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

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The only way to the front lines is forward.

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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.

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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

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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

We Fly Even When We Fall: A Review of ‘On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto’”

 

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The capacity crowd’s energy is electrifying, urging the young actors to push their souls to the limits, to reach deep down and extract their essence, their street essence, their indigenous essence, their Frisco funk. A Latino and multicultural youth movement explodes in front of your eyes. Candy Contreras. Melissa Gomez. Jocelyn Lainez. Talia Matau. Luis Ramirez Martinez. Nicole Nutterfield. Estela “Nataly” Ortiz. Jad Quesada-Khoury. Lochlein Sekona. Stephanie Tomasulo.

The sound of gunshots greets you to the plot of the play: “On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto.”

Alex Nieto, we learn, was a young man racially profiled by the SFPD and unlawfully killed by 14 of their 59 bullets shot at him on top of Bernal Hill on March 21, 2014. The community would not accept this horror story, so the community rose. The artists rose. The youth rose.

The cast are all young people from the inner city. The musicians are a new breed of Santana/Loco Bloco/hip hop/rap fused artists with their own rock and roll soul slick style. Their music is a reminder of roots and a promise of revolution. Angela Rey. Amadeus Oyagata. Anthony Corona. Cy Thompson. Ariel Mestaller-Orallo. Mosiah Concha. Madison Cenac. Liset Gutierrez. Grace Nevarez-Ortiz.

“On the Hill” constantly confronts their pain, the taboo of gentrification in the most progressive and liberal city on planet earth. San Francisco, the city itself, becomes a main character. This is, however, a universal story, for it forces us to question, then, how racist and classist is it in other places, such as Denver, San Antonio, Walnut Creek, places that are not as open as San Fran. And even here we realize the developers believe the earth was meant to be made into cubicles, partitions, workspaces.

 

Wildflowers must be massacred.

 

Then how can the actors dance their pain away? They dance and gift us creativity and courage, performing intricate moves, tribal acrobatics, ballet-style grace. Nietzsche once proclaimed that a day without dancing is a day without life. These youth prove life in front of our eyes. Here is where the audience begins to see art as an authentic transformation tool. The message is deep: we create our own movements; we transform the tragic into triumph. We mold our own media, not made by politicians or professors, or ultra-intellectual outsiders, but made by people who care about community uplifting. The play is the epitome of vida loca, the street creed. Here locura serves as a medicine and philosophy forward, for who else would create a play that so blatantly confronts the perfect system of corruption?

“On the Hill” exposes the entrenched corruption at every level of the San Francisco machine. Based on actual testimony and trial transcripts, the play reports on the district attorney’s failings to prosecute the police officers who killed Alex, the collusion between the district attorney and the city attorney, the police department’s theft of Alex Nieto’s car and search without a warrant, the city attorney’s attempted manipulation of Yahira, Alex’s girlfriend, Alex’s wrist bone in his pocket.

 

59 shots.

Even with all of this overwhelming evidence, the jury decides against Alex Nieto and in favor of their beloved protectors, the police. The white jury. No African Americans or Latinos served as peers. Nevertheless, the community is not smashed by injustice. We know there is no hope through their system. So we create our own. In the play, the actress that played Elvira Nieto, Alex’s mother repeats: “I am not la llorona, the weeping woman.” We dance to death. We create art out of hatred. We realize and acknowledge our own power and do not hope for others to save us. We have proven we are not helpless. The future, even with all its obstacles, is bright.

Where do we go from here? More places, more performances, worldwide international travelers (or troublers, if you say it with my father’s musical accent). We play in front of their face and show them the roots of Frisco and how we still lead the way, even when they kill us. We continue to fight for justice for Mario Woods, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Luis Gongora, and all the others who have fallen, unlawfully killed by SFPD.

We fly even when we fall.

We need more writing about this play and these issues. We need our own education, our own arts, our own agency.

We need leaders like Paul Flores, the director, a working star. Consider it was only a month ago that Paul was recruiting actors off the streets. For them to perform the way they did, he must have reached into their guts and souls. Of course they had these gifts inside them all along, but we must praise Paul for his ability to love and to show them to give their love away to an unknown audience. Leaders love, serve, learn, and teach, but don’t bullshit. They train and inspire the next generation. A professional, Paul respected their style and worked to fine-tune it.

Leaders have gotten a bad rap lately—because we imagine idiots. But I am not referencing the clowns or political leaders but authentic organizers full of heart and soul, leaders with vision and selflessness but also with guts and unafraid to be leaders. Leaders work and prove, and the proof is not in a theory but in a substantive action. To accomplish is to practice constantly and to work ceaselessly. We cannot follow shortcuts.

While some may feel disheartened at the end of the play because there is no clear happy Hollywood ending, we must understand that art is not meant to be pure propaganda. Not every singular story or piece of magic surrounding the Alex Nieto movement could be told in ninety minutes. Perhaps more could have been explored about the effects of the intense trial, how, for example, we influenced other art, murals, songs and music, performances and actions, like a 2015 street play, a mock trial where the Nietos actually ripped up the badges of the killer cops, or the feats of the Frisco Five hunger strikers who, with puro locura and love, put their lives on the line in front of the Mission Police Station for 18 days and nights. Perhaps the play could have shown how joined together with other coalitions, such as the Mario Woods and Amilcar Perez Lopez Coalitions, we fired the chief of police of one of the most powerful cities on planet earth.

But that is for another story, one that can be created by our own people. “On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto” serves as a springboard for more. Using this play as a template and inspiration, we can create our own plays, our own world. That’s the way I see it. That’s the way the Nietos see it, as they loved the play and fully support it.

Thanks to all who have proven their amor and continue to fight the good fight.

https://todobododown.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/we-fly-even-when-we-fall-a-review-of-on-the-hill-i-am-alex-nieto/

“On The Hill: I am Alex Nieto” SOLD OUT ALL SHOWS!

Share true love 🙂

“On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto” International art full of amor! The greatest show I have ever witnessed in my life. The youth performing the true story of the Amor for Alex Nieto movement. Inspiring, horrible, and transformational. Thank you Paul S. Flores for your amazing leadership and love. Thank you to the Pachanga poets as well 🙂 Blessings to our loving community.

Stay tuned for our next moves: The Alex Nieto Memorial and justice for all, inlcuding Mario Woods and Amilcar!

~Ben Bac Sierra~

 

Letter to the Editor of Bernalwood

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Note: This letter to the editor was sent by Maria Villalta to the Bernalwood editor in response to his article “Supervisor Campos Announces Support for Permanent Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill.” We invite supporters to leave a comment in favor of the permanent memorial as well, although it currently seems like Mr. Lappin is not approving nor publishing those comments sent by supporters of the Nieto Family.

To: Mr. Lappin, editor of Bernalwood
bernalwood@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Lappin,

My name is Maria Villalta, I was a friend of Alex Nieto and I am a member of the Justice and Love for Alex Nieto Coalition. I am responding to your post titled “Supervisor Campos Announces Support for Permanent Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill.” I am surprised at the tone of your article about the Nieto Family’s request for a permanent memorial for their son Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights. The request for a permanent memorial has been a long standing request of the family since the very early moments after his death, and I would assume that having a permanent memorial would be a proposal supported by the Bernal Heights neighbors who for two years and a half have kindly and generously supported the existing community memorial.

Soon after Alex’s death, his family, neighbors and community began keeping a memorial and altar for him at the site of his killing. Refugio Nieto maintains the altar daily on Bernal Heights along with anonymous community members who leave offerings of love and respect towards Alex. On the 21st of every month the community joins Elvira and Refugio at the altar, in prayer and celebration of Alex’s life. You are all invited to this upcoming month celebration of Alex’s life on Wednesday September 21st, 2016 at 6pm.

Establishing a memorial altar at sites of tragedy is a sacred tradition of Latino communities with deep ancestral and spiritual roots. An altar is a sacred place for sacrifices and gifts offered up to God, Our Creator. An altar is a place to show love towards our deceased. Memorials are official forms of altars; an important part of everyday American culture as well. Memorials allow people to remember a deceased loved one or an important public figure or event. The killing of Alex Nieto is now a historic event of the City that sparked a historic Latino social justice movement for love and justice over the senseless, avoidable and brutal killing of a young community member by the San Francisco Police Department.

As a San Francisco native I can tell you that many other native residents feel that Alex Nieto, a young, joyful, working class, student, and community organizer represents the spirit of the Latino Mission and Bernal Heights; a representation of the beautiful brown and black people that used to walk through these neighborhoods without questioning their safety or belonging to that land. The altar on the hill represents the ultimate sacrifice; a good life was lost at the hands of police. Alex was well known in the community, because of his dedicated community service since he was a youth. The brutal killing of Alex caused a lot of pain in our communities in Bernal and the Mission District and we should be allowed to mourn and uplift our beloved dead one.

In memory of Alex Nieto and in support of his parent’s demand posed to the Board of Supervisors this past September 13th, I am asking their Bernal Heights neighbors to join us in demanding the Board of Supervisors to issue a resolution for a permanent altar and memorial in his honor. To begin mending broken trust with the Nieto Family and their community, the very minimum the Mayor and Board of Supervisors could do is to provide the permits and resources to establish a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto on the hill. Have it be an act of restoration of all the trauma SFPD has caused the brown and black communities decade after decade. Let it be a protected space were we can safely grieve and be assured that any vandalism to the site will be prosecuted. We have asked that the City and County of San Francisco also pay for this memorial as it paid for the bullets that killed Alex. Whichever reading of the facts you wish to have and whichever stance you may have on a justice system that systematically sides with police, Alex Nieto’s killing by SFPD caused great harm in our Latino community and that harm needs to be mended by an act of restoration by the City. A memorial could mark a new beginning in which deathly use of force by SFPD is the last resort and sanctity of life the first principle of its police force.

On September 13th, your neighbors Elvira and Refugio Nieto petitioned the Supervisors of San Francisco to support a permanent memorial for their son Alex Nieto. We were accompanied in our request by Justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez, Justice for Luis Góngora Pat, Justice for Mario Woods Coalition, Compañeros del Barrio, the Church of St. John Coltrane, La Raza Students Organization in Hastings Law School, District Candidate Isawari España, Our Mission No Eviction, the Cultural Action Network, San Franciscans for Police Accountability, Poor Magazine, and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, alongside many individual supporters who showed up for the Nieto Family at the press conference prior to our public comment petition.

We invite you to support our demand to the Board of Supervisors to restore harm caused by this City to Alex Nieto, his family and our Latino community with a permanent memorial at the site of the ongoing community memorial. The Nietos are considering a commemorative bench would be nice and plaque, but with our request approved we will welcome community input around a proposed memorial.

A permanent altar and memorial gives old school San Franciscans hope: Hope that the City we love and hold dearly to our hearts will attempt to restore our broken relationships with authorities and allow family, friends and the community to know about their past and design a better future together. According to Tyron Edwards, “Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted.”

Thank you,
María Villalta
A friend of Alex Nieto, San Franciscan native, and member of the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Coalition

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

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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!

Maria Villalta: A permanent altar and memorial for Alex Nieto would be an act of restoration from the City

Refugio & Elvira work tirelessly to maintain a memorial to their son at the site of his killing.

My name is Maria Villalta, I was a friend of Alex Nieto and I am a member of the Justice and Love for Alex Nieto Coalition.

For two and a half years, Alex Nieto’s family has maintained a memorial and altar on Bernal Heights at the site of his killing. Refugio keeps the altar along with anonymous community members who leave offerings of love and respect towards Alex. On the 21st of every month the community joins Elvira and Refugio at the altar, in prayer and celebration of Alex’s life

Establishing a memorial altar at sites of tragedy is a sacred tradition of Latino communities with deep ancestral and spiritual roots. An altar is a sacred place for sacrifices and gifts offered up to God, Our Creator. It is a place to show love towards our deceased. Memorials are official forms of altars; an important part of everyday American culture. Memorials allow people to remember a deceased loved one, an important public figure, or event. The killing of Alex Nieto is now a historic event of the City that sparked a historic Latino social justice movement for love and justice over the senseless, avoidable and brutal killing of a young community member by the San Francisco Police Department.

As a San Francisco native I can tell you that many other native residents feel that Alex Nieto, a young, joyful, working class, student, and community organizer represents the spirit of the Latino Mission and Bernal Heights; a representation of the beautiful brown and black people that used to walk through these neighborhoods without questioning their safety or belonging to that land. The altar on the hill represents the ultimate sacrifice; a good life was lost at the hands of police. The brutal killing of Alex caused a lot of pain in our communities and we should be allowed to mourn and uplift our beloved dead.

In memory of Alex Nieto, I stand here side by side with the Nietos to demand that the Board of Supervisors issue a resolution for a permanent altar and memorial in his honor. To begin mending broken trust with the Nieto Family and their community, the very minimum the Mayor and Board of Supervisors could do is to provide the permits and resources to establish a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto on the hill. Have it be an act of restoration of all the trauma SFPD has caused the brown and black communities decade after decade. Let it be a protected space were we can safely grieve and be assured that any vandalism to the site will be prosecuted. I ask that the City and County of San Francisco also pay for this memorial as it paid for the bullets that killed Alex. A memorial could mark a new beginning in which deathly use of force by SFPD is the last resort and sanctity of life the first principle of its police force.

A permanent altar and memorial gives old school San Franciscans hope. Hope that the City we love and hold dearly to our hearts will attempt to restore our broken relationship and allow family, friends and the community to know about their past and design a better future together. According to Tyron Edwards, “Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted.”

Supervisors of San Francisco, will you accept our invitation and support our demand to restore harm caused by this City to Alex Nieto, his family and our Latino community?

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Ben Bac Sierra: A BOS resolution to establish a permanent memorial in honor of Alex Nieto, unlawfully killed by SFPD

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WHY AN ALEX NIETO MEMORIAL?

In order to honor Alex Nieto, a permanent memorial will be established at Bernal Hill Park, the place where he was unlawfully killed by the SFPD.

Through no fault of his own, Alex Nieto, a 28 year old full-time student and security guard who had never been arrested in his life, was shot at fifty nine times and killed by SFPD officers. Even though there were many witnesses that claimed Alex had done nothing wrong and was just peacefully eating his burrito, the San Francisco District Attorney did not pursue criminal charges against officers. Then in a civil trial that clearly evidenced the lies, corruption, and cover-up surrounding Alex’s murder, the SFPD killers were released of liability by a mostly white jury that was comprised of no Latinos or African-Americans.

Note the undisputed facts that shame San Francisco:

  • Officer Schiff, the rookie officer who first began shooting, stated in open court that Alex he saw Alex’s forehead scrunch up. He also stated he made eye contact with Alex’s “angry eyes.” It was proven that Alex Nieto was wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses when he was killed. This was confirmed by a large hole defect in the hat that aligned with the shot in Alex’s head. Alex’s brain matter was found in the hat. Officer Schiff blatantly lied.
  • A disinterested witness who saw the police kill Alex asserts that Alex was casually walking down the hill with his hands in his pockets when police officers yelled “Stop” at Alex and then immediately began firing two volleys of shots at him, killing him.
  • Four witnesses claim that they heard the police shots fired and clearly distinguished two volleys, one volley and then a ten second pause followed by one longer and more intense volley of bullets. This pause would clearly indicate that the killing of Alex Nieto was unlawful. The police officers could not have been under a constant threat as they claim if they waited ten seconds in between volleys and then continued firing again.
  • When the criminal investigators arrived after the killing and took pictures of the scene, the taser was turned off. There is absolutely no way that this taser could have emitted a red laser beam or ejected taser wires. The police officers are clearly lying about the red laser beam that they say they saw that justified them shooting. The public should also question whether Alex Nieto ever exposed any taser.
  • Alex Nieto sustains all the fatal wounds described above, including shots to his head, lung, spine, wrist, and forearm. It could simply not be possible that Alex Nieto could have continued to hold a taser in this condition, as the police officers claim. There are no pictures of Alex holding any taser or of him with his hands and arms extended downhill.
  • Most importantly, most convincingly, ALEX NIETO’S WRIST BONE IS FOUND IN HIS LEFT JACKET POCKET. There is absolutely no explanation for how that bone could have been in his jacket except, as the first-hand witness claims, Alex Nieto’s hand was in his pocket, not pointing a taser, while Alex Nieto was being killed by the police. This, of course, totally refutes the police narrative.
  • After the case, on social media Officer Morse, one of the killers of Alex Nieto, threatened the Nieto family.
  • If you still have questions about the case, visit the following site for accurate information.

In order to begin repairing broken ties with the community, the SF Board of Supervisors can stand with the people against corruption and lies. They can take a stand for human rights and establish this memorial dedicated to Alex so that the dismantling of crooked power can finally begin. The entire SF Board of Supervisors can join justice for posterity purposes, for amor.

 

Parents Demand a Permanent Memorial for Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights

2016-4-21-alex-altar

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

 

Your public comment is key! Monday 6/20: Support Avalos Resolution to reserve SFPD budget until reforms happen!

SFPD budget reserve

Your public comment on Monday is key to secure SFPD accountability and transparency reforms!

Monday is the day for public comment on the city budget. We need you to come speak in favor of Supervisor Avalos’ proposal to hold $200 million of the Police Department’s budget in reserve, only to be released by the Board of Supervisors if SFPD shows that it has adequately implemented reforms around use-of-force.

Where: Board of Supervisors chambers, City Hall room 250.

When: Starts at 10am. Doors open at 9:30. It’s a first come, first served process.

What: Proposal to reserve SFPD budget in order to secure SFPD reforms

Facebook event link!

The budget reserve proposal introduced by Supervisor Avalos will require SFPD, among other things, to revise its use of force policy to mandate de-escalation and the use of the minimal amount of force necessary; adopt a Crisis Intervention Team model of responding to individuals in behavior crisis; adopt a more rigorous policy for intervening with problem officers and supervisors; and establish a more rigorous policy for disciplining officers for racial profiling.

The authors of the proposal—representing the families of the victims of police violence, religious leaders, and advocacy groups—include Justice & Love for Alex Nieto, Justice for Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Justice & Honor for Luis Góngora Pat, Faith in Action, the National Lawyers Guild, San Franciscans for Police Accountability, and Idriss Stelley Foundation.

RESOLUTION

Resolution draft on SCRIBD here.

San Francisco Police Reform – Budget Reserve Proposal

Draft 6/15/2016

Supervisor Avalos proposes placing $200 million of the SFPD budget on Board of Supervisors’ Reserve pending the following actions being taken by the Department and the Police Commission. The Controller will work with the Department to evaluate compliance and to provide quarterly reports to the Board who would need to vote to release the funds placed on reserve.

SFPD Reform Initiatives:

  1. Use of Force reform: Adopt and operationalize the community stakeholder group’s amendments to “Department General Order 5.01, Use of Force – version 2,” which includes the following elements:
  • requires the use of de-escalation techniques, and
  • use of the “minimal” force necessary as opposed to “reasonable” force

Metrics:

  • Publish quarterly reports on arrests and Use of Force, including demographic data as described in Admin Code Chapter 96A and the number of incidents that resulted in death or injury to the officer or suspect.
  1. Crisis Intervention Team: Adopt a Department General Order to establish and operationalize the Crisis Intervention Team model of responding to individuals in behavioral crisis.

 

Metrics:

  • Number of CIT and Advanced CIT-certified officers.
  • Number of shifts per district station where a CIT-certified officer was on duty and available for dispatch.
  • Data on incidents where DEM dispatchers determined involved a person in behavioral crisis, including at a minimum:

–  a) the number and location of calls for service involving mentally ill or individuals with disabilities in crisis; b) the type of response (e.g. Advanced CIT officer, CIT certified officer, non-CIT officer, CIT and mental health professional); c) the disposition of the call (arrest, 5150 detention, no police action, referral for services); d) whether or not force was used; e) injuries (officer, detainee, other); f) complaints, commendations and/or legal actions arising from the incident); g) presence of weapons on the part of individual, including type of weapon.

 

  1. Early Intervention System reform: Adopt a more rigorous policy for intervening with officers identified by the Early Intervention System and for the supervisors of officers identified by the EIS:
  • Establish objective thresholds for the number and type of EIS Alerts for an officer that lead to training/mentoring and reassignment.
  • Establish a process for analyzing SFPD supervisors with officers under their command with excessive EIS Alerts. Establish objective thresholds for these supervisors that lead to training/mentoring and reassignment.

 

Metrics:

  • Publish the quarterly reports and conduct the quarterly EIS meetings as described in DGO 3.19.
  1. Strengthen discipline for incidents of racial profiling: Establish a more rigorous policy for disciplining officers for sustained OCC complaints related to racial profiling and failure to record the required demographic data.
  • Establish a disciplinary process for sustained OCC complaints against plainclothes officers who make traffic stops.
  • Establish a disciplinary process for other sustained OCC complaints in contexts normally associated with racial profiling.
  • Establish a disciplinary process for officers who fail to record demographic data for encounters, arrests, and use of force.

 

Metrics:

  • Number of relevant OCC complaints filed and sustained, and a description of disciplinary actions taken.

 

  1. Establish more objective processes for background investigations, hiring, and promotion.
  • For lateral hires, require disclosure of applicants’ history of firearm discharges, use of force incidents, and misconduct complaints.

The People Fired SFPD Chief Suhr by Ben Bac Sierra

frisco-five-lowriders-at-mission-police

The corrupt spirit of the San Francisco Police Department has been smashed.

It was not the politicians who fired the chief. It was not the billionaires that helped the poor. It was not the new techie hipsters that led us with their innovation.

The people, the locos y locas, the roots fired the chief of police of the richest city on planet earth.

It was not the policies that reformed the police department; it was the movement on the streets.

It was not the goodness of their hearts that made them change their minds; it was the blood on the concrete.

RIP Jessica Nelson. RIP Alex Nieto. RIP Mario Woods. RIP Amilcar Perez Lopez. RIP Luis Gongora. RIP O’Shaine Evans.

There are more, too many more names to grieve. And mourn we must. And continue we must. There is only one way—not forward, but upward. For all of us.

Some may ask what does the firing mean, and I will respond, as always: Spirit Matters Most.

Now that the chief of police has been disgraced, all the police officers have been humiliated and humbled, which is good for them. Let them know how we constantly feel walking down the block, sitting in the classroom, and trying to just live our lives. Now they will know they are not the gods they pretend to be. Now they know the power of the people.

A Black man has replaced ex-chief Suhr. Allow the racist police to swallow that symbol. After having been so blatant with their bigotry, they must now accept orders from a person of color, from the type of person who they constantly kill. Or they must quit. Or stay and be confused and angry and frustrated and doubtful and stressed. Their world has turned upside down. The old guard has fallen.

For us, we can believe. It is a hard thing to hold faith, to believe in the invisible, the spirit of humans in their finest form. Believe we can. For with nothing except our amor and action, we won the battle. With nothing but shouts on the streets, we beat the batons and guns. With the faith of locura, total illogic, we proved our genius over their books and intellectual or economic equations.

A special grito to Amor for Alex Nieto, The Frisco Five, The Mario Woods Coalition, and all those grunts who created and held the frontline.

Con Safos.

Benjamin Bac Sierra

Originally published on Ben’s blog, here.

Recommended reading: Coalitions unite to demand reforms to end police impunity!