Abel R. Gomez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Religion Department and earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies from the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Syracuse University. His research and teaching focus on sacred sites, ritual, and decolonization in the context of contemporary Indigenous religions. Abel is currently completing his dissertation, an ethnography of sacred sites protection movements among Ohlone peoples of the San Francisco and Monterey regions. He is a steering committee member for the Native Traditions in the Americas Unit of the American Academy of Religion and a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Religion and the City.
Attorneys for Nichols' family called the move "appropriate and proportional" in response to his death and urged other cities to follow suit but also stressed that "misconduct is not restricted to these specialty units."