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