District Attorney George Gascon says he’s about to decide whether to file charges against the officers who killed Amilcar Perez Lopez in February 2015 by six bullets to his back.
This Thursday, the Justice for Amilcar Coalition will once again demand the DA charge the officers with murder. And we will join Public Defender Jeff Adachi in calling out the DA’s double standard of consistently exonerating officers who kill civilians while relentlessly prosecuting civilians who allegedly harm an officer.
Whenever a civilian allegedly harms an officer, DA Gascón files every charge in the book, often with little evidence. But when a police officer harms or kills a young black or brown person like Amilcar, the DA not only refuses to bring the officer to trial but even tries to paint the victim as the criminal.
Despite many officer-involved shootings since he took office, many of them fatal, DA Gascon has charged not a single officer. By contrast, young Mission District Latinos committing relatively minor crimes are often prosecuted and punished severely. If the law is applied so harshly in one instance, why not the other?
We’re calling out the DA’s double standard. We want justice for Amilcar, Luis Gongora Pat, Mario Woods, Jessica Williams, and all the other victims of police violence.
Check out this recent article in 48hills.org. Although the DA can’t seem to charge the officers who killed Amilcar, he relentlessly pursues a young black man who defended himself from wrongful arrest by BART police–even after a jury had found the young man innocent.
[Below is a joint press release from an alliance of community groups, reposted to the J4Amilcar website]
For Immediate Release:
City of San Francisco Giving Human Rights Awards While Continuing Human Rights Abuses
An alliance of community organizations in San Francisco that have been working to hold the City of San Francisco and the San Francisco Police Department accountable for the deaths of brown and black people who have been killed by the police have been called to receive a human rights award by the City of San Francisco.
These groups, including the Idriss Stelley Foundation, Amor for Alex Nieto, Justice 4 Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Do No Harm Coalition, Justice for Luis Gongora Pat, and Justice 4 Jessica Nelson-Williams express deep concern at the actions of the City which seeks to praise their activism while failing to address any of the systemic issues that lead to the disproportionate killing and economic displacement of people of color with no mechanism in place for justice. In response to the lack of justice from the City of San Francisco, the SFPD, its District Attorney, the Attorney General of California and the lack of any binding investigation from the Department of Justice, these groups have contacted the UN Committee on Torture and will be filing a complaint with the International Court of Justice, seeking assistance now from the international community to respond to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the City on people of color and the economically disadvantaged in San Francisco which continue. In light of the findings of the damning Blue Ribbon Panel and the community’s call for justice, it is crucial that the City acts immediately to suspend the ongoing intimidation by the SFPD, to allow for the prosecution and removal of killer cops from its force, to cease evictions that are destroying the cultural integrity of neighborhoods of people of color and to stop its intimidation and harm of the unhoused.
With the police killings of Idriss Stelley, Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez Lopez, Luis Gongora Pat and Jessica Nelson, we see a City that is unable to guarantee the protection of human dignity and justice for all of its citizens.
Dr. Rupa Marya, professor of medicine with the UCSF Do No Harm Coalition: “When the body is fighting cancer, you need medicine, not awards. And the body of San Francisco is suffering from the cancer of disparity in income, safety and respect. The medicine here is justice.”
Please join us to document the Human Rights Awards Ceremony where each of these groups will voice their respective thoughts on this award and the state of Human Rights in San Francisco. Immediately following, there will be a press conference to answer specific questions from the press.
San Francisco Human Rights Commission Hero Award Ceremony
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
Based on our ongoing conversations, we have adapted these demands in the following manner.Specific Coalitions have additional demands that the mayor should address. Initially, therefore,
We demand that Mayor Ed Lee:
Fire Chief Suhr – A first and old demand at last met on May 19, 2016.
Despite the hunger strike of the #Frisco5 calling for Mayor Ed Lee to #FireChiefSuhr, despite the fact that this demand became the battle cry of the #Frisco500 to 5000 that took City Hall on a weekend in May 7th ending in 33 arrests, it was the loss of the life of twenty-nine year old Jessica Williams (#SayHerName) to a police bullet on Thursday May 19th 9:45am in the Bayview district (on the birthday of Malcolm X) that finally forced Ed Lee to face-up to the people’s anger and ask Chief Greg Suhr to resign.
Jessica Williams was the 22nd fatality under the command of Suhr, the twelfth since 2014, all these fatalities are unaccountable murders (found to be within policy, the latest shootings since 2015 still under review).
Carry out acts of restoration
Establish a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto, in collaboration with Elvira and Refugio Nieto at the site where their son was killed in Bernal Heights Park, and where community members have maintained a memorial for two years, as a gesture towards restoring community relations.
Establish a permanent memorial for Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat, in collaboration with his family in San Francisco.
Inquire of other families who have lost loved ones to an officer-involved shooting if they too would like a permanent memorial, and take actions to create such a memorial.
Provide immediate financial relief and specialized services to the families victimized by officer-involved shootings and other conduct resulting in trauma or injury since at least 2014. (Edited by request of survivors of police behavior that caused harm.)
Enforce demand for a fair and independent federal investigation into salient officer-involved shootings since 2014:
Enforce the January 26, 2016 Board of Supervisor’s resolution that “requests the United States Department of Justice to undertake independent investigation of the shootings of Alex Nieto, Amilcar Lopez-Perez (sic), and Mario Woods and the process by which the SFPD investigates use of force incidents” by establishing an action plan with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division for an independent federal investigation into those salient cases, including SFPD’s investigation of each case.
At this juncture, we demand that said DOJ investigation include all officer-involved shootings since 2014 in which complaints were filed against SFPD or the City, including the killing of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat on April 7, 2016 and the twenty-seven year old woman murdered by SFPD today.
End the culture of impunity in SFPD:
Order the interim Chief of Police to issue bulletins that make alternatives to lethal use of force by SFPD officers unequivocally mandatory in volatile or potentially volatile situations.
Ensure adequate training for SFPD officers in line with our demand.
Support deep structural reform to raise SFPD accountability:
Alongside our demands to the Mayor, we are currently working with Supervisor John Avalos on developing a package of reform initiatives to raise SFPD accountability including. We demand that the Mayor, the Police Commission, and SFPD support our legislative package of reform once presented to the appropriate committee within the Board of Supervisors, and support implementation of any such reforms.
Deep structural reforms demanded of BOS:
We demand that the BOS take action to end police impunity through a package of legislative reforms that should include:
Modify legislation (to override the current SFPD General Order) that makes alternatives to lethal use of force by SFPD officers unequivocally mandatory with the aim of preserving life of civilians even in volatile or potentially volatile situations;
Radically increase transparency of the SFPD by requiring public and online permanent record keeping of complaints and incidents of use of force by officers, in line with best open government practices and in consideration of the Leno Bill SB1286;
Establish a Special Prosecutor’s Office that is a true and autonomous investigative and prosecutorial body in cases involving police misconduct including officer-involved shootings;
Establish an elected Civilian Police Commission that will substitute the current Police Commission (a proposal of Idriss Stelley Foundation);
Require peer review processes in the Office of Medical Examiner when facing an officer involved shooting;
Provide specialized victims services and financial relief for family and community members affected by a lethal use of force by officers, taking into consideration cultural, linguistic, and other special needs; and
Increase availability of witness protection programs and options in officer involved shootings, taking into consideration cultural, linguistic, and other special needs; and
Provide adequate training for SFPD officers derived from implementation of reforms, including adequate deescalation and crisis intervention training.
Justice 4 Amilcar is co-sponsoring this community event for the family of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat and family and friends of other loved ones killed by SFPD.
When: May 22, 2016
What: Walk with families hurt by police from site of SFPD killings from Bernal Heights to Mission Dolores for mass for Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat at noon
9 a.m. – Start at Alex Nieto Memorial Site on Bernal Heights Park
Noon – Mass at Mission Dolores
1 p.m. – Potluck picnic in Dolores Park
The family of Luis Góngora Pat invite us to walk with them to the Mission Dolores, where a mass will be held at NOON for Luis.
At 9AM, we will begin walking with Elvira and Refugio Nieto and Justice 4 Alex Nieto supporters from Bernal Heights, down Folsom Street to meet friends and supporters of Justice 4 Amilcar near 24th, then continue on Shotwell Street to 19th to meet up with family and friends of Justice 4 Luis Góngora Pat. From there we will continue in procession to the Mission Dolores. After mass, a potluck picnic will be held at Dolores Park. If you don’t want attend mass, please meet us at Dolores Park and help set up a picnic spot!
Event co-sponsored by Justice4Luis, Justice4AlexNieto, PoorMAG/PrensaPobre, Mission Neighborhood Resource Center.
May 22 is also the Malcom X Day and there is a festival in the Bayview, where Mario Woods, Kenny Harding Jr, and Idriss Stelley are also being honored.
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.
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.
On February 26, 2015, Amilcar was shot six times to the back by SFPD.
As investigations continue, and demands for intervention by the Federal Justice Department escalate, we remember this young immigrant and his family in Guatemala — in poetry, prayer, dance, a candle-lit vigil and march, and a clear demand for justice and an end to police violence.
Join us Friday, February 26, 2016 at 5pm at Folsom St. between 25th and 24th St.
Among those joining us: the Danzantes Xitlali and other Bay Area faith leaders, Supervisors David Campos and Malia Cohen, Mission youth leaders, Labor leaders, leaders from the Mario Woods and Alex Nieto Coalitions, and many others.
We’ll begin with a vigil at the site of Amilcar’s shooting (Folsom between 24th and 25th), and then march to Mission Police Station. Afterwards, a free community dinner at St. John’s at 15th and Julian (between Valencia and Mission).
English (ver la versión española de abajo). The San Francisco District Attorney, the California Attorney General, and the US Attorney’s office are all entities that have the power to file criminal charges. We call on each entity to file criminal charges against the officers that shot and killed Amilcar Perez-Lopez in the Mission District on February 26, 2015, and to file criminal charges against Chief Greg Suhr for covering up the facts of the killing of Amilcar.
The official SFPD version of Amilcar’s death was originally that the officers “feared for their lives” because Amilcar “lunged at them”. However, an independent autopsy revealed that the six bullet wounds were all to the back of Amilcar’s body. The City Medical Examiner’s report was released just recently, and is consistent with this autopsy finding. Chief Suhr now admits that he was wrong but continues the cover-up. His new story is that Amilcar lunged at a bystander.
Criminal charges should be filed immediately, based on seeing six shots to the back of Amilcar’s body, the blood on Folsom Street and not on the sidewalk, the lack of any evidence that Amilcar confronted the plainclothes officers or anyone else in the final seconds prior to his shooting, and Chief Suhr’s inability to tell the truth.
Español El Fiscal del Distrito de San Francisco, el Fiscal General de California y el Fiscal Nacional son organos judiciales que tienen la capacidad de traer cargos penales. Estamos haciendo un llamado a estas agencias para que hagan representaciones públicas de cargos penales en contra de los policías que dispararon y asesinaron a Amilcar Perez-Lopez en el Distrito de la Mision el 26 de febrero de 2015, y de registrar cargos criminales en contra de Comandante Greg Suhr por encubrir la realidad del asesinato de Amilcar.
La versión oficial de la muerte de Amilcar orginalmente fué que los oficiales de la policía “temían por sus vidas” porque Amillara “se lanzo a ellos”. Sin embargo, una autopsia independiente revelo que seis de los balazos penetraron la espalda de Amilcar. El estudio hecho por la oficina de el Médico Forense fue publicado recientemente y confirma lo que la autopsia relato. El Comandante Suhr ahora admite que él estaba erróneo pero continúa encubriendo a los protagonistas del caso. Su nuevo relato es que Almicar se le fué encima a otro peatón.
Cargos criminales deben de ser introducidos inmediatamente, basado en los seis balazos en la espalda de Amilcar, su cuerpo en la calle Folsom y no en la acera como ellos dicen, la falta de evidencia que Amilcar confrontó a los policías o ninguna otra persona en los momentos antes que fue herido por balas y finalmente la incapacidad del Comandante Suhr de decir la verdad.
On Friday, April 24th, on behalf of Amilcar’s family, Attorney Arnoldo Casillas will file a civil lawsuit against the City of San Francisco and officers Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli who killed Amilcar Perez-Lopez mere feet from his home. At 11:00am Casillas will hold a press conference and reveal information that dramatically contradicts the police narrative of the events of the night Amilcar was shot and killed.
We believe SFPD is involved in a cover-up of facts to avoid criminal and civil accountability for the unlawful killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez. Join us that evening to mourn this tragic loss in our community, resist the forces of gentrification, and DEMAND JUSTICE for Amilcar.
6:00pm – Vigil begins on the East side of Folsom between 24th and 25th, at the site of the shooting
6:30pm – March begins
7:00pm – Stop at Mission Police Station (630 Valencia)
March will end at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church (15th St between
Mission and Valencia)
**Please bring votive candles. We will lay these down at the Mission Police Station to symbolize the loss of Amilcar and other victims of police violence in San Francisco.**
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.