After staging a play about justice this Saturday, Brava Theater will host a discussion about the fatal shooting of Alejandro Nieto by San Francisco police officers.
On March 21, 28-year-old Alex Nieto was eating outside on Bernal Hill when the police arrived, responding to a call about an armed man pacing near a bench. According to Police Chief Greg Suhr, officers said they told Nieto to show his hands, and when he brandished what they believed to be a firearm, shot him somewhere between 12 and 16 times. Nieto died at the scene. The object he was holding was discovered to be a Taser he carried for his job as a nightclub security guard.
The Nieto incident has prompted angry reactions from residents, who say police used undue force against Nieto. A memorial protest of some 350 people was held in late March, and the family also filed a wrongful death claim in mid-April, seeking further evidence from the police department that they say has been withheld.
The Justice 4 Alex Nieto Committee has coordinated the Nieto talk, which will start after the theater’s 8 p.m. penultimate showing of “Love Balm for My SpiritChild.” The play is described as a testament to “revolutionary motherhood” and a reaction to murdered sons.
Love Balm for My SpiritChild … was specifically inspired by how mothers’ memories have served as a vehicle for justice in the cases of the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide. In the wake of tragic and systemic murders like those of Alan Blueford, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Emmett Till — Love Balm for my SpiritChild witnesses local mothers who have personally experienced similar loss as they mobilize to bring about awareness and justice for their son’s murders.
The play was created by Arielle Julia Brown, a theater artist and arts administrator in Oakland, and will highlight the killings of Kenneth Harding Jr., Oscar Grant III, Kerry Baxter Jr., among others. It has already been shown at a number of theaters, from Atlanta, Georgia to Pomona, California, and testimonies from the play have been performed throughout the Bay Area. Tickets are selling online for $10 – $25.
In the police-involved shooting of Nieto, the Justice 4 Alex Nieto Committee has reported that the family’s wrongful death claim has been denied by the city attorney’s office. The group also reported that the Nieto family had a meeting with the district attorney, who said his investigation will be postponed until he receives a medical examiner’s report detailing the forensic and medical evidence of the case.