Besides an October report by NPR’s Latino USA, very little national media attention has focused on the March death of Alejandro “Alex” Nieto. While the names of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice have been part of the national news cycle, it is safe to say that very few Americans know about Nieto, who died March 21 from the bullets of San Francisco police officers.
There have been no proclamations from national Latino organizations against his death, even though an incredibly detailed page about Nieto’s case shares a wealth of information.
Today a member of our Facebook community shared an online petition, calling for a federal investigation surrounding Nieto’s death:
PETITION FOR A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE MURDER OF ALEJANDRO NIETO BY SFPD
On Friday evening, March 21, 2014, 7:18 p.m., Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, 28 years old, was shot at over fourteen times and killed by a sergeant and three officers of the San Francisco Police Department on Bernal Hill Park, without any reasonable justification. Alex was a beloved son and brother, and an active peaceful member of the community, studying to become a probation officer.
Alejandro Nieto’s civil rights were violated, and we do not believe that District Attorney of San Francisco, George Gascón —a career police officer and former Chief of Police of San Francisco— can guarantee an impartial investigation into the death of Alejandro Nieto. We ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the murder of Alejandro Nieto by SFPD officers, in order to guarantee a faithful, impartial, and independent investigation into his death.
SAN FRANCISCO’S D.A. IS A CAREER POLICE OFFICER AND CANNOT ACT IMPARTIALLY
George Gascón has been a police officer since 1972, most recently serving as the Chief of Police of San Francisco from 2009 to 2011 before being designated District Attorney of San Francisco in April 2011. He has a serious conflict of interest and lifelong career bias in favor of police officers. It is impossible for George Gascón to faithfully and impartially and without fear, favor, or affection discharge his duties to pursue an investigation into the actions of SFPD officers that led to the murder of Alejandro Nieto. He is the first former Chief of Police in the country to be appointed as a District Attorney. The reason why this career crossover has never happened is because impartiality in prosecuting police cannot be guaranteed.
SFPD is withholding critical evidence from the public, including the names of the sergeant and officers involved in the shooting; number of shots fired; full original audio and transcripts of the 911 call(s) related to the incident; sergeant on-body camera video of the shooting; number of witnesses; witness statements; and the autopsy report. Meanwhile, officers responsible for the death of Alejandro Nieto are back on duty in the affected communities. San Franciscans are in fear of their lives from the police.
D.A. Gascón refuses to give any meaningful priority to the investigation of the killing of Alejandro Nieto. He has refused to take a proactive stance in securing critical evidence in the hours, days or weeks since the shooting of Alejandro Nieto. Instead on April 14, 2014, he mentioned to a Spanish speaking radio audience that the earliest investigation into this case might conclude a year from that date. D.A. Gascón is providing SFPD with ample time and opportunity to hide and manipulate evidence, and fabricate a story to cover up their unlawful behavior. He cannot be trusted to investigate the criminality of San Francisco police officers, who not long ago were under his charge.
IN 90 YEARS ONLY ONE POLICE OFFICER CRIMINALLY INDICTED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
In the last ninety years, in Northern California, only one police officer (Johannes Mehserle) has been indicted on criminal charges (for the murder of Oscar Grant), and he was freed less than a year after his conviction. Other egregious incidents of police brutality have taken place in recent years in the Bay Area, without consequence for police officers. For example, the police murders of Kenneth Harding Jr. (19 years old), Alan Blueford (18 years old), Andy Lopez (13 years old), Ernest Duenez (34 years old), and the SF police assault on D’Paris Williams (20 years old). Police brutality in the Bay Area will not stop until there is serious criminal accountability from police officers for their unlawful acts of violence. There is no faith in the system, particularly not, if justice for Alejandro Nieto solely depends on the discretion of a former Chief of Police of San Francisco.
JUSTICE FOR ALEJANDRO NIETO CAN ONLY BE SECURED WITH AN OUTSIDE FEDERAL INVESTIGATION
We implore the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice to assure the rights of citizens and residents of San Francisco by leading a faithful, independent, and impartial investigation into the murder of Alejandro Nieto by officers of the San Francisco Police Department.
A Counterpunch story from last week also provides a very detailed account of Nieto’s case.
Given the recent attention to high-profile cases surrounding excessive use of police force, Nieto’s story cannot and should not be forgotten.
Today in the Bay Area, Alex Nieto was remembered:
— Steve Rhodes (@tigerbeat) December 13, 2014
— Monica Campbell (@monica_campbell) December 13, 2014
— Dschluss (@dschluss) December 13, 2014
— ebrocker (@ebrocker) December 13, 2014