Amilcar Perez-Lopez: No charges for cops in SF man's death

Image 1 of 3

Protestors were quick to react after two SFPD officers were cleared in a fatal 2015 shooting.

Demonstrators held signs and chanted at the Mission Station, blocking Valencia Street at 17th Street for a few hours Wednesday night.

"Six shots to the back, what do we do? Fight back," they shouted, referring to the death of 20 year old Amilcar Perez Lopez, a Guatemalan immigrant who was shot six times by two officers.

"When the moment arrives, and this decision is announced, it is a shock," said protest leader Fr. Richard Smith of the Epsicopal Church of St. John the Evangelist.

"This has opened up some very deep wounds in the community."

 At a late afternoon briefing, District Attorney George Gascon described his decision not to charge the officers as "transparent" and "painstaking".

"The body of evidence supports their accounts," he explained, "and in total more than three dozen civilians provided statements regarding the shooting."

According to the report, Perez-Lopez, armed with a knife, got into a drunken dispute with another man and chased him down Folsom Street.

Nine separate videos, some from MUNI buses and a coffee shop, captured parts of the incident, but not the actual gunfire. Experts created an animated re-enactment of that, which Gascon played for reporters.      

"We do know officers ordered him to drop the knife, he did not drop the knife, and shots were fired," explained Gascon. 


A 27-page report summarizes the events that led to the killing of Perez-Lopez, who was struck six times by bullets, and concludes that charges are not recommended against the officers. >>>>>To view the full report: Click here.

The DA is convinced the two plainclothes officers, first to arrive, adequately identified themselves to Perez Lopez, but that he advanced, waving the large kitchen knife, making  slashing motions. 

"The officer believed Lopez Perez was going to kill him, if given the opportunity, and possibly kill anyone in his way," declared Gascon.  

The knife has been a point of contention during two years of protest.

Witnesses differed. Some said Perez Lopez had dropped the knife before he was shot.

Gascon says its location doesn't support that.  

"The knife was found in the lane of traffic, several feet from Perez Lopez's hand."

And critics also question why five of the six bullets hit Perez Lopez in the back, if he was advancing on the officers. Gascon's explanation?     

"Based on reaction time, Perez Lopez would have been able to turn 90 to 180 degrees by the time the first bullet hit him."

Those who decry the use of force say authorities have demonized Perez Lopez.

"Amilcar was a very hard-working, law-abiding young man who sent what he earned to his family in Guatemala," Rev. Smith told KTVU.

"We've got a broken justice system, and we've got a cowardly DA who knew what the right thing to do was, but failed to do it."

Gascon has several other fatal OIS cases pending, awaiting review and charging decisions.

The family of Perez Lopez has a Long Beach attorney pursing a civil case against the  Police Department and city of San Francisco.