Critical Updates on the Alex Nieto Killing by SFPD | Special Election in Jackson, Ms

Alex NietoHard Knock Radio 04-07-14: Today we sat down with local activist and Professor Ben Bac Sierra, who was best friends to Alex Nieto. Alex was the honor student and security guard at El Toro Nightclub was slain by SFPD as he sat eating in a park in neighborhood in Bernal Heights..

According to police, they were responding to reports of a man acting ‘erratically’ carrying a gun. Alex was in the park walking back and forth, praying out while carrying his job issued taser which strapped to his side. Police showed up, stood 75 feet away and shot Alex after he pointed the taser at him.. That’s according to their reports. That account has been widely disputed.

Ben gives us a blow-by-blow account of the incident following the timeline put out police. He also explains that the caller stayed on the phone with police dispatchers as they approached Alex and noted that he was sitting on a bench eating when police approached him..

He also talks about how the SFPD visited Alex’s parents hours after he was killed and attempted to get information about his mental well-being in the past. The parents were unaware their son had been killed. They were under the impression Alex was in some sort of trouble with the law which in itself was shocking because he had whistle clean record. They cooperated with police as best they could. His parents do not speak English. The police demanded to search the house, Alex’s father refused. It was after the police questioned the parents that officers informed them they had shot and killed Alex…

Ben also relayed how SFPD Chief Greg Suhr publicly promised to pay for Alex’s funeral during the widely watched police town hall. After the cameras were gone Suhr called up the family the next day and reneged on his promise. The family had to hold a fundraiser to get money for Alex’s funeral.

Ben concluded our interview by noting the support they have been receiving by hundreds of residents all over Bernal Heights and the Mission as well as by local supervisors David Campos and John Avala.

In recent days SFPD have announced they are on high tactical alert because they had received an anonymous death threat. Local organizers feel this is the police’s way of demonizing Alex’s friends and family who have been peaceful in all demonstrations and outings.

Chokwe Antar LumumbaLater in the show we talk with longtime activist and Malcolm X Grassroots leader Kali Akuno about the special election in Jackson, Mississippi for Mayor that’s scheduled for Tuesday April 8th. He talks to us about the political landscape in the wake of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s death. His son Antar is running and trying to succeed his father and continue implementing the Jackson Rising people’s plan…

Kali noted that many of the candidates initially had pledged loyalty to the late Mayor’s historic Jackson Rising plan. Its enormously popular among Jackson residents. Once Antar entered the race, those same candidates have been working overtime to dis it.

In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling where campaign contribution limits have been lifted, millions of dollars from outside the city and state have poured into the election making it the most expensive in Jackson’s history. The bulk of the money has been coming in from developers and republicans in the overwhelming Democratic City. Kali noted that there is a strong push to gentrify Jackson.

The Murder of Alex Nieto by SFPD and Scared Gentrifiers (Town Hall Meeting)

Chief Greg Suhr of SFPD addressing an upset crowd at the Town Hall

Chief Greg Suhr of SFPD addressing an upset crowd at the Town Hall

Long time residents in the City of San Francisco have been growing more and more upset with each passing day as word about the brutal murder of honor student & security guard, 28 year old Alex Nieto at the hands of SFPD gets out…

The police attempted to calm things down by holding a town hall meeting the other night which left people even more disturbed. Many felt what they were being told didn’t add up.

The family of Alex Nieto were on hand and so were damn near half the Mission and Bernal Heights district where Nieto lived. Everyone was demanding to know why Alex was shot and who called the police on him?

SF Police Chief Greg Suhr went all over the map trying to explain why his highly trained officers couldn’t tell the difference between a gun and a taser in daylight hours and why more than 50 shots were fired at Nieto.

What was gathered from the meeting was someone became suspicious of Alex and called the police 3 times. The first call was to report he had a gun, which was actually his work taser. The second call was to say he was pacing back and forth with ‘his gun’ (taser) still at his side.

A third call was made to say that Alex was eating with his ‘gun still at his side’ .. Police showed up on the scene 3 deep.. surrounded Alex from 75 feet away and shot him after they say he pointed his taser at them which the police thought was a gun.

Alejandro 'Alex' Nieto

Alejandro ‘Alex’ Nieto

Tiny Garcia who heads up Poor News Network and Poor Magazine was on hand with her crew and captured high points of the meeting.. You will hear that on this episode HKR. Here’s an excerpt from her article on the gathering, titled: GentriFUKation Killed Alex- the brutal murder by Po’Lice of Mission sun Alejandro Nieto

“We don’t want to hear Alex’s murderers,” People shouted intermittently into the air of the Leonard Flynn Elementary school auditorium. The standing room only Town Hall was yelling above the Po’Lice as they spoke  about the murder of young Raza organizer, City College of SF student and beloved sun de la mision, Alejandro Nieto.

check out the entire article at

Below is the interview we did with community activist and organizer Jason Wallach from the Center of Political Education who attended the both the vigil and town hall meeting and penned the first article around Alex’s murder. In our interview he brings up the tactics that are often used by police during these incidents which he says comes from a ‘play book’. It starts with demonizing and blaming the victim and ends with presenting a picture that the cop/cops were in fear and danger of their lives.

Wallach notes that insidious narrative doesn’t match up with Alex’s reputation and and statement from friends. It also doesnt match up with a guy who was trying to go into law enforcement

SFPD Kill Scholarship Student & Security Guard After ‘Gentrifiers’ Get Suspicious

This story comes courtesy of local activist Jason Wallach.

Alejandro Nieto

Alejandro Nieto

I am upset this evening because today I learned about Alejandro Nieto, who was killed by a barrage of San Francisco Police Department bullets last Friday evening near the service road leading up Bernal Hill.

I attended the vigil in Alex’s (as he was known to friends) honor that took place at the site where he died, on the service road leading up Bernal Hill. At the vigil, I learned that he was a scholarship student at City College of San Francisco, studying Criminal Justice. He wanted to be a parole officer to help guide young men’s lives into good directions. He was a devout Buddhist who believed in creating the peace in his community that he wanted to see spread across the Earth. He was a loving, caring individual. I found out through a poem that his birthday was March 4th.

I also learned that the SFPD shot him last Friday as he ate a burrito just before heading to work as a security guard. He was wearing his work-authorized tazer on his belt, but the police did not ask him about that. They did not consider the source of racist fear that motivated the (mostly) white dog-walking residents to frantically call police because of Alejandro’s presence. The cruel irony is that his job was to provide a sense of security for patrons at a restaurant/bar — so they could eat in peace. But Ale’s presence — his simple presence IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HE GREW UP IN — was enough to create a sense of IN-security for his recently arrived neighbors… and that not only could he not eat in peace, but because of it Alejandro is now Resting in Peace.

There is so much work to be done on so many levels to prevent this type of thing from ever happening again. It won’t be changed in a day. But if we show up for Alex in the coming days, maybe we can show that he did not die in vain. (Cuz for right now, it sure feels like his life was senselessly stolen from him.)

There will be a Town Hall meeting about this police murder of one of our community members tomorrow, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 6:00 PM at Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School, 3125 Cesar Chavez. Alejandro’s family and friends are asking for community support and presence at this meeting. Please come if you can.

written by Jason Wallach for the Center of Political Education

Here’s another story about this

SFPD Brutally Beat Black Bicyclist & 3 Others: Father & Sister Speak Out

DJ Paris WilliamsLast Friday the eyes of the world were on San Francisco, California when thousands of people came together to transform the City by the Bay into Gotham City, home to the Caped Crusader Batman. On this particular day San Francisco was playing host to another hero 5 year leukemia patient Miles Scott who donned a suit and played Batkid. The Chief of police for SFPD Greg Suhr and Mayor Ed Lee pulled out all the stops to help the Make a Wish Foundation grant Scott his wish to enact a number of scenarios ranging from saving a damsel in distress to stopping bank robbery. He helped Batman take on his arch nemeses like the Penguin..

Seemingly everyone in the city got into the act. Traffic was stopped, buses rerouted and over 15 thousand people took off from work and went down to City Hall to see Mayor Ed Lee present a Miles a key to the city. The day was filled with lots of smiles and lots of tears as everyone wished Miles a speedy recovery. Among those in attendance was 21-year-old  ‘DJ’ Paris Williams, a well-mannered, popular 21-year-old SF City College student and avid bicyclist.

He left the event elated along with everyone and rode his bike back home which was several blocks away at the Valencia Gardens Apartment.  As DJ rode up to his door as he has done hundreds of times, he was approached by two undercover officers. They took issue with DJ riding his bike on the sidewalk The only problem was the apartment complex is private property and not are residents allowed to ride their bikes within the complex, they frequently do.. Here’s what DJ’s friend wrote about what took place next on the instagram site:TakingastandSF

Apparently, the officers said something to DJ about riding his bicycle on the sidewalk as he was pulling up to his home in the complex. It is unclear whether the officers identified themselves or not, but did proceed to get out of their car, grab DJ from behind as he was entering the home and beat him for no apparent reason. A police search uncovered a cupcake and juice that DJ had just purchased from the corner store. Nobody has spoken to DJ since the incident occurred as he was immediately taken to S.F. General Hospital for treatment, and then to the 850 Bryant police station. So far, it appears no charges have been made against DJ either.

There is building video surveillance footage of DJ’s confrontation w/ police, but it that has yet to be released by housing authority. Furthermore, three residents came to DJ’s aid when they saw officers beating him up, only to find themselves also under attack by officers. By this time, uniformed backup had arrived on the scene. Including DJ, a total of four individuals were beaten and arrested by officers. Video footage of the altercations that occurred after DJ was beaten can be seen here:

RIP Andy Lopez

RIP Andy Lopez

Needless to say what took place has angered not only the residents of Valencia Gardens which is a tight-knit community, but folks all over the Bay Area who have grown weary of out of all this brutality incidents by out of control police. From the shooting death of unarmed 13-year-old Andy Lopez last month to unarmed 16-year-old James Rivera being shot 48 times in Stockton to the coverup and shooting death of Alan Bluford in Oakland to 61-year-old disabled Andrea Naharro shot this past weekend in San Jose, folks all over are on edge. There have been a number of protests calling for charges to be placed on the officers in the Valencia Gardens incident.

In talking with residents a few concerns have surfaced. The main one is that Valencia Gardens is in the historic mission district which has been undergoing massive gentrification. As more white folks have been moving in, many Black and Brown folks who long made up the majority of folks living in the Mission have noted they are frequently being profiled and stopped by police. They are often viewed suspiciously, even though they have lived there for generations…Many feel that they are being made to feel unwelcome in their own neighborhoods and police harassment is part of a larger process to make it so uncomfortable that folks move out.

DJ Williams ProtestThe other concern is that the police now patrolling the area around Valencia Gardens are young inexperienced and rookie cops who have little connection or familiarity to the community. Its been noted that in years past the police knew the folks living in the Gardens and the residents knew the police.. Now they have folks who see the VG as a community where they can get some street smarts and cut their teeth using the residents as fodder..Since the protests instead of trying to meet and reassure residents, police have increased patrols and sending undercover officers around as a way to intimidate folks. The people who were beaten have been left traumatized. Some have not returned to their homes.

We sat down with Selina Rodriguez whose brother Orlando was one of the residents shown in the video being pummeled by police. His face was smashed on the ground and was bloodied up pretty bad. The other person we interviewed is Frank Williams, father to DJ Williams and  a long time community activist who works with people coming out of prison to be transitioned back into society. Both have degrees in criminal justice and are keen organizers. Selina has put together several of the protests with more to come and has complained about SFPD officers sitting right outside her house trying to intimidate her..

Frank Williams described his son as someone who is deeply hurt and too shook up to come back to Valencia Gardens. He’s been staying with relatives. He doesn’t understand how and why such brutality was unleashed on him..Williams during our conversation described what took place as straight up terrorism with officers who had nothing but hate and contempt for the residents they beat up.  Below is our interview with both Selina and Frank.

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DJ Paris Williams after being beaten by SFPD

DJ Paris Williams after being beaten by SFPD

Blood from the beating of Orlando Rodgriguez

Blood from the beating of Orlando Rodgriguez

SFPD Cant do Stop and Frisk, So They Now Turned to ‘Hunting’ & ‘Wolf Packing’

San Francisco Police Officers***Update**** The folks from Poor News Network have been following this case and released the following information about the young man shown in the video…His name is Kevin Clark and he’s an 18 year old Honors college student ..He was brutalized by the SFPD for simply walking down the street? He was not charged or arrested but cited for resisting and delaying. …..

The city of San Francisco, once a home to counter-culture and folks who were free-spirited has changed for the worse over the past 5-10 years.. Borrowing a page from New York’s Michael Bloomberg, the city by the Bay has modeled itself after New York by trying to become a playground for the über rich.. Poor folks mostly Black and Brown have been gentrified out of the city as the average rent has skyrocketed to 3500 for a one bedroom..

Over the past 10 years there’s been an explosion of ugly lime green (luxury green) high rises where starting price is a million dollars.. According to Tim Redmond of the Bay Guardian in a recent radio interview on KPFA, the target audiences for these new buildings are world travelers who seek to have homes in a variety of cities.. San Francisco being one of them.. His remarks underscored the landmark issue the BG called Soul of The City that focused on all htose being forced to move out of SF.. You can peep it HERE

As the SF has attempted to luxurize itself, one of the other tactics they attempted to borrow was Stop and Frisk from New York City. Mayor Ed Lee said he thought it would be a good idea, even SF is not known for being a violent city with an out of control crime problem.. many suspected that Lee would be concentrating Stop and Frisk efforts on folks living in the Tenderloin, which has a large homeless population and is an area where the mayor would like to see more high-tech companies relocate.. Twitter is already located in the tenderloin, not paying any taxes.

The other areas where many suspected Stop and Frisk would be used was in Bayview Hunters Point, the City’s last Black neighborhood.. Over the past 10 years Blacks have been moved out of SF with the population which was once a healthy 15% now less than 5%..

The other place where police repression was likely to be applied is ion the historic Mission district which is home to a very large Brown/ latino population. For folks who never been, the Mission has a similar vibe to LES/ The Village in New York, with alot of foot traffic, international flare, victorian houses which remind folks of brownstones and tons of eateries. . Many rich folks from out of town have been moving there, causing rents to rise and displacing long time residents.

San Francisco Police The Board of supervisors voted to over rule the mayor and turned down Stop and Frisk as level headed San Francisco residents made a huge stink. However, the Mayor undaunted along with his police have turned to another tactic.. Hunting or wolf packing. This how a a former San Francisco resident forced to relocate to Oakland described the tactic when she sent me this video of what she noted is this growing trend..

In the video below, you will see an example of this as  young Black man is nearly run over by a cop on the sidewalk..According to witnesses, he got into an argument with another cat his own age when police arrived upon the scene and immediately used their bikes to run him off the sidewalk…

He’s then slammed to the ground and his face mushed in the gutter for several minutes.. The suspect who is small is not resisting as more then 15 officers show up to arrest him.. The show of force is deliberate and a way of trying to intimidate residents.. It’s a damn shame to see this sort of abuse of power especially when you consider mayor Lee who was largely applauded for being the City’s first Asian-American Mayor was supposed to be a long-time Civil Rights attorney. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised as many traditional civil rights orgs and leaders has been turned the concept upside down.

This is a city who’s police department in the past year had to toss over 50 cases of trumped of felonies thanks to corruption. This is also a police department that shot a man (Kenneth Harding) and let him lay dying in the street for all to see when he couldn’t produce proof of a two dollar fare..

This video below from SF Hip Hop artist Dregs One breaks down the gentrification drama in the city by the Bay

When Do We Call a Celebration a Riot? The SF Giants Win the World Series

When the final pitch was thrown and a strike out ensued, resulting in the San Francisco Giants once again becoming World Series champs, I was tempted to hop in my car and cross the bridge like I did 2 years ago to celebrate with the tens of thousands who were already out and about at local bars or at the Civic Center watching the game on a Jumbotron.

Everyone likes a winner and even more people like the celebrations and festivities that come along with winning. Everyone was upbeat last night and San Francisco was on Fire… It was on fire emotionally speaking, but within an hour of the Giants winning SF literally was on fire.. All over the city bonfires were being lit.. One was downtown on Market street. Another was on 19th and Mission. Another on 23rd and Mission.. Still another was near the police station on 16th and Valencia which was the scene of raucous Occupy protest a few weeks ago.. With each bonfire came people by the hundreds and wasn’t long before folks were tossing in everything they could get their hands on, couches, card board paint cans and other flammable which caused loud bomb-like explosions. Eventually a bus was lit on fire around 3rd and Market in the heart of downtown. We also saw a security truck flipped over with the driver in it..he got out unharmed.

This is the SF Chronicle describe last night’s vandalism

As each fire was lit and reported on by local newscasts, I couldn’t help but note the tone and wording used to describe the scene. We didn’t hear words like anarchist, outside agitators or thugs to describe those committing wanton acts of vandalism. Instead what we heard was local news outlets like NBC described what was happening as ‘instant street parties’. Others like ABC talked about how exuberant fans and overly joyous fans were celebrating in front of bonfires.

Reporters would utter the word vandalism in the most casual tone and downplay the smashing of bank and storefront windows, crowds chanting ‘F– Tha Police and cars being burned or flipped. The main focus by these local news outlets was about highlighting the excitement around this world series win.

It was hard not to contrast the sanitizing words used to described the destruction happening all over the city of San Francisco with how many of those same news outlets described Occupy, Oscar Grant and anti-war protests where far less damage and mayhem was caused. It was hard not to contrast the way many of those media outlets described spirited celebrations in neighboring Oakland ten years ago (2003) after the Raiders won the AFC Championship.

At that time, one car was flipped over on International Blvd and burned and the entire city was described as one that was in turmoil ‘out of control ‘and the scene of a riot. If you don’t believe me take a look at the picture that ran in the same SF Chronicle where the headline this morning reads ‘SF Giant fans Delirious With Joy‘. Again this is in spite of the fact that celebrating fans burned a city bus in the middle of downtown on top of flipping a car.. As you can see the SF Chronicle headline described the much smaller Oakland celebrations in much more stark ominous tones..using words like ‘Raider Rage‘ and ‘Street Mayhem‘.

This was the scene last night on Market street.. At the time this security truck was flipped over local news outlets described it as ‘over joyous fans celebrating and getting a little out of hand’.

We could spend more time making similar comparisons to the words used to describe more recent events especially since both Occupy Oakland and Occupy SF had one year anniversaries. If you look at the coverage of given to occupy you heard news casters talk about the menacing Black Bloc and how everyone should board up their windows and be prepared. As one Facebook poster jokingly noted on my page last night, its funny that media didn’t warn businesses to watch out for the marauding bands of Orange and Black bloc folks

Even the police when interviewed held measured tones. On ABC news, one of the SF Police captains talked about how his officers were doing all they could to keep everyone safe and the celebration going. In fact at one point, officers on motorcycles came to 19th and Mission while the bonfire was going and gently moved the crowd back vs outright dispersing them.

On one of the live streams monitoring the stuff on Market street, you saw Giant fans getting all up in the face of SFPD talking smack. The police exercised lots of patience not arresting folks or anything like that..Eventually they gave dispersal orders, but the demeanor and overall tone taken was way different from when people were out marching against banks and foreclosures or when folks were protesting the shooting deaths of Kenneth Harding or Charles Hill. The tone taken by SFPD was much harsher as protestors were demonized before they even started. The police message was one of immediate containment, shut down and dispersal. If folks recall we saw over 120 people arrested during an Oscar Grant protest where no bonfires or windows were broken.. We saw over 400 people arrested during an Occupy protest here in the Bay w/ no bon fires. Last night we saw SFPD literally make a walk way to one of the bon fires people lit in celebration of the Giants winning. Throughout most of the evening hardly anyone was arrested, before the night was over close to 40 people were arrested by SFPD.

Imagine if this was an Occupy protest.. would the news outlets reporting this use such sanitizing words?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not pointing all this out because I want to see a police state nor am I condoning vandalism.. I’m also not naive, I realize that after most sports wins there are crazy celebrations that take place all over the world.

It was just last year we had folks going nuts in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup was won. I attended UC Berkeley and recall after damn near every Big Game between Cal and Stanford folks went nuts busting windows and setting fires.Heck I recall how folks flipped car and set fires after Penn Sate coach Joe Paterno was fired..

What I do want people to note is how and when media outlets and the police themselves turn up the ‘fear and danger’ ratchets and when they don’t . I want people to ask themselves and the people doing the reporting why they take particular tones. Last night I tweeted several requests to Bay Area ABC News publicly asking them what do they consider the difference between a riot and a celebration? I never got a response. What I concluded is they and other news outlets are quite deliberate in the tone that they set . More often than not that tone is attached to a political and economic agenda.

This is a scene from an Occupy Oakland demonstration. here the words anarchist, black bloc and outside agitators were used to describe the scene before police moved in in full riot gear w/ weapons drawn.

San Francisco is a tourist city and image is everything if it expects to attract visitors and businesses. The result of this is all hands are on deck to keep a smiling face on what many would consider unacceptable and outrageously dangerous conditions. Hence a riot in San Francisco when done by a whiter and more affluent crowd is just a few ‘delirious with joy fans celebrating a bit too hard‘. The police are restrained and they go all out to ‘protect and serve..

When its a protest challenging the police, unfair economic conditions or a mostly Black and Brown fan base in a city like Oakland ‘expressing their joy, than ‘celebrations‘ turn in ‘street mayhem over run by thugs‘.. Protestors are tarred as out of control anarchists etc. Police are no longer restrained but instead use the large crowds as an excuse to test out new weaponry and crowd control maneuvers. Its social engineering at its best..

Something to think about as we gear up for a big parade to celebrate the San Francisco Giants being World Series champs once again…

written by Davey D

The scene on 19th and Mission Last night after the Giants won and people began ‘celebrating photo: Jill Filipovic

SF Bayview Townhall Erupts SFPD Chief Greg Suhr Shouted Down By Angry Crowd

Here’s some additional coverage of the SFPD and protests on July 19, 2011 in downtown SF on Powell St. Hundreds of people came to the famous cable car turnaround to protests the recent SFPD shootings that resulted in deaths. Shout out to Rome Diggs and the crew from OLM News… We are also including another video from last night’s townhall meeting where SFPD Police Chief Suhr was shouted down and wound up leaving his own townhall after an hour and a half…

Folks in the Bayview are adamant about two things.. 1-19 year old Kenneth Harding did not shoot at police.. and 2-the cops after shooting him, stood around and let him bleed to death..The area that all this took place is packed with little children who play in a park about 10-15ft from the shooting.. There are lots of elders who frequent the plaza which was across the street about 20 ft away.. All of them saw police point guns at community members preventing them from helping Harding as he lay bleeding… Kids, elders and everyone saw this young man die and the cops point guns at the community..

Police Chief Greg Suhr was shouted down at last nights' townhall meeting in the Bayview