Lawyers representing the Guatemalan family of Amilcar Pérez López held a press conference in San Francisco on April 24, announcing they had filed a federal lawsuit charging the young immigrant “was wrongfully, unconstitutionally and illegally killed.” His parents, who have been unable to come to the U.S., Skyped in to the press conference.
Later that day, several hundred people rallied in front of the home where López was killed. The Danzantes conducted a ritual dance and later led a march through the Mission District to the Mission Police Station. There, diagrams from an independent autopsy were displayed, showing that, counter to SFPD statements, López was shot with one bullet in the back of his head, four bullets in his back, and a bullet in his arm, clearly indicating he was running away and not threatening the officers who shot him. “Someone charging at you with a knife held high doesn’t get shot in the back of the head,” said lawyer Arnoldo Casillas. “How is Chief Suhr going to explain this?”
López was killed by undercover officers Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli on Feb. 26. SFPD Chief Greg Suhr had claimed that Amilcar had attempted to steal another man’s bicycle, but that when the English-speaking officers approached him, Amilcar raised a knife over his head and charged the officers, forcing them to fire. The 21-year-old had come to the U.S. to raise money to support his family in Guatemala and was working full time doing construction. He spoke an Indigenous language, with no English, and some Spanish.
The parents of Alex Nieto, also killed by the SFPD, joined the vigil and march as well. Nieto was killed in nearby Bernal Heights in 2014.