MIKE KOOZMIN/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTOAlejandro Nieto was killed by police March 21 in Bernal Heights Park.

Nieto family awaits release of SF officers' names for lawsuit in shooting case

The family of Alejandro Nieto, a 28-year-old man shot to death by police in March, recently sued The City in federal court for allegedly violating Nieto’s civil rights.

The City and Police Department were named in the August lawsuit, but the case has stalled on an important issue: the names of all the defendants, specifically the officers in involved in the shooting.

Those officers’ names have not been released, even after The San Francisco Examiner earlier this year requested and received the names of all officers involved in shootings since 1990. The department has not released the names because it says it received a credible threat to the officers’ safety.

Nieto family attorney Adante Pointer has also requested the names of all the officers involved in the March 21 incident in Bernal Heights Park as part of the discovery phase of the case.

“I don’t have the names yet,” said Pointer.

The only way the Police Department will agree to hand over the names is if Pointer abides by a very restrictive protective order allowing only him to review the names.

That, says Pointer, is very unusual and misguided.

“I can’t name the defendants?” said Pointer, noting that their names are vital in order to see if any of them have a history of excessive force as officers. “It’s about transparency and accountability.”

Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Nathanael Cousins agreed with Pointer when he told The City it has to hand over the names and cannot restrict who they are released to with a special protective order.

City Attorney’s Office spokesman Matt Dorsey told The Examiner that The City will not oppose Cousins’ ruling and plans to give the names to the Nieto family lawyer.

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