During tonight’s tense community meeting at Leonard Flynn Elementary School, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr released new details about Friday night’s officer-involved shooting death of Bernal Neighbor Alejandro Nieto.
Here’s the coverage from the Examiner:
Alejandro Nieto was shot and killed by police Friday night after being asked to show his hands but instead drawing a Taser that was mistaken for a gun, Police Chief Greg Suhr told a volatile crowd Tuesday night.
“He did not have a gun, he had a Taser just like this,” said Suhr, pointing to a photo of a black-and-yellow Taser beside him in a packed hall at Leonard Flynn Elementary School.
Amid shouts of “I hope you die, [cops]” from the crowd, Suhr gave a quick but detailed retelling of Nieto’s death, explaining first that the 28-year-old was not legally allowed to own a gun because of mental health issues.
Suhr began by reading the log of the 911 caller reporting a man with a black handgun on his hip in Bernal Heights Park at 7:11 p.m. Friday.
Soon afterward, police arrived and, from a distance of about 75 feet, located Nieto, a San Francisco resident.
“They asked him to show his hands,” Suhr said. Instead, Nieto told police to show their hands and pointed at them. When officers saw a red laser light emanating from what was later identified as a Taser, Suhr said, they thought a gun was pointing at them and opened fire in “defense of their own lives.”
When some in the crowd wondered aloud why Nieto had reportedly been hit 14 times, Suhr responded by saying, “We do not know at this point in time how many times Mr. Nieto was hit.”
Suhr also displayed the image of the weapons shown above. The taser recovered from Alejandro Nieto is on the left. On the right is a handgun, shown for comparison.
Your Bernalwood editor was in attendance at the meeting, and I can confirm that those are the facts as presented by SFPD Chief Suhr. You may make of them what you will.
After Suhr’s presentation, members of the public were invited to address the audience. There was grieving for Alejandro Nieto — and other victims of officer-involved shootings. There were questions raised about police training, and the proportional use of force. There were questions raised about the racial underpinnings of police conduct. There were comments that identified gentrification and real estate development as the animating force behind the violence that took Neighbor Alejandro Nieto’s life. You may also make of that what you will.
None of it, however, will undo this tragedy or bring Alejandro Nieto back to the neighborhood and the community he loved.
UPDATE: Vivian Ho from the Chronicle has a very thorough write-up about the meeting last night and the questions that hover over the investigation into what happened on Friday night.
Meanwhile, Bernalwood readers are conducting a robust and constructive discussion of the incident and its aftermath in the comments.
PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics