This Wednesday’s Vigil

This Wednesday’s Vigil for Amilcar, 6pm, Mission Police Station

Mission Station is where the officers who killed Amilcar are stationed. We continue to shine a spotlight on them We want them to know we haven’t forgotten what they did!

This Monday, several of us met with DA Gascon to review his investigation into Amilcar’s killing. At this week’s vigil, we’ll share what we learned and discuss some possible next steps. We’d like your feedback!

Please join us for this week’s vigil.

When: Wednesday, July 20, 6-7pm
Where: Mission Police Station, 17th and Valencia Streets

Second autopsy affirms Amilcar was shot in the back by police

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed what eye-witnesses, community member’s, and the Perez-Lopez family’s lawyers have been saying for a year.

A second autopsy of a young Guatemalan immigrant who was shot dead one year ago today by San Francisco police appears to contradict Police Chief Greg Suhr’s initial claims about the shooting.

The autopsy, conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office and obtained Thursday by the San Francisco Examiner, mirrors the findings of an independent autopsy conducted after Amilcar Perez Lopez, 20, was fatally shot by officers in the Mission district on Feb. 26, 2015.

 

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Attorney Arnoldo Casillas revealing the results of the independent autopsy in April 2015

Suhr told the public soon after the shooting that Perez Lopez was lunging at two plainclothes police officers with a knife when they shot him. 

However, that claim was apparently contradicted last April by an independent autopsy, which showed Perez Lopez had been shot four times in the back, once through the arm and again through the backside of his head.

The City’s autopsy reflects that account.

See the full story here.

 

Community and Faith Leaders Call for Prayer Vigil and Accountability of SFPD in Response to Autopsy Report of Amilcar Perez Lopez

Community and Faith Leaders Call for Prayer Vigil and Accountability of SFPD in Response to Autopsy Report of Amilcar Perez Lopez

DATE: Friday, April 24 at 6PM

LOCATION: Starting on Folsom between 24th and 25th St, passing the Mission Police Station and ending at St. John the Evangelist Church, 1661 15th St.

WHO: Clergy, community members, families of victims of police shootings and Supervisor David Campos

Media Visuals: Prayer vigil, clergy praying, singing and marching, signs, Clergy in religious garb, Testimonies from families.

San Francisco, CA– On Friday, April 24, religious leaders and community members will come together for a prayer vigil and march in response to the findings of an autopsy on Amilcar Perez Lopez, who was killed in late February near Folsom and 24th Streets.

Faith Leaders and Community Organizations are outraged by the revelation that the young man was shot 6 times in the back – the fourth shooting death by SFPD in 2 years

The autopsy report, released this morning, reveals that Lopez was shot six times4 in the back, 1 in the arm and 1 in the head – after having dropped a knife and while attempting to run away from police, contradicting police statements that they were being attacked by Lopez and acted in self-defense.

“The situation is even worse than we had imagined,” says Roberto E. Alfaro, director of HOMEY, a youth development and violence prevention organization in San Francisco. “Not only was a young, hard-working man in our community killed by police, but it is now clear that the shooting was completely unjustified. This is the fourth police murder in two years in San Francisco. This must stop.”

Community members are being asked to gather tonight at the site of Lopez’s death to begin a prayer vigil and walk. The walk will take participants to the Mission Police Station and end at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, where Lopez’s funeral was held two weeks ago.

“It’s time for faith leaders and community members to step up and hold law enforcement and the criminal justice system accountable for what it is doing to our young people and our communities,” says Fr. Richard Smith, vicar of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church and member of SFOP/PIA, a network of faith communities working on justice issues. “We will not stand quiet and let our people be gunned down by police. We will be working to change the system that allows this. This is only a first step.”

The Vigil and March is being led by the Justice for Amilcar committee and supported by HOMEY, the San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action (SFOP/PIA) and others.

#justice4amilcar, www.justice4amilcar.org

________________________________________

Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY) is a citywide non-profit organization that has been serving at-risk transitional aged youth (TAY) by equipping them with the 21st Century Skills necessary to achieve success in higher education institutions and the workforce since 1999. Throughout its history in San Francisco, HOMEY has been regarded not only as a safe haven for opportunity youth, but it is a place where youth gain valuable life skills and development. Recently, HOMEY was honored as a UCSF 2014 Community-Academic Partnership recipient, and 2014 Latino Community Foundation “Leading Change” awardee. For more information go to: www.homey-sf.org | FB: www.facebook.com/homeysf | Twitter: @homeysf | IG: @homey_sf

SFOP/PIA is a network of faith communities committed to ensuring that the dignity of all members of our community is upheld. Through leadership development, civic engagement, and lifting up of our faith values we strive to make sure that every person receives the respect, justice, and opportunity they deserve. www.sfop.org | www.facebook.com/sanfranciscoorganizingproject

Latest Evidence Disproves SFPD Chief Suhr’s Version of the Killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez

For Immediate Release:

Latest Evidence Disproves SFPD Chief Suhr’s Version of the Killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez

Outraged Mission Community to Hold Vigil and March

What: Interfaith vigil and march in response to latest evidence that Amilcar Perez Lopez was murdered by SFPD
When: Friday, April 24, 6pm
Where: Beginning on Folsom Street, between 24th and 25th Streets

This Friday morning, April 24th, lawyers representing Amilcar Perez-Lopez and his family in Guatemala will file a lawsuit in the Northern District Federal Court in San Francisco seeking accountability for the killing of Amilcar by San Francisco plainclothes officers on February 26th. The Federal Complaint will reveal the true facts behind Amilcar’s heinous death, completely at odds with Chief Greg Suhr’s story.

Those of us in the Mission neighborhood know that the facts are not as the police have reported to the media. We know that the truth about how Amilcar was killed by the police will be revealed when the lawsuit is filed.

This Friday we will gather at the site of his murder on Folsom Street to demand justice for Amilcar, for other victims of racist police violence, and for the Mission District.” said spokesperson for the march and neighbor Florencia Rojo.

Amilcar Perez-Lopez was assassinated in a hail of police bullets three doors away from his Mission apartment on Folsom Street at 9:45 p.m. on February 26th. Soon after, SFPD Chief Greg Suhr blamed Amilcar for his own death at the hands of plainclothes officers. As in each recent shooting case in San Francisco – Alejandro Nieto on March 21, 2014, OShaine Evans on October 7, 2014, and Amilcar on February 26th, Chief Suhr claimed the shootings were justified based on his officers’ “reasonable fear” for their safety.

The evidence revealed on Friday morning, and in particular the autopsy findings, will unequivocally confirm that the officers were in no threat of any danger as Amilcar Perez Lopez was not attacking the officers—but rather fleeing from the officers after having dropped the knife. Most importantly, this evidence will unequivocally confirm that the killing of Amilcar was absolutely unjustified. The SFPD’s official version, which was announced to the public by Chief Suhr, is a fabrication intended to shield the shooting officers from prosecution.

We in the neighborhood knew Amilcar as a hard working, young Guatemalan immigrant struggling to build a decent life for himself in this country. He worked multiple jobs in the construction and the restaurant trades. Despite how hard Amilcar worked, he sent money to his family in Guatemala to help support them. Amilcar was a good human being, a good neighbor and a wonderful provider for his family. There was no reason to shoot him. We will march on Friday with families of other victims of police shootings to demand that the truth come out and justice be done! said Eduardo Roman, a co-worker and friend of Amilcar.

According to march organizer, Father Richard Smith of St. John’s Episcopal Church, “There is a prevalent death culture in the SFPD. They view their mission in our community as a them-against-us situation. I fear for my parishioners and all the innocent youth of color who live with a constant fear that on any day a police bullet may take their young lives. 

I am urging all concerned members of our community to join us for this Fridays vigil and march to stand up for Amilcar and for justice. 

Events and locations:

  • Interfaith vigil with words, music, song, and native dance. On Folsom Street, between 24th and 25th (the site of the killing of Amilcar by SFPD), 6pm
  • March to Mission Police Station
  • Testimonies by families who have lost loved ones to SFPD violence. At Mission Police Station (17th and Valencia Streets)
  • Presentation and conversation with the legal team and free community dinner. At John the Evangelist Episcopal Church on 5th Street and Julian Avenue, between Mission and Valencia)

Audio-visuals:

  • Native Aztec dancers in ceremonial costume
  • Clergy in religious garb
  • Original art and banners by local Mission artists
  • Words, music, songs, chants, native drumming

Contacts:

Father Richard Smith     phone (415) 314-0924     email – Justice4Amilcar@gmail.com
Florencia Rojo                phone (734) 395-9453    email – Justice4Amilcar@gmail.com

Services Held for Amilcar in San Francisco and Guatemala

In the U.S.

On Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm, Amilcar Perez Lopez’s friends and neighbors gathered at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco’s Mission District to reflect on Amilcar’s life and renew our commitment to justice for Amilcar. Videos of the service, including the indigenous prayer, words from the Rev’d Dr. Richard Smith, and testimonials from members of Justice for Amilcar Committee, can be found below. The following day, Easter Sunday, the Rev’d. Dr. Richard Smith reflected on Amilcar and other victims of police and state violence in his sermon.

Back in Guatemala

After a month of waiting, Amilcar’s father Juan Perez still had not received his visa to the U.S. At that time Amilcar’s family decided that they wanted his body to return home without further delay. On Monday, April 6, Amilcar’s family received his body in his home village in Guatemala, and in the days that followed his loving community honored Amilcar’s life through tradition, prayer, and worship.

Amilcar was survived by his two loving parents and five younger siblings.

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Media covers disparity between police version and eyewitness & neighbor accounts

Mission Local: Eyewitnesses Speak Up at Vigil for Amilcar López-Pérez, 3/8/2015

For the first time the roommates of the 21 year-old Guatemalan shot to death by two plainclothes officers on Feb. 26 have come forward to give their version of events.

The two roommates, who asked that their name not be used for fear of reprisals, offered their statements to some 60 neighbors, activists, community members, and relatives of other victims killed by police who gathered at a Saturday vigil for Amilcar López-Pérez.

“The day he was killed, we saw everything,” one said in Spanish. “I want to say everything I know, but I am scared,” he said adding that he feared being deported for not cooperating with police.

Both of the roommates are facing an eviction at the end of the month.

Once again, their version differed sharply from the official version which casts López-Pérez as allegedly attempting to steal a bicycle with a knife when two plainclothes officers came on the scene at 9:45 p.m.  The alleged victim thanked police for saving his life, police reported on the night of the incident.

However, neighbors and eye witnesses  assert that police walked into a crime in progress and confused López-Pérez as a suspect, when in fact he was the victim.  The witnesses said that the cyclist stole López-Pérez’s cell phone and he was chasing after him.

One of the eyewitnesses offered more details at Saturday’s vigil.  “The cops came from behind him,” he said. “He didn’t realize they were cops. He squirmed away and ran towards the two (parked) cars. They ordered him to drop the weapon, he did -over there- (he signaled to the side of the altar on the sidewalk) and then they shot him.”

The witness said he has “been quiet, but I can’t sleep.”  He made the statements in Spanish to some 60 people gathered around the memorial on Folsom Street, near 25th.

Mission Local: At Vigil on Folsom St, Sharply Different Account of Police Shooting, 3/2/2015

While some neighbors said earlier that López had been drinking all day and attempted to steal a bicycle with a knife when he was shot and killed by police last Thursday at 9:45 p.m on Folsom and 25th Streets; others told a different story on Sunday night.  Their story – including eyewitness accounts – indicate there was confusion by police on who was the victim – in part, because Perez-López had a knife.

One of his roommates, who declined to give his name, said López was on the street when a person known to the area took his cellphone and took off on a bicycle. López went into his house to get a knife to recover his phone. Then, plainclothes cops appeared “from out of nowhere and one grabbed him from behind,” said López’s roommate, who saw the incident.

Eduardo Román, a contractor who often used to work with López for a refrigerator maintenance company, said the two had been working on Thursday at a nearby restaurant on 21st and South Van Ness before he dropped off López at around 8:30 p.m. Little more than an hour later, López had been shot and killed by police.

When Román dropped him off, Román said, López was not drunk and had not been drinking on the job, but it is possible that he had a few drinks after work.

On the night of the incident, police reported that López  was chasing another man on Folsom at 9:45 p.m. But instead of him chasing someone who had taken his cell phone, police reported that López had allegedly been trying to steal the bicycle of the man he was chasing.

“According to several witnesses, the officers ordered the suspect to drop the knife,” wrote Sergeant Monica MacDonald in a description of the incident on that Thursday night. “The situation escalated and the officers fired at the suspect.”

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said that evening that the officers “fired between four and six times, which is consistent with the casings recovered from the scene.”

The two officers were placed on administrative leave.

On Sunday night activists, neighbors, and some friends of López gathered at the vigil to speak against the use of force by police. They described López as a short man –he was only 5’0, who did not speak English and would often work 12-14 hour shifts to cover his multiple jobs in construction and restaurants.

SFGate: Neighbors furious over fatal police shooting in Mission, 3/3/2015

A man fatally shot by police in San Francisco’s Mission District last week was not a knife-wielding robbery suspect, his friends and neighbors said Monday, but a hardworking Guatemalan immigrant who was trying to get his cell phone back from the man police said he was trying to rob.

Neighbors provided a conflicting version of the shooting that killed Amilcar Perez-Lopez, 21, as San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr stood by the police account that Perez-Lopez was armed and trying to steal a bicycle from another man when two plainclothes officers encountered him at 24th and Folsom streets about 9:45 p.m. Thursday.

“Lies! Those are lies!” community members shouted at the chief as he tried to speak at a town hall meeting at Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

CBS Local: Religious Leaders Condemn Fatal SFPD Shooting of Man Witnesses Say Was Real Robbery Victim, 3/11/2015

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The demands of justice for Amilcar Perez-Lopez, the 21-year-old Guatemalan man shot and killed by two San Francisco police officers last month continued outside City Hall on Wednesday.

Faith leaders and community members decided to file a complaint with the city’s Office of Citizen Complaints in hopes that an independent investigation into the shooting will be conducted.

Community members have disputed the police version of events that led up to Perez-Lopez’s death on February 26th and rejected a police allegation that Perez-Lopez was trying to steal a bicycle at the time of the shooting.

San Francisco Chronicle reported that neighbors of Perez-Lopez talked to witnesses who were interviewed and that none of them support the police version of the story that Perez-Lopez was trying to steal the man’s bicycle.