“What brings us here today are 59 shots," Mission Local quotes the closing arguments attorney Adante Pointer made yesterday in the case against police officers who killed Alex Nieto in Bernal Heights Park nearly two years ago, "59 shots that were fired during the course of a one-sided firefight, 59 shots that were fired on March 21, 2014, by these four defendant officers.”
Representing Lt. Jason Sawyer and Officers Roger Morse, Richard Schiff, and Nathan Chew, deputy city attorney Margaret Baumgartner argued instead that each policeman "used reasonable force against a man with a gun." Here, she means a Taser incorrectly interpreted as a gun. "He used the amount of force that he thought was necessary so he could go home at the end of the day to his wife and children,”
Eight jurors started deliberations in the case this morning, a process that could last as little as hours or as long as days. At issue are testimony from a city witness who says Nieto, previous to his death, aimed the Taser he carried for work as a security guard that officers say they mistook for a gun at him and his dog in the park.
Also at issue: The number of shots fired by police at Nieto and, of course, whether or not Nieto drew and fired his Taser at them or whether, as a witness whose testimony has been questioned by the city, Nieto's hands remained in his pockets.
To find out, the Taser has been examined in several ways including for a timestamp to determine if and when it was fired, though that stamp was perhaps adjusted due to a timing issue within the device.
The federal trial in the civil rights lawsuit against the City of San Francisco regarding the 28-year-old Nieto's death began on March 1st. You can read all previous coverage regarding Alex Nieto here.