The four San Francisco police officers involved in the death of Alejandro Nieto last spring will not face charges, the district attorney’s office announced Friday.
According to KTVU, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón's office determined the officers were acting “lawfully in self-defense and in the defense of others when they discharged their weapons.”
The announcement follows months of outcry from the 28-year-old’s family, as well as community activists, who have held several protests demanding the officers who shot and killed Nieto on Bernal Hill last March be held accountable for use of excessive force. Last month, a judge ordered the San Francisco Police Department to reveal the names of the officers: Jason Sawyer, Roger Morse, Richard Schiff and Nathan Chew.
“The Nieto Family refused to meet with [District Attorney George Gascón] today to receive the disappointing and all predictable news: no charges filed against the killers of Alex Nieto,” activists with the group Justice For Alex Nieto wrote. “We will continue to shine light on this broken system until police officers who kill are made personally accountable by standards satisfactory to the communities in which they kill.”
According to SFPD, the officers were responding to reports of a man with a gun at Bernal Heights Park when Nieto pointed a Taser stun gun at them, KQED reports. They believed the stun gun was a firearm, and they shot Nieto from about 75 feet away, police said. The medical examiner's report noted 14 to 15 gunshot wounds.
Family and friends have held that the actions police described are completely out of character for Nieto. They say he was a student at the City College of San Francisco earning a criminal justice degree and a leader for peace and social activism in his Mission District neighborhood. They believe the officers targeted him as a Latino “gangbanger” and are now covering up what actually transpired.
Nieto’s family’s lawyers say witnesses came forward months after the shooting saying they never saw Nieto draw a weapon.
According to KTVU, the district attorney's report says the Taser found near Nieto's body appeared to have been discharged.