The parents of Alejandro Nieto, the 28-year-old man shot and killed by San Francisco police officers in Bernal Heights Park March 21, filed a wrongful death claim against the city on Monday. The family, which is seeking unlimited damages, hopes the legal threat will pressure the police department and medical examiner into releasing more information about the shooting.
Gabriel Zitrin, spokesman for the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, said the city has 45 days to respond to the claim, which can either be denied by the city attorney, or recommended to the Board of Supervisors for settlement. Filing a claim with the city is typically a precursor to a wrongful death lawsuit.
The family's attorney, civil rights litigator John Burris, is also calling for a federal investigation into the shooting of Nieto, a civic-minded man loved by many in his neighborhood.
"We’re requesting that the U.S. attorneys here, the Department of Justice, conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding (Nieto's) death, and if necessary, file criminal charges against these officers," Burris said Monday.
Addressing a March 25 neighborhood meeting about the shooting, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said Nieto had aimed a Taser at officers and "tracked" them with the stun gun's laser sight. He said officers were responding to calls about a man with a gun, and they believed Nieto was about to shoot them with a firearm.