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

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

Community victory! Officers who killed Alex Nieto finally named!

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

Sgt. Jason Sawyer

Officer Roger Morse

Officer Richard Schiff, and

Officer Nathan Chew.

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

2014.12.3 Alex Nieto Rally We Want Names June Jordan

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

 

SFPD’s cover-up stumbles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nieto Family happy to gain a first step towards transparency

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

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

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

The truth shall set us free.

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