In a final vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved the installation of a memorial for Alex Nieto, who was shot and killed by San Francisco police in Bernal Heights Park on March 21, 2014.
During the board’s first vote Dec. 13 on installing the memorial for Nieto, the vote was 9-to-1 in support.
At the time, the District 8 seat was left vacant by now-state Sen. Scott Wiener, and the vote was also taken with now-former board members.
The new board, which was ceremoniously sworn in Monday, voted 10-1 in support of the memorial in a second and final vote. Mayor Ed Lee’s newly District 8-appointed Supervisor Jeff Sheehy voted in support of it as did District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, who received support from the Police Officers Association during his election in November.
The other two new members of the board also expectedly voted in support of the memorial.
The police union had blasted the Dec. 13 vote. “We believe that we as a city should instead be honoring real heroes, the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our community from harm,” Martin Halloran, head of the POA, said at that time in a statement.
The former District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, who had introduced the legislation, said at the Dec. 13 meeting, “If we acknowledge these incidents have happened, it brings us closer.”
Avalos said at the time the memorial was about a “sense of healing.”
At the site of Nieto’s killing, there is currently an altar that is often visited by Nieto’s parents, who attended the Dec. 13 meeting.
The only “no” vote on both occasions was from Supervisor Mark Farrell, whose speech was similar to the POA’s statement.
Farrell called the incident “horrific” during the Dec. 13 meeting but said he opposed the memorial “because of the message that it is sending to the men and women of our Police Department who put their lives on the line for us every single day.”
Cohen, at the time, said the memorial was “an opportunity for us to come together. This should be healing. This should be bringing peace.” She said Farrell’s talking points were “tearing us apart.”
A civil federal grand jury exonerated the four officers who shot Nieto after police said he pointed a stun gun at them when responding to a call about a man with a gun.
The memorial will be designed through community input and require approval by the Arts Commission.
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