97 officer-involved shootings, in which 33 people have died.
“There was no basis to shoot him, and they essentially shot him to pieces, I’m sorry to say,” Burris said.

SFGate: Lawsuit slams S.F. police shooting of man with taser

The suit, which alleges excessive force and seeks unspecified damages, disputes the San Francisco police account that 28-year-old Alex Nieto pointed the Taser he carried for his job as a security guard at officers on March 21, prompting the shooting.

“He was a law-abiding person, and he would not foolishly point a Taser at officers who had guns on him,” said attorney John Burris, who is representing Nieto’s family. “We believe that did not happen, and we believe that it did not happen the way the officers claimed it did.”

Altnet: San Francisco Police stonewalling months after officer shot and killed their son park

There is a grim parallelism to many of the recent officer-involved deaths across the country, including the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York City, and Alex Nieto here in Bernal Heights.

But there are also important differences. In Ferguson and New York, medical examiners’ reports have been completed and released, and the identity of the officers involved in the incidents has been made public. But that hasn’t happened in San Francisco.

Against that backdrop, last Friday’s memorial for Bernal resident Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill was noteworthy not just because it was entirely peaceful, tightly focused, and well-organized, but also because it underscored the fact that, even after five months, Alex Nieto’s family still seeks the kind of basic information about their son’s death that has already been made public in high-profie cases elsewhere.

SF Appeal: Family of Alex Nieto Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Following March and Rally Against Police Brutality

… A sunrise ceremony also took place at 5 a.m. this morning at that same spot in memory of Nieto’s life, according to the website Justice4AlexNieto.org.

Protesters then traveled through the Mission District holding signs and banners. One banner read “End Racist Police Brutality” and another read “Stolen Lives, Killed by Law Enforcement,” and was adorned with photos of people shot by police, including Alex Nieto, Andy Lopez and Michael Brown. …

KTVU 2 VIDEO: Family, friends outraged over shooting of security guard

Police say Nieto was shot after the security guard aimed his Taser gun’s red laser sight at officers responding to 911 calls about a man with a gun. Nieto’s family and friends call it a case of police brutality.  “We know the truth. Alejandro Nieto never pointed any Taser,” said Nieto’s friend Benjamin Bac Sierra. “That is a flat out lie. There is an epidemic of police killings happening throughout the United States of America, from Ferguson to New York to Salinas, California to Santa Rosa.” [...]

The protesters marched five miles from Bernal Hill to the Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue for the filing of a federal civil suit against the Police Department and city.

Nieto family attorney John Burris calls the police case a cover-up and said new evidence- and new witnesses- will show the security guard knew better than to challenge armed officers.

Mission Local: Five Months After Nieto Killing, New Witnesses

Today, Nieto’s family and friends will march from the place on Bernal Hill where he died to the San Francisco Federal Building to file a federal civil suit to elevate his case, if not into the national conversation, to a higher court. The suit’s filing comes a day after the family delivered a 1,000-signature petition calling Attorney General Eric Holder, among others, to launch a federal investigation into the shooting.

[...] Up until now, the police account has been the only version available detailing what exactly happened that day.

However, this week the lawyers of the Nieto family announced they have new testimony from eyewitnesses who saw the events leading up to the shooting. Nieto, the new witnesses have told his family, never pointed his Taser at the officers.

“This is an opportunity for the family to have a day in court and have some answers” said John Burris, the attorney whose firm is taking on Nieto’s case. “What the police claimed happened was so incongruent with who Alex was. Alex was not someone who would point a Taser at armed officers…We have people who will say that this wouldn’t happen the way police describe.”

Community VIDEO by Uncle Ray Balberan (click links below)

Justice y Amor for Alex Nieto Committee and The Bad Apples 2014
[Alex Rises March is kicked off with speeches by AJ from Coleman Advocates (talks about Alex as a youth advocate and organizer, and cops as bad apples); Jonathan Melrod with the Andy Lopez Coalition for Justice; Ben Bac Sierra]

Ben Bac Sierra Interview standing with Justice & Love for Alex Committee #1

Ben Bac Sierra Interview #2

Ben Bac Sierra Interview #3

Adriana Camarena Interview #4

Ben Bac Sierra Interview (SPANISH) #5

Adriana Camarena Interview #6

Alex Aug. 22 14. March to Fed Building

Community VIDEO by BlackHorseMedia: Justice For Alex Nieto! ¡Justicia Para Alex Nieto!

Edited video of “Alex Rises! March” from Bernal Hill to end of rally at Federal Courthouse Building at 450 Golden Gate.

SFBG: Eyewitness claims victim of officer-involved shooting did not brandish Taser

A person claiming to be an eyewitness to the fatal shooting of Alejandro Nieto has come forward to say he did not see Nieto point a Taser at police officers before they opened fire, according to attorney Adante Pointer, who is representing Nieto’s family.

The eyewitness, whose identity Pointer would not disclose, told the attorney that he “did not see Alex point a Taser at anybody” and “did not see or hear any back-and-forth exchange that police said took place,” Pointer said in a phone interview with the Bay Guardian.

At a March 26 town hall meeting convened shortly after the officer-involved shooting, which occurred on March 21 in Bernal Heights Park, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr told attendees that Nieto, a 28-year-old City College student, had “tracked” officers with his Taser in the moments before police discharged their weapons. [...]

SFExaminer: Peaceful march through SF draws attention to police shooting of Alejandro Nieto

Clouds of incense encircled feathered dancers who led more than 100 people down Bernal Heights Park through the Mission district this afternoon as part of a march calling into question the events that lead to the shooting death of Alejandro Nieto, a 28-year-old San Francisco man killed by police in March.

Related photo gallery.

NBC BayArea News VIDEO and Story: Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed in Fatal Shooting of Alex Nieto in San Francisco

Protesters then traveled through the Mission District holding signs and banners. One banner read “End Racist Police Brutality” and another read “Stolen Lives, Killed by Law Enforcement,” and was adorned with photos of people shot by police, including Alex Nieto, Andy Lopez and Michael Brown.

Protesters chanted into megaphones throughout the march, saying, “We want justice for brother Alex, Fire Racist Cops, We want justice for brother Michael, Fire Racist Cops.”

Another popular chant at Friday’s protest was “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” which has been heard at recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officers on Aug. 9.

CBSLocal: Lawsuit Filed As Community Rallies For Man Shot Dead By San Francisco Police In March

Friends and family of Alejandro Nieto, who was shot and killed by San Francisco police in March, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city on Friday.

The Nieto family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney John Burris, said Friday the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Nieto family against the city for violation of Nieto’s civil rights on the grounds that police officers allegedly used excessive force against him.

Burris said Friday that he believes police shot Nieto as many as 10 times. [...]

SFIST: S.F. Protestors Rally For Ferguson, March For Alex Nieto Planned Today

[...] As you can see in the below tweets from the march, Alejandro Nieto was remembered alongside Brown. A 28-year-old City College student, Nieto was shot and killed by San Francisco police in Bernal Heights Park on March 21.

KTVU 2 VIDEO: Family of Alex Nieto holds rally

Reporting on Sunrise Ceremony and rally.

ABC 7 VIDEO: Lawsuit filed for man killed by police at SF’s Bernal Heights Park

The march to the Phillip Burton Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Avenue started just before 1 p.m. Escorted by police, about a 100 people walked from Bernal Heights Park through the Mission District. It took nearly three hours to reach the federal building from Bernal Heights Park. The march was noisy but peaceful.

The family’s attorney John Burris had filed the lawsuit earlier in the day. “This was a person who was not armed and we don’t believe that the narrative of him pointing a Taser at the police officers at the time was true,” Burris said.

The day started with a small sunrise gathering at the site in Bernal Heights Park, where Nieto was shot and killed.

Dancers marked the 5-month anniversary with an Aztec ceremony offering prayers and calling Nieto’s spirit from the other world.

ABC 7 VIDEO: Attorney to file federal civil suit against SF police for fatally shooting man

The family of 28-year-old Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, who was fatally shot by police officers at San Francisco’s Bernal Heights Park in March, filed a civil rights lawsuit Friday afternoon against the city following a march and rally against police brutality.

The Nieto family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney John Burris, said Friday the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Nieto family against the city for violation of Nieto’s civil rights on the grounds that police officers allegedly used excessive force against him.

KRON 4 VIDEO: Alex Nieto’s Family to Sue SFPD Over Fatal Shooting

A lawyer for the family of Alex Nieto will file a federal civil rights lawsuit Friday afternoon against the San Francisco Police department for March’s officer-involved shooting of the 28-year old man.

Family members and supporters gathered Friday morning near the scene of the shooting in Bernal Heights Park for a sunrise service in Nieto’s honor. [...]

(ESPAÑOL) UNIVISION VIDEO: Familia demandará a la ciudad de San Francisco por “uso excesivo de la fuerza”

La familia entablará la demanda porque consideran que los agentes del orden utilizaron “fuerza excesiva” en el encuentro en el que murió Alejandro Nieto. [Images from Sunset Vigil Aug. 21st]

(ESPAÑOL) TELEMUNDO VIDEO: Vigilia por joven baleado por la policía

Familiares de Alejandro Nieto presentarán una demanda civil contra la ciudad de San Francisco por la muerte de un hombre a manos de la policía en Bernal Heights.

Mission Local: Alex Nieto March – Why People Joined It

[...] Some 200 supporters of Alex Nieto, a 28-year-old Bernal man who police shot to death on March 21, gathered today on Bernal Hill to march downtown where the family will file papers asking for a civil lawsuit. After a preliminary investigation, police said that Nieto aimed a taser at officers who confused it for a gun. Nieto’s lawyer said he has uncovered new witnesses who contradict that version.

SF Chronicle VIDEO: Aztec Sunrise Ceremony for Alex Nieto

Family and friends of Alex Nieto, a 28-year-old who was killed after being shot 14 times by SF police officers in March in Bernal Hill Park, gather for an Aztec sunrise ceremony.

(Aug. 21st, day before) SF Examiner: Vigil stirs angst as Nieto family prepares lawsuit

In San Francisco, activists and lawyers are pointing to the shooting death of Alejandro Nieto by police earlier this year as one more example of law enforcement’s overuse of lethal force.

Thursday marked the five-month anniversary of Nieto’s death atop Bernal Heights Park.

That anniversary was marked with a sunset vigil, where a crowd of roughly 30 people stood Thursday around an altar on the spot where the 28-year-old San Francisco resident was killed March 21. The Nieto family lawyer is expected to file a civil-rights lawsuit today against the Police Department in relation to the officer-involved fatal shooting.

Nieto’s death at the hands of police, vigil attendee Oscar Salinas said, is just another example of the conflicts between black or brown people and police.

(Aug. 21st, day before) San Francisco Appeal: Ferguson, Alex Nieto Protests Block Streets in Mission District

[...] Protestors have marched from the Civic Center to the Mission District in San Francisco this evening, blocking streets as they move through the city.

The group of perhaps 100 people, which is accompanied by a police escort, is carrying signs referencing the shooting of Alex Nieto by San Francisco police in Bernal Heights on March 21 and other police shootings.

LATINBAYAAREA.COM: Alex Nieto Rises! March for Civil Rights Against Police Killings!

Posted Sunset Vigil & Sunrise Ceremony, as well as Alex Rises! March details…

Update! Parents and supporters of Alex Nieto deliver petitions for a federal investigation into his shooting!

DOJ Petition_001 (2)

On the morning of August 21st, 2014, five months to date after Alex Nieto was shot to death by SFPD, his parents Elvira and Refugio Nieto, accompanied by Adriana Camarena and Maria Villalta (members of The Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Committee) delivered almost 1000 signatures petitioning the US Department of Justice to carry out a federal investigation into his shooting.

The signed petitions are addressed to Eric Holder, US Attorney General, attention to Jocelyn Samuels (Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division) and Melinda Haag (U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, Federal Courthouse.) An officer at the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Office instructed us to deliver the petitions to the FBI, as the agency in charge of investigations. The petitions were therefore received by the on-duty triage officer John Kingsley at the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 450 Golden Gate, who took note of our complaint, and attached the petitions to the file. He informed us that our request to investigate would be assigned to an agent.

These 1000 petition signatures alongside 1,790 signatures from our change.org petition comprise a local and national cry for an impartial and independent investigation into the death of Alex Nieto.

Thank you to all the supporters, who over the last five months have taken the time to stop at our table at an event and sign our petition. You did it!