A San Francisco police officer involved in the recent fatal shooting of a civilian who was transferred to a reforms bureau has voluntarily been reassigned, according to the department.
Sgt. Nate Steger, one of two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora on April 7, is no longer working in the bureau heading the police department’s reform efforts, Interim Police Chief Tony Chaplin said.
“He has voluntarily agreed to be reassigned,” Chaplin told several members of Gongora’s family during a Police Commission meeting on Wednesday evening.
Gongora, a 45-year-old homeless man, was fatally shot by police near Shotwell and 18th streets. Authorities alleged Gongora was wielding a knife and that officers fired beanbag rounds that were unsuccessful in subduing him.
Soon after Gongora was killed, the San Francisco Police Department identified the officers involved as Steger and Officer Michael Mellone.
The department transferred Steger to a position in the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau, which was intended to act as a liaison to the Department of Justice’s review of SFPD and help craft new policy aimed at reducing the number of people killed at the hands of police.
Steger — whose assignment to the reforms bureau was first reported Tuesday by the San Francisco Examiner — was one of four officers focusing specifically on reforms in the bureau. About 20 additional officers work on community engagement, recruitment and retention.
Luis Poot Pat, Gongora’s cousin, said putting Steger in that role only increases distrust of police.
“He killed our cousin and is now” acting to help create reforms, said Poot Pat, 52, who added that such actions stink of corruption and remind him of how police act in his home country of Mexico.
“We want police that can help us not destroy us,” he said. “My family is destroyed.”