[Image: Activist Benjamin Bac Sierra speaks at a podium on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. Next to him, another activist wears a shirt reading “Justice for Alex Nieto – Strike Out Police Brutality.” Another holds a banner partially reading “Justice 4 All”, with an image of the police chief crossed out in red.]
Yesterday I went to San Francisco City Hall to attend a rally against police violence. Hosted by the Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition, Justice for Alex Nieto, and Justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez, this press conference was called in the wake of the jury verdict exonerating the police officers who killed Alex Nieto in 2014. To literally add insult to injury, one of the cleared officers made a callous post on Facebook in response to the verdict.
The rally was well-attended, with a diverse crowd of people holding signs protesting police killings. Banners called for the firing or resignation of San Francisco Police Chief Gregory Suhr, an independent investigation, and murder charges for all involved officers.
Among the speakers were several ministers. Minister Christopher Muhammad pointed out that these racist killings are taking place in a Democratic city; “that’s not Mayor Trump.” He repeatedly called on “Mister and Miss Democrat” to hold our elected officials responsible. Both Muhammed and Archibishop King (who I’d met previously at the Reclaim MLK rally at Coltrane Church) called on black elected officials to speak out against police impunity. (Latino supervisors John Avalos and David Campos both spoke at the rally.)
Elvira and Refugio Nieto, the parents of Alex Nieto, both attended the rally. Elvira spoke in Spanish, with another activist providing translation. Her words and determination provided a moving reminder of the real impact of police killings. After the press conference, many of the activists headed inside City Hall, but I did not attend that portion of the event.
My full set of photos from the rally is on Flickr. Please credit me as Pax Ahimsa Gethen if you use any of them, thanks!