A proposal authored by Supervisor Malia Cohen to give the Office of Citizen Complaints complete authority to investigate all police shootings is moving forward, the Examiner reports, with the Board's Rules Committee sending it along to the full Board. If approved there, it would land on the June ballot for voters to decide. Meanwhile, the accounts of two shootings by SFPD officers have been called into question, perhaps bolstering Cohen's case.
Cohen calls the move, which would expand the Office of Citizen Complaints' (OCC) purview, "a step in the right direction." The OCC didn't investigate about 25 percent of such shootings in the past five years. That's because, although the OCC investigates all complaints of police wrongdoing, not all shootings result in a complaint.
ABC7 reports that evidence doesn't add up from a Taser held by Alex Nieto, who was shot and killed by Police officers in Bernal Heights Park in 2014 when they purportedly mistook the weapon he carried as part of his job (he was a nightclub security officer) for a gun.
We've already heard that a police account of Nieto flashing or firing his taser was called into question by a witness who claims the shooting victim had his hands in his pockets when he was wounded 14 times by police gunfire and died. But now ABC7 has done some research into the Taser's internal clock, which the District Attorney's report said indicates it was fired several times starting at 7:18 p.m. But Nieto's Taser, according to the news channel's investigation, instead registered being fired at 7:14 p.m.
The difference that would make is unclear, but it could indicate that the timing was changed — whether maliciously or merely to address what a taser expert refers to as "clock drift," it's not known.
Maybe more compellingly, "There would always be some sort of Taser evidence on the ground or somewhere nearby that the weapon was discharged," that expert added, but while this wasn't found, the DA chalks that up to heavy winds.
Amilcar Perez Lopez
The Examiner also has a story on a second City autopsy in the case of the death of 20-year-old Guatemalan immigrant Amilcar Perez Lopez, who was shot and killed by SFPD officers last year.
While Chief Suhr initially told the public that Perez Lopez had lunged at officers, activists have disputed that account, and a second, independent autopsy seemed to show that Perez Lopez had been shot in the back. Now, the Ex reports, the City's recent autopsy corroborates that: Perez Lopez was in fact shot not just four times in the back but once through the arm and once through the back of his head.
“This case is truly significant because the contrast between their version and the physical evidence is so stark,” Arnoldo Casillas, the lead attorney in the case told reporters. “We’ve got our autopsy and their autopsy that show the bullets hit him in the back.”
As for Cohen's proposal to have the OCC automatically investigate all police shootings, some question whether the office has the resources and staff to do so. But, says OCC director Joyce Hicks, if granted further authority by voters in June she would request more funds and staff to do so.
Previously: Activists Dispute Official Account Of Fatal SFPD Shooting, Plan Protest At Town Hall Tonight
Witness In Alex Nieto Civil Rights Trial To Say He Had Hands In His Pockets When Police Shot Him