“Lowrider Lawyers: Putting a City on Trial.” High Definition Trailer.

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It is my blessing and honor to gift to you the professionally produced High Definition trailer for “Lowrider Lawyers: Putting a City on Trial.”

This is only a preview of the magnificent, critical, and unprecedented film regarding Alex Nieto, scholarship student security guard unlawfully killed by the San Francisco Police Department. The full film will premiere on Sunday, January 3, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. at the Brava Theater in San Francisco’s Mission district barrio.

Invite your friends, and get your tickets now at brava.org, as this is expected to be a sold out event. Join the Facebook event page and blast this great news out to the world!

We combat injustice with community creativity, solidarity, y amor.

Click on the link to purchase tickets: https://goo.gl/eGrA8M

Click on the link to view the Brava Theater web page description and photos of Lowrider Lawyers: http://www.brava.org/current-shows/current-shows/lowrider-lawyers-putting-city-trial/#.VmiaW7grKM8

Click on the link to join the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/823436287767339/

Click on the link to read a critical article about “Lowrider Lawyers”:

https://todobododown.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/lowrider-lawyers-putting-a-city-on-trial-an-argument-for-action-and-imagination/

Click on the link to find out more about Alex Nieto: https://justice4alexnieto.org/alex-story/

Sponsored and endorsed by the San Francisco Lowrider Council!

A Barrio Bushido/Maya Media production. Written and directed by Benjamin Bac Sierra. Filmed and edited by Peter Menchini. Starring Homies from San Fran and around the Bay, San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ District Nine Candidate Edwin Lindo, international entertainer and singer Favi Estrella, and Stanford Law School graduate and international development consultant Adriana Camarena. Soundtrack by “Dr. Loco” (Jose Cuellar) and Favi Estrella.

We are exceeding our goal to help the Nieto Family!!!

Update March 23, 2015

Dear Community!

We are over the moon with your show of support. On the evening of Alex’s One Year Community Commemoration, thanks to the very generous donation of a Bernal Heights neighbor we met our goal to fund the purchase and placement of Alex’s headstone. Any other funds donated above the goal amount will directly help the Nieto Family. We will be campaigning for a commemorative bench to be placed at the Alex Nieto Memorial Site (location where he was killed on Bernal Heights Park.)

Thank you so much!

Hello Community!

We are excited to announce we are halfway to our goal of $2,000!

The GoFundMe account has gained momentum in the past 24 hours!

Overnight we reached the $1,000 mark!

Thank you so much on behalf of the Justice and Amore for Alex Nieto Coalition and his parents.

We are a step closer to Alex’s headstone!

Donate at our GoFundMe site by clicking below:

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 8.57.00 AM

“Amor for Alex” Film Premiere and Lowrider Show from Ben Bac Sierra

 

Amor4Alex

Amor is absurd. To promote it as the base for a movement is to embrace insanity. Love is too passionate and caliente—a burning trash can in the middle of the night.

Amor leads to ashes.

From ashes I came, to ashes I will return, so why fear or negate my own dust? I was born into San Fran streets where the superheroes were not Batman or Wolverine. The bad-asses were the lowriders, the cockroaches who cruised las calles proclaiming through their dance—in the face of so much despair and desperation–“We exist!” No doubt about their powers.

They convinced me of what I wanted, so before a book, or colorful medal, or a degree were my goals, my mission was a hood classic: a Regal, a 64, another Regal, a 66, and the Monte Carlo Knight. These were more than cars. They were magical spaceships that transported me to the sublime state that only cholos y cholas treasure. While everything else is all fucked up outside, inside your ranfla, you hold dignity, the souldies blasting—dragging you down into the blues but at the same time exorcising you from many difficult demons. Everyone else is walking or riding around pissed off or confused, but you in your vain ass ruby red gangster-mobile are authentic and clear—‘cause you are laughing and crying at the same time:

As I sit here thinking of you, and of the wonderful love we once knew even though you’ve gone away, my heart has gone with you!

And if you hit the switches just right, you can unlock the key to the universe, what every single brown bandido dreams—that lowriding is about more than just flexing your muscles and mad-dogging homeys on the block—you wish love, that loco y loca amorwhere you aint got shit but a couple of forties and each other rolling not knowing where you’re going—and that is all you’ve ever needed and wanted in this vida loca that you have tattooed green all over your buffed out arms.

Genius: vida loca lowriding is the freedom they never taught you about in school.

This Saturday, March 21, check out the lowriders in a new light. Look into the grills and admire the eyes of those who have been targeted and discounted yet continue to live with class and pride, as an example for us all. They are our history and potential, these OG’s with their pinta records, and pinche jobs, and businesses, and familias, and overwhelming abundance of amor for our gente.

In unprecedented fashion and style, the lowrider community, hundreds of cars deep, will literally lead the procession across San Fran to the film premiere of “Amor for Alex,” a film dedicated to our fallen lowrider brother Alejandro Nieto, who was shot at 59 times and killed by the San Francisco Police Department for eating his lunch in a gentrified neighborhood. At 7:00 p.m. we combine Aztec danzantes, a singer, a rapper, poets, activist leaders, art, and films to inspire a new breed of street stars, Renaissance Homeboys and Homegirls dedicated to the craziest mission of all: community amor.

The New America: We choose to do it not because it is not crazy; we do it precisely because it is loco.

Alex Nieto’s One Year Community Commemoration March 21, 2015

Alex Nieto Flyer One Year_001Facebook invite: Alex Nieto’s One Year Community Commemoration, March 21, 2015

You are invited:

5pm Interfaith prayers with the Nieto Family
@Alex Nieto Memorial Site at Bernal Heights Park
Aztec Dancers – Catholic prayer – Buddhist chant

6pm Trail of Tears Procession. Bernal Heights Park→ Folsom Street→ 24th Street →Mission Street. We will lay flowers for the fallen to violence on our route. Bring your offerings.

7pm Film premiere of “Amor for Alex” with Nieto Family
@Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

Please note that pre-film events will start simultaneously at 5pm at MCCLA. See specific Facebook event Amor for Alex film premiere for details

Amor4Alex

ACLU: Alex Nieto, Black and Brown Lives, and the Need for Policing Reform

The ACLU published a blog piece “Alex Nieto, Black and Brown Lives, and the Need for Policing Reform” following the decision not to indict the officers involved in Alex Nieto’s death – connecting the dots between racially-motivated police brutality and the need for policing reform.

The Alex Nieto Coalition is excited about this blog and hope everyone will read below:

https://www.aclunc.org/blog/alex-nieto-black-and-brown-lives-and-need-policing-reform

Alex Nieto, Black and Brown Lives, and the Need for Policing Reform

Last Friday, on the heels of recent decisions not to prosecute the officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office declined to criminally indict four SFPD officers who killed Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, a 28 year-old Latino male.

The officers fired 59 bullets at Nieto. At least 14 rounds landed and caused his death.

The D.A.’s Office concluded that the officers’ actions were “clearly reasonable” because Nieto was carrying his licensed Taser, which the officers mistook for a gun. He had the Taser because he was a security guard on his way to work.

The killing of Nieto, and other black and brown males, such as Tamir Rice and Ezell Ford, seems all too familiar.

Indeed, their deaths have made many wonder whether differences in the ways police interact with people of color and whites should be viewed as the product of systemic injustice, rather than mere lapses.

Would Nieto and others of color still be alive if they were white?

With fairer skin, would their deaths have been deemed legally justified in absence of prosecutions?

At least one recent poll gives credence to the idea that the results of these cases may have turned on race. It found that most Californians (55%) believe that blacks and other people of color are treated less equally than whites in the criminal justice system. Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, where Nieto was killed, are the most likely (62%) to hold that view.

This perspective is not restricted to everyday people. Last week, for instance, FBI Director James Comey declared that “[m]any people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face.”

In light of this sentiment – that our system of justice is racially unjust – a pressing civil liberty issue for Californians to consider is what reforms would help ensure that marginalized people are more adequately protected?

To add, how might community trust in law enforcement be advanced?

Racial profiling

In 2000, California enacted a bill that banned racial profiling by law enforcement.

However, in 2002, Michelle Alexander, then-Director of the ACLU of Northern California’s Racial Justice Project, authored a report which found that our state’s racial profiling statute had no practical effect because it required nothing more than the constitutional minimum.

That same year, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) concluded that California’s definition of racial profiling was too vague. It added that, because of such vagueness, some law enforcement agencies resisted following the definition and recommended that it be revised.

Since then, the federal government, states and localities around the county have considered or adopted anti-profiling measures that seek to prevent discrimination by law enforcement through the following:

  • Expanding protected identity classifications beyond race and ethnicity to also include gender, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation.
  • Implementing data collection and analysis systems for stops, searches and seizures.
  • Requiring that information on profiling be publicly reported on a routine basis.
  • Providing a private right of action to victims of profiling.
  • Creating independent entities that investigate and audit police departments for illegal profiling patterns and practices, and propose reforms.

Use of force

In his speech, FBI Director Comey questioned whether Americans can “address concerns about ‘use of force’” and “officer-involved shootings if we do not have a reliable grasp on the demographics and circumstances of those incidents?”

He added that “we simply must improve the way we collect and analyze data to see the true nature of what’s happening in all of our communities.”

In California, all state and local law enforcement agencies must report any death that occurs in custody to our state Attorney General. Such reports include deaths that occur during arrest as a result of a use of force.

However, the Attorney General’s Office has not publicly disseminated the information it receives on a routine basis.

California can start resolving its law enforcement use of force problems through the following:

  • Expanding the existing reporting requirement from deaths in custody to also include any use of force that results in serious bodily injury.
  • Require that demographic information (such as race, gender, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation), along with the type of force used, be included in law enforcement agencies’ reports to the Attorney General.
  • Require the Attorney General to publicly release the use of force information it receives every year.

At bottom, the recent death of Nieto and many other people of color at the hands of police has exacerbated distrust in law enforcement.

In absence of public trust, the legitimacy of law enforcement is placed in question, if not downright undermined.

To restore confidence, and better understand how to improve community safety, robust reform and transparency on racial profiling and use of force policies and practices is necessary.

We cannot wait any longer.

Chauncee Smith is a Racial Justice Advocate with the ACLU of California Center for Advocacy & Policy.

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.

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