Sunday, March 30, 2014

Police Killing Inflames San Francisco Community, Revealing Further Divides

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – A police shooting of a 28-year-old man in San Francisco last Friday has left the city divided, angry and uncertain over the fast-changing social and economic landscape of the Bay Area. On Tuesday, frustration boiled over at a community meeting led by San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr after he argued that the officers who shot Alejandro Nieto had "fired in defense of their lives."
The latest police-related violence to hit the Bay Area, last week's shooting and its fallout have residents – especially the non-white community that has long called the Mission District home – fearful of the future.
"We've been here before," said Dario Gomez, an immigrant who moved into the Mission neighborhood 12 years ago, and says he has long faced discrimination from the men in blue. "This is nothing new and the police arguments that Ale was a threat or posed danger is simply not true."
"Police know that young people go up to Bernal Hill to release anger and get away from their troubles," Gomez added. "To be shot there is just a wrong and this is murder."
But Police Chief Suhr argued differently, saying that officers responded to calls from area residents who claimed Nieto had a gun and was waving it around as he sat on Bernal Hill, a short walk from the Mission district.
The police account laid forth in the meeting was confusing, in which officers claimed they responded with numerous shots at Nieto when the young man allegedly reached for his holster, which carried a well-marked taser. Nieto was in possession of the taser due to his job as a security guard at a local bar and nightclub.

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