Saturday, October 24, 2020
News + Politics Did one of the cops who killed Alex Nieto...

Did one of the cops who killed Alex Nieto post a really horrible comment on Facebook?

Sometimes, you just don't gloat about victory, particularly when you have killed someone

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I’m sorry: Sometimes you don’t gloat about a victory. And one of those times is when you have killed someone, and a jury says you acted within the law.

I don’t agree with the jury in the Alex Nieto case, but that doesn’t matter: Even if you think the four officers who killed Nieto acted within the rules and their training, they ought to have some respect for the fact that they took a human life.

That is nothing to celebrate. That’s nothing to smile or joke about.

And yet, I have what appears to be a Facebook post from one of the officers who shot Nieto, Roger Morse, making what at worst could be read as a threat and what at best is just a terrible, terrible snide comment about the man that he helped kill.

48hillsnietofacebook

The Facebook post, on the page of Denise Aravelo, who on Facebook and other social media appears to have a close relationship with Morse, is a response to a link to the ABC News story on the verdict.

Here’s what follows:

“Roger Morse: Smiling. Ugh. How about burning down his house and tazing his friend who pressed charges?”

Now: Morse could have been, and there are some who tell me he was, responding to this Chronicle story, which states that “Nieto was placed on a psychiatric hold for attempting to burn his house down.” I am told that he actually had set a book on fire, which is a little different from attempting to burn a house down. He also allegedly used his Taser on someone in the past.

The judge in the case refused to allow the defense to introduce evidence about Nieto’s medical history, saying it was entirely irrelevant. The officers who opened fire knew nothing about Nieto’s mental health (and if that had been suspicious that he was mentally ill, they should have followed protocol and asked for a specially trained team anyway.)

I have attempted to contact Morse through his Facebook account, and through his attorneys. The City Attorney’s office has no comment.

The Facebook page where this post was published is now locked down. I was given the screen shot by a source. Another very, very reliable source tells me that he has connections with Morse and that this is, indeed, a real image of what was a real post.

If Officer Morse wants to contact me and convince me that this is a hoax, that someone hacked his account, I will immediately report that and apologize.

But for the moment, I have no reason to believe this is anything but what it looks like: A horribly inappropriate response to a tragedy.

Even if you give the officers the benefit of the doubt, and believe their story, Nieto was not a killer. He was not in the middle of an armed robbery. He didn’t even have a gun. He was having a burrito before work, and wound up dead. That’s terrible, and the officers involved should at the very least understand how tragic this is to the family.

Again, let’s give Officer Morse the benefit of the doubt, and say he meant no threat or harm with this post. It’s still really awful.

And it says something about the climate at the SFPD these days. I hope Chief Suhr is paying attention.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

53 COMMENTS

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  10. The funny thing is, this is Tim’s best article (least inherently biased) that I’ve read on the matter. It was a cruel thing to say on social media.

    Do any of the protestors realize their hypocrisies?
    – They say the Nieto side lost the trial because of bias. Do they not realize they have their own bias?
    – They say Nieto was in his rights to protect himself from the dog. The police didn’t have a right to protect themselves? He couldn’t have just holstered the weapon and gone to work so no one would call 911?
    – They are all his best friend now, where were they when he wouldn’t take his meds?

  11. you are right – it doesn’t matter that you are a native born San Franciscan; and, doesn’t change the fact that Alex Nieto was murdered by the SFPD

  12. Sorry, Redmond’s piece is even-handed. He asks the following questions repeatedly throughout his post: Did Officer Morse make this Facebook post? Is there a reasonable interpretation of Morse’s post that doesn’t make him sound like an arrogant thug? Redmond even goes out on a limb and expresses his willingness to apologize if he got the facts wrong. Trump, by contrast, cultivates a continual public contempt for the truth.
    If Redmond were attempting yellow journalism, his post’s headline would have been something in the vein of “Nieto Killer Posts Victory Gloat On Facebook.”

  13. It is disconcerting that some people feel that they can get their news from Tim Redmond. Material that supports his position is usually exaggerated or flat out fabricated while material against his position is non-existent.

    This wasn’t the worst example. The cop (Morse) should have kept his mouth shut.

    What he said in the post that obviously freaked Tim out is that he resented the news agencies using idyllic, smiling photos of Nieto. The Federal Court decided that Nieto acted irresponsibly. Morse wasn’t physically injured but his life did get messed up on account of Nieto’s actions:

    1) Don’t wear you Taser in a public park, even if you do need it later for work. People should be able to go to the park without wondering why some non uniformed person is wearing a gun. Would you let your kids play nearby?

    2) If a dog is approaching you for your food then call out to the owner (or just share something with him). No need to point a weapon at the dog or its owner. This was about potato chips.

    3) The star anti police witness (the guy who kept contradicting himself and saying that his alcoholism affected his memory) said that Nieto was walking towards the cops with his hands in his pockets. Why is that OK? You’re packing a dangerous weapon that looks like a handgun.

    With Michael Brown it was “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”. With Nieto it was apparently “Hands in Pockets Don’t Shoot”.

  14. You are literally the person who reads “World” magazine then tries to educate the rest of us about how aliens have been found living among us. 48 Hills is a tabloid, and should be read only as entertainment. My issue with it is that it attempts to masquerade as journalism. When people take an article like this seriously, it is to the detriment of actual journalists. Take off your tinfoil hat and go read actual news,
    -Rhetoric (native born San Franciscan not that it matters)

  15. Our comments had nothing to do with economics. I’ve criticized Redmond consistently for his apparent lack of journalistic standards.It’s an old trick what Redmond’s doing, and hypocritical considering how much he talks about the state of journalism not being what it used to be. Perhaps he prefers a return to late 1800s yellow journalism.

    Also, I think it’s fairly telling and evidence of your own narcissism and self-righteousness that you imply that I am part of SF’s new citizenry. Even if that was true, it’s amazingly discriminatory to imply that people who weren’t born here or lived in SF for a long time are somehow worse people. Let’s try putting this in Redmond’s style..: Is Nancy Snyder actually Donald Trump?

  16. just reading the comments of rhetoric and montrogue also reveal the culpability of the cheerleaders of unfettered capitalism and narcissism – extreme narcissism – that populate San Francisco today; of course I believe the police sent that message – reflective of the new citizenry – it is a pain in the heart that doesn’t go away when one considers what has happened to the Nieto family – i wonder if these were the people who desecrated Alex’s memorial – i wouldn’t be surprised

  17. Tim, I have some questions after reading this garbage.
    1. Do you really think you are a journalist?
    2. Did you even proofread this?
    3. Do you know about Betteridges Law of Headlines? (Hint: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)
    I am curious if you are actually this ignorant or just pretending to be to garner clicks.

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