Names of SFPD Officers Involved in Alex Nieto Shooting Released


Last Friday, and at long last, the San Francisco Police Department released the names of the officers involved in the March 21, 2014 shooting death of Bernal Heights resident Alex Nieto. Reporter Vivian Ho from the SF Chronicle has the story:

San Francisco police on Friday released the names of four officers involved in the shooting death last spring of a longtime Mission District resident after months of demands for accountability from the man’s family.

Lt. Jason Sawyer and Officers Roger Morse, Richard Schiff and Nathan Chew were involved in the fatal shooting of Alejandro Nieto, 28, on Bernal Hill on March 21, police said.

Police said the officers had been responding to reports of a man with a gun at Bernal Heights Park who was acting erratically and threatening passersby when they came across Nieto eating his dinner.

Nieto had been carrying a Taser stun gun before his shift as a nightclub security guard. Authorities said Nieto brandished the weapon at the officers. Nieto’s friends and family say they do not believe he would have done that.

Vivian Ho also did the legwork on the background of the officers involved:

Lt. Sawyer, now of Park Station, was a sergeant at the time of the shooting and a longtime veteran of the department. In 1998, he was involved in the fatal shooting of ad executive John Smart after Smart allegedly used his Mercedes-Benz to pin Officer Ian Furminger to a parking meter.

Both officers were awarded the gold medal of valor for their involvement in the 1998 shooting, though an internal investigation and Office of Citizens Complaints probe had not been completed. Furminger was convicted last month of taking and dividing up thousands of dollars found during searches of drug dealers and their homes, and depriving suspects of their rights.

Sawyer was awarded a bronze medal of valor in 2007, and was awarded another medal of valor in 2013 for his response to a hostage situation in a central city neighborhood. He, along with Morse, Schiff and Chew, have returned to duty, said police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza

PHOTO: Alex Nieto via Amitis Motevalli

10 thoughts on “Names of SFPD Officers Involved in Alex Nieto Shooting Released

  1. Holy crap, no wonder the SFPD wasn’t in any hurry to release their names: anyone involved with Furminger has got a serious credibility problem to say the least. The Smart shooting stinks to high heaven now that we know how dirty Furminger was.

  2. swift justice here in The Greatest Country On Earth, Land Of The Free.
    liberty and justice for all.
    i remember all those times i killed people on my job i was also given a temporary desk job with pay.

  3. If a timeline of these events — from the dog bothering Alex to his death — has been constructed and published, I have not seen it. If there is, can someone point me to it; if there isn’t, shouldn’t there be one?

  4. Given that we can all agree that we don’t want to appear BIASED it’s only appropriate we also point out these lines from the Chronicle article:

    “In the autopsy report, the medical examiner highlighted Nieto’s psychiatric “history of aggressive and bizarre behavior, auditory hallucinations and noncompliance to psychiatric medications.” In 2011, Nieto was placed on a psychiatric hold “for attempting to burn his parents’ house down.”

    A few weeks before the shooting, a former friend had filed a restraining order against him saying Nieto had used his Taser on him four times in front of his wife and son.”

      • I would like to see some unbiased reporting from the media and from the SFPD. From the get-go, Chief Suhr has tried to make Alex Nieto the issue, which serves to distract from examination of the actual events. For example, why is the medical examiner including these comments in the report? The medical examiner’s role is to determine the cause of death. Why have we not seen a timeline of the events?

      • joyceonholly –

        “tried to make Alex Nieto the issue”

        He did get shot and killed. He IS the issue.

        “why is the medical examiner including these comments in the report”

        Because that’s his job. You want the negative info committed, is all.

      • The cause and manner of death of Alex Nieto is the issue, not Alex Nieto himself.
        I do not want the negative omitted; I want the complete picture included, and a timeline of events leading up to the actual shooting would be very helpful.

  5. Pingback: District Attorney Releases Report on Alex Nieto Shooting, Will Not Press Charges Against SFPD Officers | Bernalwood

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