Pilar Baglieri’s voice wavered with tears as she described to a room of 40 residents at the Mission Police Station Tuesday night how an undercover officer put a gun to her 19-year-old son Ernesto’s head and screamed profanities in front of their house on Hampshire Street around 7 p.m. on Sept. 17.
“To point a gun so aggressively without any grounds, it was very scary,” she said.
The incident happened just after Ernesto and his girlfriend left the house to pick up his younger brother. They were sitting in his car out front when a car with its headlights off approached slowly.
One of the two men in the car asked Ernesto if he was stealing the car and if he had hit the car in front of him. That car belonged to his father.
“With this attitude, some police are creating anger and hate in the community,” Pilar Baglieri said to Police Captain Steve Tacchini who holds the regular monthly meetings at the 630 Valencia Street Station.
“Police officers don’t want to inflame a community,” responded Tacchini, whose ability to address individual cases in a public meeting is limited. He asked for the officers’ badge numbers and promised to have the incident investigated by the Office of Citizen Complaints.
That night, Baglieri said, he got out of the car. So did one of the officers, who pointed a gun at his head before showing a badge and started screaming at him. Baglieri has close-cropped hair, a clean-cut style and wears a diamond studded “SF” earring in one ear and a Bluetooth earpiece in the other.
“I thought I was going to die,” he told Mission Loc@l at the monthly community meeting at the Mission District station. Baglieri is currently a student at the College of Marin studying Business Real Estate.
Instead, he was slammed down on the roof of the car and cuffed—with the gun still pointed at him, Ernesto said. His girlfriend, who was sitting in the front seat, was screaming.
It was the yelling and swearing that brought Pilar to the window. She didn’t realize that the man pointing a gun at her son was an undercover agent until other police cars approached.
“It’s a good thing I’m healthy, otherwise I would’ve had a heart attack,” she said.
Police were uncommunicative when she demanded to know his charges, she said.
One of the officers later said they had received an anonymous tip that people were using drugs in the car. The Baglieris were skeptical because Ernesto hadn’t been in the car more than a few minutes and doubted that police would have responded so swiftly to a call of that nature.
The police released Ernesto after running his plates and identification, realizing they had no grounds to hold him, he said. They whole incident was over in 15 minutes.
Pilar said her son is still having nightmares.
She worries what would have happened if she and her family, who’ve lived on Hampshire Street for 25 years, hadn’t rushed outside to deescalate the situation.