Activists marching from SF to Sacramento to protest police shootings

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)-- A group of 10 San Francisco activists started a 14-day march to Sacramento today demanding charges for San Francisco police officers who have shot and killed suspects.

The marchers are seeking a meeting with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and will ask him to step in and charge officers involved in shootings that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has either
declined to charge or has made no decision.

"They should not be allowed to go on killing with total impunity," the 10 marchers wrote to Becerra in a letter that was provided to reporters.

"We believe that nothing will change unless the guilty cops are charged with murder, found guilty and go to jail."

Three of the people marching were previously part of the "Frisco Five," who staged a 17-day hunger strike outside the Mission District police station last year calling for the removal of former San Francisco police
Chief Greg Suhr. The strike culminated in a tense protest inside San Francisco City Hall.

Two weeks after that, another controversial shooting, of Jessica Williams on May 19, 2016, led to Suhr's ouster.

"We're here, we're doing it again," Ike Pinkston, one of the Frisco Five, said at a rally outside the Hall of Justice today before the march. "First we're starving ourselves, now we're walking some 95 miles."

Protesters have also targeted San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, a former police chief, despite his rhetoric about police accountability. Gascon's investigations into police shootings have lasted years and his office still has 10 open investigations into deadly shootings dating back to 2014.

Gascon made some headway in clearing the backlog of investigations on Thursday, when he announced that nine officers involved in three shootings in 2014, 2016 and this year would face no criminal charges.

Among the officers the marchers are demanding criminal charges for are Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli, plainclothes officers who killed Amilcar Perez-Lopez on Feb. 26, 2015. Gascon announced in April this year that they would not be charged.

They are also seeking criminal charges for the officers who shot Alex Nieto, a security guard who was killed in Bernal Heights Park while allegedly wielding a Taser on March 21, 2014. A year later, Gascon announced
those four officers would not be charged.

The still pending cases they are seeking charges for are for Williams as well as Mario Woods who was killed on Dec. 2, 2015, and Luis Gongora Pat, a Mayan homeless man who was shot on April 7, 2015.

At a rally today before the march, members of the Nieto and Gongora families read statements of support.

"This is a very positive walk and we are going to ask the person at the state capitol to help us out and jail killer cops," Nieto's father, Refugio Nieto, said through a translator. "We're hoping Gascon listens to the person at the state capitol and we have justice for those who have fallen in San Francisco."

"No matter how much we have demanded district attorney Gascon to impose justice on his murderers, he has not," said Gongora's brother, Jose Gongora Pat. "We, the relatives of the innocent people killed by police, are forced to escalate our actions because the justice system is not made to provide justice when the state kills."

The marchers plan to hold meetings along the way in Mill Valley, San Rafael, Petaluma, Novato, Sonoma, Napa, Fairfield, Vacaville, Dixon and Davis. They plan to arrive in Sacramento on Oct. 18.

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