SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The aunt of a man shot by San Francisco police confronted local leaders at an event to honor Tyre Nichols at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday.

Nichols was beaten to death by Memphis police officers in early January, and his death has sparked outrage across the nation. The event honoring Nichols was held by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community, an organization aimed at addressing inequities for Black people in San Francisco.

April Green is the aunt of Keita O’Neil, who was shot dead by a rookie San Francisco cop in 2017. Green was originally scheduled to speak at the event alongside local leaders including San Francisco Mayor London Breed. However, Green alleges that one of the organizers, Phelicia Jones, told her she was not welcome to speak. Jones argued that Green’s pro-Chesa Boudin stance meant she was not a good fit for the organization’s platform.

Green was surprised by the criticism. “Of course I would support anyone who brought charges against the officer who killed my loved one,” she told KRON4.

“How can you stand for a man in another state that’s been murdered, and not stand for the man killed here at home?” Green wondered. Text messages obtained by KRON4 are shared below:

Green says she showed up at the event anyway, and began shouting “What about Icky?” when Breed was speaking. Icky was a nickname for O’Neill. Green tells KRON4 that she wanted to make sure her voice was heard, and she refused to leave the event. Breed left the stage, but Green was offered a megaphone by a person in the crowd.

Green says she shouted into the megaphone, even as people tried to pull it from her hands. She wondered how an event meant to honor Nichols could result in people trying to silence the family of another Black man killed by police.

“I feel I’m standing alone,” Green told KRON4. “We’re the victims too, our family is hurting too.” 

KRON4 reached out to Jones for comment on the matter. The message was not returned.

Shooting and case of Keita O’Neil

O’Neil was shot and killed by an SFPD officer in 2017 when police were called to the scene of a robbery and carjacking of a California State Lottery vehicle. The officer was later identified as Chris Samayoa, and the shooting occurred on the officer’s fourth day in uniform.

Former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin drew criticism when he brought charges against Samayoa for voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, assault by an executive officer, assault with a semi automatic firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm. The City of San Francisco settled the civil case with O’Neil’s family for $2.5 million, but the criminal case is still pending.

Then, after Brooke Jenkins was appointed as DA, the case against former officer Samayoa began to slow. April Green, the aunt of O’Neil, told KRON4 that she hoped the case against her nephew’s killer would still move forward. Last October, Green and the families of two other people killed by police gave a press conference in front of the DA’s office to voice their frustrations.

KRON On is streaming now

The group argued that Jenkins was avoiding prosecuting police for political reasons. “I am really worried that if Jenkins wins this election that officer is going to walk away,” said Green said.

The DA’s office told KRON4 that their office is contact with each of the families and will continue to inform them of any developments in each case, but the DA could not comment further due to the sensitive nature of the investigations.

Boudin’s handling of the case is now coming under stricter scrutiny. Samayoa’s attorney is arguing that Boudin’s “egregious prosecutorial misconduct” should result in the case being thrown out, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Green confirms that her attorney, Brian Ford, wrote to Jenkins and asked her to recuse herself from the case. In the letter dated Jan. 30, Ford wrote, “we are deeply concerned that you and your office are more interested in investigating the Boudin administration than in securing justice in this case.” Green hopes that California Attorney General Rob Bonta will handle the case instead.