SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Four San Francisco police officers did not use excessive force when they shot and killed a college student at a park, a federal jury decided Thursday.
The eight-member jury reached the verdict in a civil lawsuit filed against the city following the 2014 shooting of Alex Nieto. The shooting sparked protests and has fueled anger against police in the wake of the fatal San Francisco police shooting last year of Mario Woods.
Nieto was killed after authorities said he pointed what they thought was a handgun at them, but turned out to be a stun gun. Nieto carried a stun gun for his job as a security guard.
Attorneys for Nieto’s family said that Nieto never pointed the stun gun at officers, and they called a witness who said Nieto’s hands were in his pockets when police opened fire.
“The verdict was not what the Nietos deserve, and it’s not what the city deserves,” Adante Pointer, one of the Nieto family’s attorneys, said outside the courthouse, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1pbMuKj). “What you have here is a green light to fire 59 shots in a public park.”
Deputy City Attorney Margaret Baumgartner said the officers didn’t do anything wrong. The defense said the witness who claimed Nieto’s hands were in his pocket was too far away and wasn’t wearing his glasses.
“Everybody here, including the officers, understands that the Nietos must be very sad to lose a child like that,” Baumgartner said.