Alex Nieto, a twenty-eight-year-old student at City College of San Francisco, was murdered in Bernal Heights near his home on March 21, 2014, by four police officers.
According to an article in SFGate, the police officers responded to a distress call from a dog walker who believed Alex had a Taser gun. District Attorney George Gascon reported that the officers fired at least fifty-nine shots.
This shooting has stirred up quite an emotional and personal controversy because Alex’s friends and family felt that this was an instance of police brutality. Many people feel that Alex’s death was as devastating as the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and others as the result of police brutality. According to a website put up by Alex’s friends and family, “A dog walker called 911 simply because he didn’t like the sight of this working class Latino man in Bernal Heights.”
Although the police involved were not charged with the murder, the family of Alex has filed a civil suit against the city. Many people don’t know that Alex was a member of the Everett community and knew one of our teachers, Ms. Bellinger.
Ms. Bellinger met Alex when he was working with her at Y.M.A.C. (Youth Making a Change). Ms. Bellinger was his adult mentor at the time.
Before Alex was killed, he worked with children. It was Ms. Bellinger who taught him to use his own voice to make change in San Francisco for young people, the poor, and working class students of color. Ms. Bellinger said that Alex Nieto is deeply missed. She will always remember him for his peaceful energy and warm smile. “He reminds us to keep doing the work,” Ms. Bellinger said.