Alejandro Nieto was shot and killed by San Francisco police at Bernal Heights Park on March 21, 2014. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo)

Supervisor proposes memorial for Alex Nieto, man shot by police

San Francisco may install a memorial at the site where Alex Nieto was fatally shot by police on 2014, in Bernal Heights Park.

Supervisor John Avalos introduced legislation Tuesday, which was co-sponsored by supervisors David Campos, Eric Mar and Malia Cohen, that would direct the Recreation and Park Department to install in Bernal Heights Park a memorial in honor of Alex Nieto.

Nieto was fatally shot March 21, 2014, after Nieto was told by officers to put his hands up and he pulled a stun gun the officers mistook for a gun. A federal jury determined earlier this year that the four officers involved in the shooting did not use excessive force.

“I actually worked with Alex Nieto when I was with [the nonprofit] Coleman Advocates,” Avalos recalled during the meeting. “Alex is a native son. His whole life was around the Mission and Bernal Hill.”

Avalos added, “His tragic death and violent death is something that should be marked. It is part of the history of Bernal. It is also part of the daily experience of his parents who go everyday to the hill to pray at the site where Alex was killed.”

It’s unclear whether the memorial will include a bench, plaque or other element. That will be decided after community input is received, and a community meeting is tentatively scheduled for either Nov. 14 or Nov. 28.

Under the proposal, the Recreation and Park Department would have to conduct community meetings with the Bernal Heights neighborhood and obtain approval from the Arts Commission for the memorial, which would be “located along the paved pathway on the northern side of Bernal Hill.”

Avalos is termed out of office in January, and said he may request a waiver of the 30-day rule to have the board vote on it before he leaves office. Usually legislation must sit for 30 days before being acted upon.

“Whatever your thoughts are on what actually took place, there is no question there is a tragedy here,” Campos said. “What we hope through this memorial is there is a little bit of healing that happens.”

The memorial is expected to be paid for through community fundraising.
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