|“On Friday, March 21st, 2014, long time Mission resident Alex Nieto (age 28) went up to Bernal Hill to watch the sunset and eat a burrito, before going to his security guard night shift at El Toro. He was wearing his security guard belt, with a holstered taser, and his new 49ers jacket. According to police, a pedestrian on the hill called 911 at7:11pm to describe a Latin male adult wearing a bright red jacket and a gun at his hip. At7:14pm, the caller, who stayed on the line while officers arrived on scene, described Alex as eating sunflower seeds or chips. At7:18pm, the same caller heard the shots that killed Alejandro Nieto.From an available home security camera audio recording, we know that police first fired two shots, followed by a seven second pause, succeeded by approximately fourteen shots. In the Town Hall meeting, Chief of Police Greg Suhr explained that Alex had raised his taser at the approaching officers from 75 feet away. Officers fearful for their lives, shot Alex twice, and he fell to a prone position. Suhr claims that wounded and fallen, Alex still raised his taser to track police officers with a red dot laser. Suhr states that the four officers on scene felt threatened, once again, and plied him with bullets until he stopped moving.
An impossible version of events His family and friends cannot believe the version of events narrated by the Chief of Police, because Alex was a friendly and peaceful young man. His father emphasizes, “He was such a friendly person. We would barely leave the house, when he would be stopping a mom with a child, and start playing and talking with the baby.” Refugio adds, “He probably had met many of the regulars on Bernal Hill Park. Whoever called the police, surely hadn’t been there long enough to have met Alex.”
Alex’s family and friends also cannot believe police version of events, because he was a student of police regulations and procedures. He had studied two years at the San Francisco Police Academy, before he studied a Criminal Justice degree at City College with the aim to become a probation officer helping youth. He had just completed his program.
His family cannot believe that Alex —knowledgeable in police behavior, regulations, and protocols— would have ever raised his weapon at approaching officers. His father and mother both say, “It is impossible to believe.”
It is truly an unbelievable version of events that Alex, with his background in law enforcement, seeing officers with guns drawn would even consider touching his taser. It is even more unbelievable that after feeling the impact of bullets and falling to the ground, knowing that he only had a taser and officers had guns that Alex would continue to track officers with the taser. Police version of events are simply impossible to believe.
One of Alex’s best friends, Ben Bac Sierra—homeboy, author, and professor at City College of San Francisco— recently told El Tecolote newspaper, “I believe that profiling occurred in this case…. (The officers) hear his description—Latin male, 6-foot tall—and that causes them some intimidation, because he’s somewhat tall. He has a red jacket on. He has never been involved with guns, never been arrested in his life, but I believe they profiled him as some type of gang-involved individual,” added Bac Sierra. “If Alex had been a blond-haired, blue-eyed, 6-foot individual with what appears to be a gun on a holster, eating a corned-beef sandwich—he may have been mistaken as an off-duty police officer. There’s a mindset that occurred as they were approaching.”
For more information about Nieto, and how police subsequently harassed the family and attempted a coverup, see the above website.