PRESS RELEASE: Alex Nieto Memorial Celebration!

PRESS RELEASE

Alex Nieto Memorial Celebration and Community Proclamation to Fire SFPD Officer Roger Morse, Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. at the North Side of Bernal Heights Park (top of Folsom Street)

CONTACTS:

Benjamin Bac Sierra, M.A., J.D.

Roberto Hernandez

Ely Flores

Email : info@justice4alexnieto.org

Join the entire community at a press conference this Wednesday, December 21 at 4:00 p.m. at the north side of Bernal Heights Park to celebrate “The Alex Nieto Memorial Victory!” Last week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ voted 9 to 1 in favor of the memorial, which means that this ordinance is veto proof from the Mayor.

At the same time, with our power of amor, we will demand SFPD Officer Roger Morse be fired from the force for his threats to the Nietos; the San Francisco Office of Citizens Complaints, in an unprecedented decision, has sustained a review that demands action from the Chief of Police (see link below).

For Alex Nieto, for our community, we fought this fight, and we won the first memorial ever in California dedicated to a victim of an unlawful police killing. We held our dignity and proved to the world how the gente argue better and action more creatively and courageously than anyone ever could imagine. Come this Wednesday, so you, too, can celebrate community amor!

Once the memorial is established, community members will hike up to that mountain and pray like Alex did and look out over the beautiful view of San Francisco and be inspired by our community resilience. Students of all ages will travel up to that hill for field trips and to learn about the history and creativity of our community; they will write thousands of educational essays. Families will pilgrimage hands together and love each other at the place where Alex breathed his last breath. This will be a place of peace, of inspiration and amor.

Against the violence and injustice of 59 bullets, family and community rose to defend honor and promote positive spirit.

Amor for Alex Nieto: March 4, 1986 to March 21, 2014.

United we support each other, build momentum, transform the system, and create an authentic history. Food, beverages, and entertainment provided.

To read more about our Alex Nieto Memorial Victory, click here: http://missionlocal.org/2016/12/sf-board-approves-memorial-for-alex-nieto-shot-by-sfpd/

To find out more about Officer Roger Morse’s threats and the Office of Citizen’s Complaints findings, click here: https://justice4alexnieto.org/2016/12/12/breaking-news/

#MorseOffTheForce!!

Now back to an argument I created back in March 2016. Finally our arguments are paying off because as you know the San Francisco Office of Citizens Complaints has now used these arguments to sustain an allegation of CONDUCT REFLECTING DISCREDIT ON THE DEPARTMENT against Officer Roger Morse for behaving inappropriately or and making inappropriate comments is SUSTAINED.

Watch the entire video for la pura neta:

FIRE OFFICER MORSE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb3Kjr_I8WM&feature=youtu.be

All love to Ray Balberan for the footage.

Share this unprecedented authentic breaking news far and wide!!!!

For threatening the Nietos and community after the Alex Nieto Trial, The San Francisco Office of Citizens’ Complaints has NOW concluded the following about SFPD Officer ROGER MORSE:

The allegation of CONDUCT REFLECTING DISCREDIT ON THE DEPARTMENT against a police officer for behaving inappropriately or and making inappropriate comments is SUSTAINED.

The matter will now be transmitted to the SFPD Chief of Police for review and ACTION.

This means that Officer ROGER MORSE, who unlawfully killed Alex Nieto, should be punished for making threats after the trial. This has never happened in the history of the Office of Citizens’ Complaints. We, the people, lead the way! We can argue better than them! I thank Father Richard for bringing the matter up to the Office of Citizens’ Complaints. Below you will see the arguments I created on March 18, 2016, once I learned of the threats.

https://todobododown.wordpress.com/…/black-and-brown…/

Amongst other things, we exposed a bona fide threat from SFPD Officer Roger Morse, one of Alex Nieto’s killers. On Facebook, immediately following the verdict, SFPD Officer Roger Morse threatened the Nieto family and Alex Nieto’s friend, presumably me. The following is a copy of the actual text posting on social media’s Facebook by Officer Morse:

“Smiling (referring to Alex Nieto). Ugh how about burning down his house and tazing his friend who pressed charges.”

Officer Roger Morse’s post is a threat in the English language.

I, Benjamin Bac Sierra, hold a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, a teaching credential certificate and Master’s from San Francisco State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Hastings College of the Law. I am a college English instructor and cannot read his statement in any other way except in the correct English manner described above. Any implications that others are attaching to his words are pure speculation. The words must stand on their own, and we must trust the police officer writer knows how to write in English. I have heard no other explanation from the source himself.

#Breaking News!!

Share this unprecedented authentic breaking news far and wide!!!!

For threatening the Nietos and community after the Alex Nieto Trial, The San Francisco Office of Citizens’ Complaints has NOW concluded the following about SFPD Officer ROGER MORSE:

The allegation of CONDUCT REFLECTING DISCREDIT ON THE DEPARTMENT against a police officer for behaving inappropriately or and making inappropriate comments is SUSTAINED.

The matter will now be transmitted to the SFPD Chief of Police for review and ACTION.

This means that Officer ROGER MORSE, who unlawfully killed Alex Nieto, should be punished for making threats after the trial. This has never happened in the history of the Office of Citizens’ Complaints. We, the people, lead the way! We can argue better than them! I thank Father Richard for bringing the matter up to the Office of Citizens’ Complaints. Below you will see the arguments I created on March 18, 2016, once I learned of the threats.

https://todobododown.wordpress.com/…/black-and-brown-unity…/

Amongst other things, we exposed a bona fide threat from SFPD Officer Roger Morse, one of Alex Nieto’s killers. On Facebook, immediately following the verdict, SFPD Officer Roger Morse threatened the Nieto family and Alex Nieto’s friend, presumably me. The following is a copy of the actual text posting on social media’s Facebook by Officer Morse:

“Smiling (referring to Alex Nieto). Ugh how about burning down his house and tazing his friend who pressed charges.”

Officer Roger Morse’s post is a threat in the English language.

I, Benjamin Bac Sierra, hold a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, a teaching credential certificate and Master’s from San Francisco State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Hastings College of the Law. I am a college English instructor and cannot read his statement in any other way except in the correct English manner described above. Any implications that others are attaching to his words are pure speculation. The words must stand on their own, and we must trust the police officer writer knows how to write in English. I have heard no other explanation from the source himself.

Now join us Tuesday, December 13 at 2:00 p.m. for the Alex Nieto Memorial Vote at City Hall’s Board of Supervisors’ Chambers!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1171443486236434/

 threat

Community Meeting Nov. 28th @ 6pm, Bernal Heights Community Center

SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE:

The only way to the front lines is forward.

community

If you are upset about Trump or the Dakota pipeline, you can and should let your voice be heard. But if you want action, an action that leads to creation, then follow us to the front lines, and it is not in a far off distant land; it is here in our city of San Francisco.

Join us this Monday, November 28 at 6:00 p.m. for the “All Hands Meeting for the Alex Nieto Memorial!” at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on Cortland Street, Alex Nieto’s varrio. For all you OG Veteranos and Veteranas, you know that Cortland is one of our oldest varrios, one of the first places in San Francisco’s Mission/Outer Mission that was gentrified starting back in the 90’s. It was such a loco colorful beautiful hood until they tricked residents into gentrification and kicked them out. Now mostly wealthy white folks live there—lawyers and technology executives. In 2011 they literally erased the varrio history by destroying the Cortland library’s 1983 Native American and cholo mural.

community-2

https://todobododown.wordpress.com/…/all-hands-meeting-for…/

This time we must stand together. History cannot and will not be erased. It is up to you, I literally mean YOU, to make this Alex Nieto memorial reality. Not only is it what the Nietos desire and deserve after being swindled by a mostly white jury out of a just verdict in the civil trial, but also it is what we need as medicine for our community.

We proved Alex’s murder. Check the evidence yourself. I would love to hear any reasonable arguments about how Officer Schiff could, after being counseled by his police officer father, on the night he shot at Alex Nieto, go from saying he looked into Alex’s “angry” eyes and saw his forehead “scrunch” up to being proved a liar two years later in open court— Alex had on a baseball hat and sunglasses on, so it would have been impossible for Officer Schiff to have seen Alex’s eyes or forehead. I would love to hear any explanation of how Alex Nieto’s wrist bone was found in his pocket if, as the officers state, he always had his hands out and pointing a taser. Because there is no reasonable explanation, we must conclude Alex Nieto was unlawfully killed, and this is a severe injustice and tragedy for his family and community. Yet we are thankful for whirlwinds, for they have helped shape who we are: Amor for Alex.

We need mass attendance at this meeting because there may be some who want to erase racism: from the caller, who admitted Alex was doing nothing improper but described him as a “foreigner”, to the dog owner who threatened Alex and spewed obscene racial slurs against him, to the police who profiled him and shot at him fifty nine (59) times. There may be some who want to ignore the corruption of San Francisco: from the district attorney that refused to file criminal charges against the officers, to the collusion between San Francisco and Taser International, the company that gained a two million dollar contract with the city, after manipulating the time stamps on Alex Nieto’s taser so that it would match up nicely with the fabricated police narrative.

We sing NO to erasure. We shout NO to corruption. With the joining now of 3,000 others who have signed the petition and at least four San Francisco supervisors, we demand an ordinance (law) for a memorial tribute to Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights. We imagine community members hiking up to that mountain and praying like he did, looking out over the view of San Francisco and being reminded and reminded of his unlawful death AND our community resilience. We want students of all ages to travel up to that hill for field trips and stand at that memorial site and learn about the history and creativity of our community; they will write thousands of critical educational essays. We want families to pilgrimage hands together and love each other at the place where Alex breathed his last breath. Lovers will make an offering and share a kiss, the way we used to do it up on that mountain in the old days. We want this place to be a place of peace, of inspiration and amor.

We need you there. Your family needs you there. Your community needs you there. Your unborn grandchildren need you there: “All Hands Meeting for the Alex Nieto Memorial!” Monday, November 28, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Wear red and black in honor of Alex. Join the Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1156504267790999/?notif_t=plan_user_associated&notif_id=1478981259825422

Amor for Alex Nieto: March 4, 1986 to March 21, 2014
Against the violence and injustice of 59 bullets, family and community rose to defend honor and promote positive spirit.
Benjamin Bac Sierra, M.A., J.D.

Community meeting Nov. 28th @6pm Bernal Heights Community Center

All Hands Meeting for the Amor for Alex Memorial at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on Monday, November 28 from 6-8 p.m.! Bring banners and your Amor for Alex T-shirts 🙂 Wear red and black in honor of Alex Nieto. Let’s join each other at one of our oldest varrios on Cortland Street!

We thank you for your constant support and love. My friends, with the full Amor of Alex Nieto, join the Facebook event page and invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/1156504267790999/

Because there may be present a minority of misinformed people, we need mass community attendance at this meeting. We must be united at this meeting to stand strong, intellectually aware, and action oriented, as we always have been. Note you will be with great company, as over 2,500 community members have already officially signed the petition to support the memorial. Also, note the following people and organizations that have also backed the memorial:

Amor for Alex Nieto, The University of California, Hastings College of the Law La Raza Law Students, HOMEY, United Playaz, Manilatown Heritage Association, Our Mission No Eviction, Loco Bloco, Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen, the Mayor of La Mission Roberto Hernandez, Justice for Amilcar Perez-Lopez, The Mario Woods Coalition, various labor unions are planning to endorse, and over 2,500 community members.

Amor for Alex Nieto: March 4, 1986 to March 21, 2014

Against the violence and injustice of 59 bullets, family and community rose to defend honor and promote positive spirit.

If you have not yet signed the petition, please do so here: https://www.change.org/p/sign-share-petition-for-permanent-alex-nieto-memorial?recruiter=620382860&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

Supervisors commit to an ordinance for a permanent Alex Nieto memorial! How supporters can help…

Press conference and rally

September 13, 2016. City Hall, San Francisco, CA.-

Refugio and Elvira Nieto held a press conference outside City Hall to demand from the Board of Supervisors a permanent memorial on Bernal Heights for Alex Nieto.  In response, Supervisors Avalos and Campos expressed their commitments to support a resolution to the Board of Supervisors for a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto (see Live Videos on Justice 4 Alex Nieto Facebook group.) Danzantes opened the press conference with a prayer and friendship dance.

Specific statements of support were made by Ben Bac Sierra, María Villalta and Oscar Salinas members of the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Coalition, Father Richard Smith of Justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez, Maria Cristina Gutierrez for Black and Brown Unity as part Compañeros del Barrio and Justice for Mario Woods Coalition, Archbishop King of the St. John Coltrane Church, United Playaz, Mayra Hernandez Co-Chair of La Raza in Hastings Law School, Luis Poot Pat of Justice for Luis Góngora Pat, Tony Serrano Garcia of Justice for Yanira Serrano Garcia, Isawari España, Roberto Hernandez from Our Mission No Eviction, and Rae from Cultural Action Network. Other groups in attendance and support included San Franciscans for Police Accountability, Prensa Pobre, and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, alongside individual supporters who showed up for the Nieto Family.

Family addresses Board of Supervisors

After the press conference, supporters waited inside City Hall to provide public comment at the regular Board of Supervisors meeting. Public comment did not open until around 8 o’clock. Despite the long wait, many supporters remained to accompany the Nietos to demand a permanent Alex Nieto memorial.

Refugio Nieto addressed the BOS to explain how he goes everyday to pray an Our Father for Alex Nieto at the site of his killing, but is sometimes incapable of even saying a prayer because he might find the altar vandalized and in need of repair. He spoke of the cruelty of having to face such acts of hate, but also spoke of the many acts of care and love of others who made offerings to the altar. Elvira Nieto spoke to the Supervisors of her son, who was a good son, a good worker and student, who hoped to have children of his own one day, and asked for a permanent space to grieve and set up offerings. Both parents  spoke of the loss and the fact that the City had so far failed to give any adequate response for the killing of their son, Alex.

About a dozen supporters supported the Nietos by asking the Supervisors to recognize that harm had been done to the Nieto Family and the Latino community; that altars carried cultural significance to the Latino community; that the request for a permanent and protected altar and memorial was a most basic act of restoration; that Alex’s death was tied to gentrification policies of the City that allow newcomers to arrive in droves to the Mission without understanding the cultural differences and their privileges in the communities of color they come to displace and inhabit; that there has been no change in policing policies enacted; and that the memorial could stand to symbolize a break with the past and new era in which police end their brutal use of force against black and brown people of the City.

Supervisors Avalos and Campos commit to support an ordinance

In chambers, Supervisor John Avalos committed to drafting an ORDINANCE ordering a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto. Supervisor David Campos committed to be in support. While a resolution would only be a recommendation from the Board of Supervisors, an ORDINANCE would be a law ordering the memorial to be established. This was an important day for the Nietos and the justice & love for Alex Nieto movement.

Supervisor Avalos promised to draft and submit an ordinance to the Board of Supervisors within the next two weeks. In other words, by Tuesday September 27th.

How supporters can help:

Once Supervisor Avalos fulfills his promise and submits the ordinance to the BOS, we request that supporter:

  • Show up again for public comment at the Board of Supervisors to express themselves in favor of the ordinance.
  • Organize with their coalitions to have a lobbying day at City Hall in support of the permanent Alex Nieto Memorial and Altar.
  • Call their district supervisor and demand their support for the ordinance. Below is the list of supervisors and their office numbers and emails.
John Avalos John Avalos
District 11
(415) 554-6975 – Voice
(415) 554-6979 – Fax

John.Avalos@sfgov.org

David Campos David Campos
District 9
(415) 554-5144 – voice
(415) 554-6255 – fax

David.Campos@sfgov.org

Malia Cohen Malia Cohen
District 10
(415) 554-7670 – Voice
(415) 554-7674 – Fax

Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org

London Breed London Breed
District 5
(415) 554-7630 – Voice
(415) 554-7634 – Fax

London.Breed@sfgov.org

Aaron Peskin Aaron Peskin
District 3
(415) 554-7450 – Voice
(415) 554-7454

Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org

Jane KIm Jane Kim
District 6
(415) 554-7970 – Voice
(415) 554-7974 – Fax

Jane.Kim@sfgov.org

Eric Mar Eric Mar
District 1
(415) 554-7410 – Voice
(415) 554-7415 – Fax

Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org

Mark Ferrall Mark Farrell
District 2
(415) 554-7752 – Voice
(415) 554-7843 – Fax

Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org

Scott Wienter Scott Wiener
District 8
(415) 554-6968 – Voice
(415) 554-6909 – Fax

Scott.W

Norman Yee Norman Yee
District 7
(415) 554-6516 – Voice
(415) 554-6546 – Fax

Norman.Yee@

Thank you ! We’re going to make the permanent Alex Nieto Memorial and Altar a reality!

Parents Demand a Permanent Memorial for Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights

Tue. Sep. 13th 1pm front of City Hall. Press conference followed by rally and public commentary to BOS

Elvira and Refugio Nieto and the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto coalition are formulating a demand to the Board of Supervisors to support establishing a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto at the site of his killing on Bernal Heights. The family is asking for the memorial as a minimal gesture of acknowledgement of the senseless and brutal killing of their beloved son and for restoration by the City of the harm caused by SFPD to Alex Nieto and his family and community.

“For two years and a half, Alex Nieto’s family and community members have maintained a memorial and altar for him at the site of his killing. Establishing memorial altars at sites of tragedy is a sacred tradition of Latino communities with deep ancestral and spiritual roots. If the City wants to begin mending broken trust with the Nieto Family and their community, the very minimum the Mayor and Supervisors could do is to provide the permits and resources to establish a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto on the hill”, says coalition member María Villalta.

Photo album of the Community Altar & Memorial for Alex Nieto since March 2014
https://flic.kr/s/aHsk3btZep

Adriana Camarena another coalition member states, “The killing of Alex Nieto is in itself now a historic event of the City, which spurred a historic Latino social justice movement of the City. Rather than continue to ignore its significance, the Board of Supervisors has an opportunity to acknowledge the harm done to the Latino community. With a permanent Alex Nieto Memorial the City can publicly grieve the loss of life at the hands of police officers. A memorial could mark a new beginning in which deathly use of force by SFPD is the last resort and sanctity of life, particularly of black and brown people, the first priority.”

Responding to the fact that the Nieto family lost the civil trial against the City in March 2016, Ben Bac Sierra, member of the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Coalition, said “An unbiased analysis of the facts revealed at the civil trial shows that SFPD officers racially profiled and unlawfully killed Alex Nieto for wearing a 49ers jacket while holding a burrito and walking in his own neighborhood park.” Please click here for a full statement by Ben Bac Sierra about the unlawful killing of Alex Nieto. For further information about the Trial click here.

Oscar Salinas, another member of the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Coalition, who like Alex Nieto, María Villalta and Ben Bac Sierra was born and bred in the Mission and Bernal Heights, gave further context to the demand, “Everyone knows that the death of Alex Nieto and gentrification are tied together, because newcomers such as those who called 911 against Alex, have no sense of respect for established communities. We are asking the City to dedicate a tiny piece of land, sacred now to Latinos in San Francisco, to commemorate and honor a native son of the City, who was brutally killed by its officers. Consider our humble demand to the City by contrast to the massive real estate demands made by developers, like the Nick Podell and his Beast on Bryant. The Latino community is clamoring for respect and action from the Board of Supervisors to end the forced displacement of the native sons and daughters of the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods, and honor Alex Nieto who was killed in the context of irresponsible gentrification policies.”

The Nieto family and supporters are asking the Board of Supervisors to issue a resolution and ordinance to establish a permanent memorial on Bernal Heights Park with official city permits and resources. The Coalition will also explore the possibility of renaming the park, The Alex Nieto Memorial Park.

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1112752778807233/

#Justice4AlexNieto

#AmorPorAlex

#EndPoliceImpunity

 

To SF Mag: We request a public apology and retraction of article by Eskenazi

On March 26th, Adriana Camarena, coalition member, sent the following letter by email to Mr. Joe Eskenazi (jeskenazi@modernluxury.com) with copy to San Francisco Magazine’s (SF Mag) letters email box (letterssf@sanfranmag.com) in response to Eskenazi’s article titled “Alex Nieto Was Not Killed by Gentrification-It Was Worse Than That.”

Today, March 28th, we have sent a copy to the Jon Steinberg, Editor-in-Chief of SF Mag jsteinberg@modernluxury.com requesting a public apology and retraction of the article. Copy also to Twitter handles: @sanfranmag @EskSF and @jonsteinberg31

Email Letter to Mr. Joe Eskenazi, Subject: On your SF mag piece about Alex Nieto

Hi Mr. Eskenazi,

I am writing in response to your article titled “Alex Nieto Was Not Killed by Gentrification-It Was Worse Than That.”

Your article is by its own terms a reactionary response to the phrase “death by gentrification” used [in the title of the article written] by Rebecca Solnit**, and not actually about the facts of the case of the shooting of Alex Nieto by four SFPD officers on March 21, 2014. The facts relevant to the shooting (as both parties saw them) were clearly presented at the trial of Refugio and Elvira Nieto v Ofcs Richard Schiff, Jason Sawyer, Roger Morse, and Nate Chew and the City & County of San Francisco for the civil rights violations of their son Alex. The Trial took place from March 1-10th, nearly two years after his death, and if you had been journalistically inclined to do so, you could have attended and heard the facts for yourself. I mention this because the second phrase in the title of your article “…-It Was Worse Than That” leads into a series of claims about Alex Nieto’s mental health as central to an understanding of this case, when those facts were deemed irrelevant.

Had you been at trial or following the case at all or really cared about Alex’s “unnecessary death” to use your own words, you would know that Alex Nieto’s mental health records were not discussed at all at the Trial because in pre-trial hearings after considering arguments from both parties, federal civil Judge Cousins decided that those records were *not* relevant to the shooting, and could be highly prejudicial to the jury in looking at the facts. In other words, the record you mention in your article from years back could unnecessarily taint the jury’s opinion of the victim, rather than focus on the facts relevant to the shooting, which remains the matter at hand.

Because you claim to be a journalist, it behooves you to understand why those facts were not relevant, and I believe you should have attempted this before writing about Alex’s mental health with such certainty. Had you had the journalistic integrity to research and question your sources, you would have realized that you basically quoted from the police narrative of events fed by SFPD and the City officials to the media after Alex’s death, then again after the Medical Examiner report was issued 5 months later, then after the D.A. decided not to criminally charge the officers, then after the court ordered the names of the officers involved to be revealed 9 months later, and then after SFPD cleared its officers of committing murder. The narrative propagated by police sought from the start to drill into the public imagination that Alex Nieto was a person worth killing. We often refer to this technique used by police department spokespeople after an office-involved shooting as “character assassination” of the victim. Clearly, it worked on you.

The police narrative* version of Alex Nieto has and will always be a contested version. The narrative that you choose to propagate is the police version of who was Alex Nieto based on a mental health crisis in his life. The mental health record from 2011 was not deemed relevant to the shooting and not allowed into evidence, because 3 years had passed in which the crisis transpired without further incident. In regards to his mental health, it would be most relevant to ask who was Alex Nieto to people who knew him well or on a daily basis since he received treatment in 2011. In that case, you could have chosen to ask his employers, friends, his supervisor while he was a juvenile probation officer intern, his parents, his girlfriend, and community advocates who knew him and his conduct in the years after that oft quoted mental health incident by police. But in any case, those opinions like the 2011 mental health record were not relevant to the shooting either because police responding to the hill that day had no idea who was the man described in the dispatch call.

But here is a fact on record: No threat was ever reported in the 911 Call. The 911 caller Justin Fritz testified that he never saw Alex Nieto doing anything threatening, neither did his partner Tim Isgitt. Isgitt was concerned and anxious about a guy who they thought had a gun at his hip, but who in the words of Fritz was only eating sunflower seeds or chips. Robin Bullard who was the last to walk past him before he was killed testified that Alex did not seem threatening to him, he was even curious about the weapon at his hip, but in the end, Bullard described him as “just a guy.” The eyewitness to the shooting Antonio Theodore said Alex was casually walking down the hill, unaware police were looking for him, and that when they encountered him he had his hands in his pockets before he was gunned down. But you do know many of these facts, because I’m repeating things already covered in Rebecca Solnit’s article.

In the end, I have to conclude that you wrote this article as a die-hard defender of gentrification, going so far as attacking a world renown literary writer and journalist by piggie-backing on her piece and opinion on a local police brutality case in the context of a housing crisis in the City. Rather than actually doing research yourself, you question Rebecca Solnit’s journalistic integrity without reason and should be sued for libel. All her facts about the case are 100% correct. I should know this, since I was at the trial everyday sitting next to the parents of Alex Nieto, and followed his case since the day he died til today. I helped found the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Coalition in the days after his shooting.

SF magazine invited me to be part of their December 2015 Pro-Activists photoshoot, except that as schedules moved around and dates changed I was finally not able to participate because work travel came up. I believe SF mag was originally interested in my community advocacy work both around housing activism and police brutality. I now feel fortunate that I did not participate given that your mag is willing to print such a badly researched, knee jerk reactionary article.

Overall, your attitude about the police killing of Alex Nieto sucks. Rather than dissuade us from the argument that this was not death by gentrification, I would say that you have perfectly captured the spirit of the despised gentrifier who justifies the expulsion of a native resident by any means necessary. If as a journalist, you really want us to believe that gentrifiers get a bad rap, then attempt to see the other side and understand exactly how newcomers employed in the tech world contributed to his killing. Shame on you Mr. Ezenkazi. While you claim that the mentally ill should not be criminalized*, your coverage of the Alex Nieto shooting makes a case for the opposite because you call in as fact that which was deemed irrelevant by a court of law. Moreover, you give credit to the police version of events entirely without actually considering that their narrative is biased. You made no attempt to research the alternative evidence produced at trial. You go on to say that officers who kill people with mental illness get medals as if that is proof that they acted justifiably. That alone tells me how clueless you are about the extent to which police departments and police unions will go to cover murder committed on the job by fellow officers. To them, you just became a darling. To us, you just became their dunce.

I think you owe an apology to Rebecca Solnit for attacking her journalistic integrity. But most importantly, you should apologize to Alex’s family and his community who you so callously disregard in tainting the memory of Alex Nieto by repeating the character assassination based* used as part of the biased police narrative.

Alex Nieto is not here to defend nor explain himself, but his community will stand up for him, because many other black and brown community members know what it is like to be unjustly racially (and mentally) profiled by newcomers, police officers, and journalists, and many other white (including newcomer) community members know how important it is to stand by them. It is in that spirit that I write this response, because without accountability by those who causes us harm, there cannot be restoration of community relations. And community relations is what is at stake after the death of Alex Nieto, as well as after the many no-fault evictions and police brutality incidents and deportations before and after his death.

In case there is any doubt, journalistically speaking, I am suggesting you apologize and clarify in your article that the mental health record you based your entire narrative on was not deemed relevant to the shooting.

Sincerely,
Adriana Camarena

*denotes: typo corrected or strikethrough edit added for readability, otherwise same letter
** Rebecca Solnit, Death by gentrification: the killing that shamed San Francisco, March 21st,2016, The Guardian.  The title of the article “Death by gentrification-…” was chosen by the editors of The Guardian and not language actually used by the author Rebecca Solnit. Originally the letter said “in the article written by Rebecca Solnit.”

What’s the next step towards ending police impunity?

We invite you to learn about our most recent demands for a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto, a package of legislative reforms, and follow up on a federal investigation requested by the Board of Supervisors of the City. Our demands for legal reform have support from a wide berth of community organizations, and Supervisor Avalos and Campos have agreed to present our demands to the Board of Supervisors. Click here to learn more! On Second Anniversary of Alex’s Killing, Coalition Presents Demands to End Police Impunity.

COMMUNITY DEMANDS TO END POLICE IMPUNITY

Today on the 2nd Anniversary of Alex Nieto’s killing by SFPD officers, we issue the following:

COMMUNITY DEMANDS TO END SFPD IMPUNITY

On Thursday March 10th, 2016, a majority white suburban jury delivered a verdict in the public trial of the Nieto Family v SFPD that not only stunned our communities, but underscored the history of police impunity that exists in this City.

The jury found that Sergeant Jason Sawyer and Officers Richard Schiff, Roger Morse and Nate Chew did not use excessive force in killing Alex Nieto on March 21st, 2014 in Bernal Heights Park, nearly two years ago when they shot at him 59 times. The trial was widely covered in the media and a factual record of the evidence is publicly available. Put quite simply, based on the facts discovered, we find the police version of events impossible to believe.

The parents of Alex Nieto, in the deepest recesses of grief and sorrow having had to relive their son’s death, and having had to view the photos showing his shot and broken body, and sit near the four officers who shot him to death, now had to absorb that in this court there would be no justice.

The lack of consequence for the officers who killed Alex Nieto sends a strong message to our youth that their lives don’t matter. It has reinforced a lack of confidence in the institutions of the City and County of San Francisco.

On this March 21, 2016, the second anniversary of Alex Nieto having been killed by SFPD officers, we are making the following demands to the City and County of San Francisco, and asking the Board of Supervisors to act upon the following demands:

  • Establish a permanent memorial at the site where Alex Nieto was killed in Bernal Heights Park, where community members have maintained a memorial for two years, as a minimal gesture towards restoring relations.
  • Modify the SFPD Department General Order to make alternatives to lethal use of force unequivocally mandatory.
  • Radically increase transparency of the SFPD by requiring public and online permanent record keeping of complaints and incidents of use of force by officers, according to best open government practices.
  • Establish a Special Prosecutor’s Office that is a true and autonomous investigative and prosecutorial body in cases involving police misconduct including officer involved shootings.
  • Require peer review processes in the Office of Medical Examiner when facing an officer involved shooting.

We also ask the Board of Supervisors to follow up on the January 26, 2016 BOS resolution requesting a federal investigation into the police killings of Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez Lopez, and Mario Woods, by taking steps to:

  • Establish an action plan with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to enforce said Resolution, and
  • Request that the DOJ Civil Rights Division, as regards the killing of Alex Nieto, also investigate the handling of the case and evidence by all relevant city officials and city contractors and consultants involved, namely but not limited to the San Francisco Police Department (its Chief of Police, homicide investigators, crime scene investigators, firearms experts, and any other officers involved in securing, preparing or handling evidence), the Office of the District Attorney, the Office of the City Attorney, the Office of the Medical Examiner, Taser International, and Precision Simulations.

Alex Nieto’s death will not be in vain.

IRideWNietos Final 8x11 ToEnd Police Impunity_001

HOW TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH OUR CAMPAIGN:

ENDORSE OUR COMMUNITY DEMANDS!

We ask that community members and organizations endorse our demands.

  • Write and call your supervisors to demand action!
  • If you are community organization or group, we also request that you send an email to info@justice4alexnieto.org expressing your interest to be included in collective actions.

WHAT WILL WE ACHIEVE?

Act towards restoring community relations with a permanent memorial to Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights Park AND strike at the heart of police impunity with legal and institutional reform that will:

  • Close regulatory loopholes that impede accountability for police misconduct
  • Increase the transparency of police officer conduct in our communities
  • Create a new and autonomous Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute police misconduct, including officer involved shootings
  • Insist on a federal civil rights investigation into the police killings of Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez Lopez, and Mario Woods
  • Ask for a federal investigation into tampering of evidence by City Officials in the Alex Nieto case

ALEX NIETO’S DEATH WILL NOT BE IN VAIN.

Media coverage of the trial

Throughout the Trial we will be posting links to media coverage so that you can stay informed!

Pre-trial coverage

Day 1 – TUE March 1

 

Day 2 – WED March 2