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DAY TWO: “The Trial: Alex Nieto versus the SFPD”
EXAMINATION OF OFFICER SCHIFF:
- As of today, March 2, 2016, Officer Schiff has testified 50 times or more even though he has only been on the force two years. He was trained how to answer questions during trials. MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: He is a professional testifier; he understands exactly how to look nice and answer politely for a jury. Can you imagine how many times the other veteran officers have testified—1,000 times?
- At the time officers killed Alex Nieto on March 21, 2014, Officer Schiff had not yet passed the SFPD Field Training Program.
- When they responded to Bernal Heights park on March 21, 2014, this was the first time Schiff had ever been called to a situation involving a person with a gun. He had, however, once been called to a situation involving a man perhaps wearing an armored vest. In that situation Officer Schiff took out his gun and pointed it at a man who was wearing a comic book costume. MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: Here is a rookie cop who has something very macho to prove about himself. He is someone who is ready to kill another human being without hesitation.
- The officers entered Bernal Heights by bypassing the main gate. Officer Schiff drove the car around the gate by going onto a dirt road. They saw other officers there who were also going in the same direction, yet they decided not to wait for them and instead they went up there alone. MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: These were cowboy cops looking for an intense altercation.
- Officer Schiff claims Alex Nieto was purposely walking towards him. When asked to explain whether Alex was marching, Officer Schiff said no—that Alex was not pumping his arms. He was asked to demonstrate walking purposely and Officer Schiff physically got up and walked in the court room. Officer Schiff says he does not remember anything in Alex’s hands, so his hands were swinging at his side. It was noted that Alex Nieto had a burrito and other items in his hand, yet Officer Schiff did not see that. MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: Officer Schiff walked normally, somewhat briskly but in a manner that in no way connotes purpose. I walk quickly all day long. How could someone go into another’s mind and know what their purpose for walking is? Also, note that Officer Sawyer later testifies that Alex Nieto is walking and eating from a bag of chips. How can someone walk with purpose and eat from a bag of chips? Eating from a bag of chips is, perhaps, the epitome of someone who is relaxing.
- Officer Schiff claims that Alex appeared angry, that his cheekbones had raised up, and that he made direct eye contact with Alex, who had scrunched up his forehead in anger. Officer Schiff is then asked whether he knew that Alex Nieto was wearing a hat and sunglasses at the time he killed him. Officer Schiff responded “No.” MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: It is impossible for Officer Schiff to have seen Alex’s forehead and eyes or to have ascertained from 100 feet away that Alex had an angry look on his face. How could he have an angry face and be eating from a bag of chips at the same time?
- Officer Schiff then claims that as he stops the car, gets out, points his gun at Alex Nieto, and yells “Show me your hands!,” Alex Nieto then states, “You show me your hands”, goes into a “belated” fighting stance, reaches under his jacket, pulls out what Schiff thinks is a gun, and then punches the weapon out at him. The red laser light is pointed at Schiff. Upon questioning, Schiff answers that he started shooting his gun once Alex began pulling out the taser.
- MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: NOW WE KNOW CERTAINLY THAT IT WAS THE NERVOUS, COWBOY COP ROOKIE WHO FIRED FIRST, WITHOUT SEEING ANY RED LASER FIRST.
- Although Officer Schiff was trained and had fired that particular gun over 1,000 times during intense training sessions, he allowed Alex to take a tactical stance, go for his taser, and pull it out. MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: this violates what a reasonable police officer would do in that situation. Note the Mario Woods case as a reference. SFPD does not allow someone to even go for a sudden movement before they begin firing!
- After the officers killed Alex Nieto, as they approached him, Officer Schiff did not see the red taser light on anymore, prior to Officer Morse kicking it out of Alex’s hands. Officer Schiff does not know why the red taser light was no longer on.
- Officer Schiff claims he did not talk with any other shooting officers before making his statement later that night or the next day at the Hall of Justice. Officer Schiff claims that he was immediately separated from the situation and the officers. Later, however, Officer Sawyer testifies that the shooting officers were alone for five minutes before they were relieved. Also, before Officer Schiff made his statement, he spoke with his father, a veteran SFPD officer.
- Officer Schiff claims he would be embarrassed and ashamed if he unjustifiably killed someone. He claims non-chalantly that he has had no problems sleeping or eating since he killed Alex Nieto.
- KEY POINT: at the end of the examination, after Officer Schiff has stated numerous times that he told Alex Nieto to “Show me your hands,” he was asked why would you ask Alex Nieto to show his hands? Did he have them in his pockets? Could you not see his hands? Officer Schiff responds that he did see Nieto’s hands. Then didn’t Alex Nieto comply with his command, because Alex Nieto’s hands were shown? MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: it is illogical for them to have shouted “Show me your hands” if Alex Nieto had in fact had his hands in plain view. If they thought that show me your hands means raise your hands, they are at fault, since the two things do not mean the same thing. Note that Alex Nieto had never been arrested in his life, so what would “Show me your hands” mean to him? ALEX NIETO EITHER HAD HIS HANDS IN HIS POCKETS (CONSISTENT WITH THE WITNESS DEPOSITION TESTIMONY AND THE WITNESS CLAIMS ALEX HAD HIS HANDS IN HIS POCKETS THE ENTIRE TIME) AND THAT IS WHY THEY ARE YELLING “SHOW ME YOUR HANDS” OR ALEX NIETO ALREADY HAD HIS HANDS SHOWING AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS GOING ON—HE HAD HIS HANDS SHOWING!
EXAMINATION OF OFFICER SAWYER:
- 25 year veteran Officer Sawyer gives advice to rookie Schiff as they approach the hill. The main thing he tells him is to pay particular attention to the suspect’s right hand, since most people are right handed and the hands are what can possibly hurt an officer.
- Even though he is police trainer and giving this advice, he does not remember that he said in earlier deposition testimony that Alex was carrying a bag of chips and eating from it with his hands.
- He also does not remember Alex Nieto wearing a hat, yet there is a gunshot in the hat, so he must have been wearing it.
- After the situation described above regarding the initial encounter with Alex, Officer Sawyer claims he continuously shouted “Show me your hands” and “Drop it”, yet attorney Adante Pointer asks whether Officer Sawyer knows that no witness present heard any commands from any police officer.
- Officer Sawyer claims that he was looking at Alex Nieto pointing the weapon the entire time Officer Sawyer was shooting his gun, yet he did not see anything eject from Alex’s taser—no bullets, no flashes, no smoke. He also did not see taser blast doors ejecting, colored confetti being released from the taser, and the wires and orange dart ejecting, which he should have seen if Alex Nieto actually had fired his taser.
- Veteran Officer Sawyer states that this was not a “firefight.” This is important because this is the language that the rookie Officer Schiff used when he was testifying, as if this was a gun battle between two parties, which it was not. Alex Nieto never fired one bullet.
- Officer Sawyer states that he did not see anyone turn off the taser nor did anyone tell him they had turned off the taser and that if they would have they definitely should have reported that to him.
- Officer Sawyer does not remember a pause in the shooting because it was a fluid moment. MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: we know that there was a seven second pause because of audio recording that. If Alex Nieto had continuously pointed a taser, then why would Officer Sawyer have paused shooting for seven full seconds?
- The audio was played in the court room. From the time Officer Sawyer reports “We got him” which means that they see him to the report of Officer Sawyer stating “Shots fired”, there is only a five second time span. MY SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE: I REPEAT: THERE IS ONLY A FIVE SECOND TIME SPAN FROM OFFICER SAWYER SAYING THAT THEY SEE ALEX NIETO TO THEM FIRING THEIR GUNS AT ALEX. IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE THAT ALL THEY CLAIM TO HAVE OCCURRED COULD HAVE HAPPENED IN A FIVE SECOND TIME SPAN: THEY STOP THE CAR, EXIT THEIR VEHICLE WITH THEIR GUNS DRAWN, ASK ALEX TO SHOW ME YOUR HANDS, ALEX SUPPOSEDLY THEN RESPONDS “SHOW ME YOUR HANDS”, ALEX THEN SUPPOSEDLY PULLS OUT HIS TASER AND POINTS THE RED LASER AT THEM, AND OFFICER SAWYER THEN HAS THE MENTALITY AND CLARITY TO CALL OVER THE RADIO “SHOTS FIRED.” THIS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE HAPPENED IN A FIVE SECOND TIME SPAN. IT SEEMS MUCH MORE LOGICAL ATTACHED TO THE WITNESS’S DEPOSITION TESTIMONY—OFFICERS JUMP OUT OF THEIR CAR, SAWYER YELLS STOP, AND THEY BEGIN IMMEDIATELY SHOOTING. NOW WE KNOW IT WAS THE ROOKIE SCHIFF WHO SHOT FIRST.
More to follow after today’s court proceedings.
Amor por Alex Nieto and our community of justice and peace!
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