On a dark evening in late February of 2015, two plainclothes San Francisco Police Department officers — later identified as Eric Reboli and Craig Tifferes — responded to an emergency call at 25th and Folsom streets. Shortly after arriving at the scene, Amilcar Perez Lopez, 20, was shot in the back by the officers and died immediately.
The case drew national attention, particularly after it was revealed that Reboli and Tifferes were named in a 2009 civil lawsuit, that alleged they used police brutality against another Latino suspect. In the years since, marches and rallies have been held across the city, calling for murder charges to be assigned to the officers.
On Wednesday afternoon, the investigation finally came to a close, with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office opting not to file charges. “For officers to be charged for the shooting death of Almicar Perez-Lopez, SFDA needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers did not act in self-defense or in the defense of others. Based on the facts, circumstances, and applicable law in this matter, there is insufficient evidence to file any criminal charges against Officer Reboli or Officer Tiffe.” stated a news release from the DA’s Office.
Our sister paper the Examiner has run an in-depth story reviewing the shooting and subsequent investigation.
At the center of the controversy were the conflicting descriptions of the event: By some accounts, Perez Lopez attacked another man, Abraham P., for either taking his cell phone, denying to sell him a bike, or refusing him entry to a building. Regardless of the nature of the argument, Perez Lopez is said to have chased the victim with a large kitchen knife. When officers attempted to apprehend him, he allegedly made moves to attack them with said knife, prompting them to fire their weapons. Based on an autopsy, it was determined that Perez Lopez was shot once in the back of the head, once in the side, and four times in the back.
Perez Lopez’s family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against SFPD, arguing that he was killed unlawfully.
SFGate has created a list of all the San Francisco police shootings that are awaiting charging decisions by prosecutors.