I-Team: Alex NIeto wrongful death trial begins against 4 SFPD cops

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The trial began Tuesday in a lawsuit brought on by the parents of Alex Nieto, the 28-year-old, who was allegedly shot up to 48 times by San Francisco police in Bernal Heights Park, almost two years ago.

The trial began Tuesday in a lawsuit brought on by the parents of Alex Nieto, the 28-year-old, who was allegedly shot up to 48 times by San Francisco police in Bernal Heights Park, almost two years ago.

Many of the potential jurors expressed strong feelings about the SFPD. Some have friends or family who are officers while others had bad experiences with police. But the jury has been chosen and the trial is underway.

A loud protest was held before the trial got underway as dozens of people supporting the parents of Alex Nieto, who was shot and killed by four San Francisco police officers in Bernal Heights Park in March of 2014.

RELATED: New info surfaces in SFPD shooting of Alex Nieto

"There is an onslaught of attacks on people of color in this city. We are putting the city on trial," said Edwin Lindo, over a loud speaker as he lead the protesters. Lindo is a friend of the Nieto family.

"Shame on Mayor Ed Lee! Shame on the chief of police!" shouted Roberto Hernandez, one of the activists.

After selecting a jury of six women and two men, the trial began for the lawsuit alleging excessive force, violation of civil rights and wrongful death. Officers allegedly shot Nieto between 48 to 59 times.

Last week, the Nieto's family attorney, Adante Pointer, told ABC7 News that he will call a defense witness who claims Alex Nieto had his hands in his jacket pockets, when police opened fire.

"We think the physical evidence is going to show that Alex's hands were not in the position the officers claim, which is holding a Taser, pointing it at them, and maintaining that Taser at them while taking all those shots across his back," said Pointer.

Neito was carrying a Taser, which his family says was licensed and needed for his job.

RELATED: DA clears officers involved in fatal SF shooting

Pointer gave the opening statement on behalf of the Nieto family.

But the attorney representing the officers and the City and County of San Francisco, Margaret Baumgartner, says Nieto took an aggressive posture with a weapon, and that police didn't know it was a Taser when they started firing.

"They has every reason to believe this was a real firearm and that the position he was in, outside any cover, that he actually intended to harm them," she said.

Wednesday will be a very important day as the plaintiff will call the four officers who opened fire that day.

They sat calmly on Tuesday and listened with not much reaction to the action in court.

Click here to take a look at investigative reports from the ABC7 News I-Team.
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