Judge orders release of names of SF officers involved in Alejandro Nieto killing

A federal judge has ordered San Francisco to release the names of the officers involved in the shooting death of Alejandro Nieto, a 28-year-old man who was killed in March in Bernal Heights Park after allegedly drawing a stung gun.

Adante Pointer, the lawyer representing the Nieto family in their federal civil rights case against The City and Police Department, said he plans to file an amended complaint on or after Jan. 5 that will include the names of the four officers who fired their guns March 21 and possibly anyone else directly responsible for Nieto’s death.

U.S. District Court Judge Nathanael Cousins ruled Monday that The City must release to Pointer the names of the officers. The case was stalled over the issue.

Those officers’ names were not released even after The San Francisco Examiner earlier this year requested and received the names of all officers involved in shootings since 1990. SFPD said it withheld the names because of a credible threat to the officers’ safety.

The City also made the same argument as it tried to keep the names secret.

“It’s not a decision with which we agree, but The City will cooperate with the court’s order,” said City Attorney’s Office spokesman Matt Dorsey.

In the end, Pointer was able to convince Cousins that The City’s rationale was not strong enough to keep the names from being released.

“This is not a credible threat,” he said of what was in part received by San Francisco officials over the Internet.

Without the names, Pointer said, it would be impossible for Pointer to try the case since he would not know who was involved. He also said police officers, like anyone else, should go through the process in public and not behind closed doors.

“The officers shouldn’t be afforded any extra privileges that the ordinary citizen is not awarded,” Pointer said.

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