Cop killings in the SF Bay Area, a small list

I have just returned from a march in solidarity with the Committee for Justice & Love for Alex Nieto, who was killed by SF police earlier this year. Alex was unarmed, eating a burrito in a local park before going to work as a security guard. Inspired by the national uprising in response to the unjust and racist killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I decided to take a moment to familiarize myself with a few of the many non-threatening people shot and killed by local police. Street protests and riots, in addition to legal and bureaucratic activism, are shifting the public discourse, building communities of resistance, and will hopefully result in more indictments and imprisonment of police. We have to increase the costs and consequences - lawsuits, civil unrest, imprisonment, public relations - for police brutality, racial profiling, and murder. And we have to increase support and respect for the families of the victims, those who have to deal with the ongoing insult of being denied justice and honesty from local police, judges, media, and government.

No justice, no peace
No racist police

Killing children is a crime
Frisco Ferguson Palestine


Idriss Stelley
23 years old
June 13, 2001

Idriss' girlfriend called SFPD from the Metreon (a multiplex cinema) requesting 5150 (medical care for a mental health emergency) for Idriss who was having an emotional emergency/breakdown. 9 SF police officers arrived, emptied the theater, and killed Idriss, shooting 48 bullets.


Gary King Jr.
20 years old
September 20, 2007

Stopped for questioning upon exiting a North Oakland store, Oakland police shot Gary twice in the back after he attempted to flee. .


Oscar Grant III
23 years old
January 1, 2009

Killed by BART (metro) cop Johannes Mehserle, while already laying face down, hands cuffed behind his back.


Kenneth Harding Jr
19 years old
July 16, 2011

Killed by SF police for running away from cops asking him to show his $2 transit fare. Police report says that Harding shot himself. Harding lay bleeding for nearly 30 minutes and was denied immediate medical care.


Alan Blueford
18 years old
May 6, 2012

Shot 3 times by Oakland cop Miguel Masso. Blueford was hanging out with friends at night in East Oakland, when an unmarked car without lights approached. As cops emerged to question them, Blueford was shot running away. Last words, “I didn't do anything.”


Mario Romero
23 years old
September 2, 2012

Killed by Vallejo police Sean Kenney and Dustin Joseph who fired over 30 bullets into the car, 11 which hit and killed Romero. An additional 5 bullets hit but did not kill Romero's brother in law Joseph Johnson.


Andy Lopez
13 years old
October 22, 2013

Sonoma county deputy sherriff Erick Gelhaus shot Andy seven times because the 8th grader was carrying a toy gun designed to look like an AK47.


Errol Chang
34 years old
March 20, 2014

Chang, who had documented mental health issues, barricaded himself in his house in Pacifica. A SWAT team broke into the home. Chang stabbed one of the team and was then shot and killed.


Alejandro “Alex” Nieto
28 years old
March 21, 2014

Shot at over fourteen times and killed by the San Francisco Police Department, on Bernal Hill Park in San Francisco, without justification.


Yanira Serrano-Garcia
18 years old
June 23, 2014

Killed by San Mateo county deputy Mehn Trieu who was responding to a call for fire department paramedics. Yanira had a history of mental health issues and was extremely agitated.


Jacorey Calhoun
23 years old
August 4, 2014

Shot in the head by Alameda county deputy sheriff Derek Tomas as he fled, unarmed, in East Oakland.


To confuse, coverup, and deny their illegal and deadly actions, the police have withheld reports, denied family access to the body, presented conflicting stories about the incident, tried to protect the identity of the cops, slandered and blamed the victim, and/or tried to sabotage investigations of the death. In multiple situations the police have lied about what happened. In several situations the victim had a known history of mental health issues which was communicated to the officers. These cop killings, and thousands of others, are instigated by chronic, structural practices: racial profiling of young black or brown men, police violence and other militarized responses to non-threatening situations and mental health emergencies, and a total lack of accountability for police brutality, racism, and murder. Oscar Grant's killer, thanks to intense street protests and bureaucratic activism, is the only law enforcement officer to be jailed for unjustly killing an unarmed person.

What is remembered lives.