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