Community Shuts Down Valencia St. in Front of SFPD Mission Station; Puts Police on Trial
SAN FRANCISCO– Over 200 people gathered in the early morning hours today and shut down Valencia Street in front of the San Francisco Police Department’s Mission District station. Sixteen activists locked themselves down for four hours and fifteen minutes, blocking the gate to the parking lot and chaining themselves to large-scale art work in front of the station. There, they held a people’s trial of the four officers who shot and killed Alex Nieto a year ago on Bernal Hill. Family members of people killed by police testified about the unjust, unresolved murders of their children.
Protestors also blocked a tech bus carrying ebay workers to highlight the connection between the violence of gentrification and the violence of police. Protesters assert that the targeting and racial profiling of poor people of color is directly linked to the forced displacement of residents in San Francisco.
Nancy Hernandez, a Bernal Heights resident said, “Gentrification has worsened police harassment of the working class community of color in San Francisco.” Protesters demand more resources be directed to family in need rather than increase the SFPD budget.
The action took place in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the killing of Alex Nieto by the SFPD. The demonstration was organized to protest the lack of a criminal indictment of the SFPD officers involved in the shooting and also highlighted the ongoing killings of people of color by police in communities across the nation.
Last month Nieto’s family had to relive the pain of his unjust death when District Attorney George Gascón cleared the four officers involved in the shooting of Nieto — Lt. Jason Sawyer and Officers Roger Morse, Richard Schiff and Nathan Chew.
In the last year since Nieto’s death, four more people have been killed by SFPD; Amilcar Perez Lopez, O’Shaine Evans, Matthew Hoffman, and Alice Brown.
Since 2000, there have been 97 officer-involved shootings resulting in 33 deaths. SFPD has found all those killings to be within policy, according to SFPD’s Internal Affairs Department. To our knowledge, none of these officers have been prosecuted by the District Attorney.
Today’s efforts were also part of the national Black Lives Matters movement and the public outcry against the killing of unarmed Black men by Police. According to a report released last year by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a black person is killed every 28 hours by a police officer, security guard, or self-appointed vigilantes. “We are here to put local faces to a national crisis,” said Juana Tello, a San Francisco native resident.
“We are here to give notice to the SFPD and other police departments across the country that our communities will not sit passively while we are targeted,” said Rebecca Ruiz-Lichter, from Idriss Stelley Foundation. “We deserve to live with dignity and we deserve justice, and to tell the City that with no consequences, we have no confidence.”