Protesters in San Francisco chained themselves together this morning outside the Mission Police Station to demand greater accountability for officers involved in shooting civilians.
Stop Police Impunity, the group behind today’s demonstration, said they have no confidence in Mayor Ed Lee or District Attorney George Gascon. The protest has shut down part of Valencia Street and blocked in a commuter bus transporting eBay workers.
“There’s protesters in front of and behind the bus,” Stop Police Impunity spokesman Ramses Teon-Nichols said.
“It’s classic civil disobedience trying to shut down business as usual as a call for accountability, for things to change, and for justice to be done with regard to San Francisco Police Department killings,” Teon-Nichols said.
Today’s demonstration is a response to last month’s announcement that four officers involved in the shooting death of Alejandro “Alex” Nieto would not face charges. Nieto, 28, was killed after pointing a Taser at officers in Bernal Heights Park on March 21, 2014, one year ago Saturday.
Stop Police Impunity has also expressed concerns about the death of Amilcar Perez-Lopez, a 21-year-old Guatemalan man shot by San Francisco police in the city’s Mission District on Feb. 26.
“We want an end to the police impunity,” Teon-Nichols said. “We don’t want to see any more protection of police in these shootings.”
One of the chants being used by demonstrators this morning was “No consequence, no confidence,” Teon-Nichols said.
He said the protesters’ demands include firing the officers involved in Nieto’s death. They’re also asking Gascon to recuse himself in cases involving officer-involved shootings.
Teon-Nichols said Gascon’s history with the San Francisco Police Department presents a clear conflict of interest. Gascon was appointed police chief by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2009 and served in that position until 2011, when he was appointed district attorney.
Teon-Nichols said protesters have locked themselves to each other outside of the Mission station, shutting down a parking lot entrance where patrol vehicles come and go. They’ve left the front door of the station accessible, however, so officers can observe a mock trial taking place outside the station.
“We wanted the officers to come out and see a people’s court trial of the police officers,” Teon-Nichols said. “That’s why they decided not to chain themselves to the front door today.”
Teon-Nichols said city officials would likely cut off the protesters’ “lockboxes” — slang for PVC pipes used by protesters to lock their hands together — but as of late this morning, police were standing by with no indication of escalation.
“They’re kind of surrounding the activists who are locked down, but there’s still people speaking out,” Teon-Nichols said. “I think it’s because we have a lot of people who’ve showed up, standing by and supporting the lock down.”
San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said that no arrests have been made as of late this morning. Officers are monitoring the First Amendment activity rights of the protesters, according to Esparza.
Dave Brooksher, Bay City News