SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A federal trial for the wrongful death lawsuit filed against four police officers involved in the shooting death of Alex Nieto began in San Francisco Tuesday morning.
At a rally called “Amor Por Alex” outside the courthouse, Nieto’s parents were greeted with a lot of hugs. Most of the people here were in support of this couple whose 28-year-old son was killed by police almost two years ago.
“Getting to this day is a victory and we believe any reasonable juror is going to look at the evidence – the physical evidence and the logic of this case – and they will have to decide in our favor,” said lead rally organizer Benjamin Bac Sierra.
Nieto’s former middle-school teachers from Horace Mann were here Tuesday, remembering him as a kid whose happy nature was contagious, even as an impressionable middle schooler.
“Boys at that age, they want to show that they’re growing up,” said teacher Barbara Duhl. “But he just couldn’t help himself; he’s break out into a big old smile whenever he tried to act tough.”
Nieto was armed with a Taser the day he was killed, something the family’s lawyer says was necessary for his job.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s office said police reasonably mistook the weapon as a pistol and assert Nieto pointed it directly at them when they told him to show them his hands.
“This is an assault on the entire community of San Francisco and the police need to be reigned in,” Nieto supporter David Walters.
Nieto was struck by dozens of bullets. District Attorney George Gascon says all four police believed their lives were in danger. Gascon said he wasn’t not sure that much could have been done to prevent the shooting.
Nieto’s parents insist there is no evidence that shows their son did not comply with the police officers’ requests.