Protesters march for anniversary of Bernal Heights officer-involved shooting

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- Chanting "No justice, no peace," protesters chained themselves to San Francisco's Mission District police station Monday morning to mark the one-year anniversary of Alexander Nieto's death.

On March 21st, 2014, officers responding to calls about a man brandishing a weapon on Bernal Hill shot and killed Nieto. A discharged Taser gun was found next to the security guard's body.

Protesters are angry that the District Attorney found that the officers acted in self-defense.

"They're calling for the firing of the SFPD officers involved in the killing," said Cynthya Munoz of Oakland.

The protest came hours ahead of a town hall meeting at St. Luke's Church in San Francisco focusing on the city's third fatal officer-involved shooting or OIS this year. 24-year-old Alice Brown of San Francisco was killed by officers last week after she allegedly stole a car and menaced pedestrians and other drivers by veering onto sidewalks and into oncoming traffic.

But it is a 2008 department OIS that is now under scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Teresa Sheehan -- who suffers from mental illness -- was pepper-sprayed and shot by officers seven years ago. Her social worker told officers she had threatened him. The police forced their way into her room after discovering she was armed with a knife.

"Our view is that there was no direct, significant threat at hand before the police entered into her room," said attorney John Burris, who is representing Sheehan. "She was in her room, it was locked, she could not go anywhere. No one else was in danger. And so our view is that reasonable accommodation meant that they should've waited. They should've brought in the barricaded suspect team that they had."

The justices must now decide whether the Americans With Disabilities Act applies to police encounters with someone who is known to be mentally ill and is threatening violence.

"If it does come into play, you then have to decide, well, what is the reasonable accommodation for a mentally ill person?," said UC Hastings College of the Law professor Rory Little. "The response to police departments in general to the mentally ill on the street has been evolving very quickly over the last five or six years because so many encounters have become high-publicity moments."

Since 2013, more than 250 of the department's approximately 2,000 officers have gone through Crisis Intervention Training, aimed at de-escalating confrontations with the mentally ill.

"Our order is to slow things down and take a step back and just create time and distance where we can actually talk the person out of whatever crisis they're having," said Officer Albie Esparza. "Regardless of a person's mental status or crisis, if they're going towards an officer or someone in the public with a weapon, deadly force is authorized."

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