Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Northbay CopWatch

Know your local domestic security agencies.
This archive contains information about security agencies operating in the San Pablo Bay Area  engaging in human rights abuse, surveillance and harassment against people of lower-income, members of captive nations, and against individuals based on their political or religious beliefs. This list is woefully incomplete.
Note: All [links] go to a page on the Northbay Copwatch archive, and do not connect to the websites of the agency described.

Municipal and County security agencies:

By Government Code Section 3307, Peace Officers cannot be required to take polygraph examinations, a privilege that does not exist for State or Federal employees of the FBI, CIA, or many other public-sector security agencies.
Also see: Judicial Corruption [link]

Solano County -
* Solano County Sheriff's Department
* Vallejo Police Department
* Vacaville Police Department
* Dixon Police Department
* Fairfield Police Department
* Benicia Police Department
* Suisun Police Department

Napa County -
* Napa County Sheriff's Department
* Napa City Police Department
* American Canyon Police Department
* Calistoga Police Department
* St. Helena Police Department
* Yountville Police Department

Contra Costa County -
* Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department

* Antioch Police Department [link]
* Richmond Police Department
* Concord Police Department
* Walnut Creek Police Department
* Martinez Police Department
* Alamo Police Department

Sonoma County -
Sonoma County Sheriff's Department [link]
* Sonoma City
Police Department
* Rohnert Park
Police Department
* Sebastopol
Police Department
* Santa Rosa
Police Department
* Petaluma
Police Department
Also see:
* "Police Brutality is on the Rise: 17 local case histories" (Sonoma County), published 2000 [link]

California State security agencies:* California Highway Patrol (CHP)
* California State Military Department [link]
* California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Federal security agencies:
* Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [link], an agency which is used against domestic dissent.
* California National Guard (a Federal agency)
* Suspicious Activity Reporting program [link]
* Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) [link]
* Transportation Security Administration (TSA) [link]
* United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police
* Air Force Security Forces, an agency which monitors peace activists.
National Security Agency (NSA) [link]
* DHS Office for State and Local Law Enforcement [link]
* National Fusion Center Coordination Group
* DHS Citizen Corps Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) & USAonWatch
California National Guard and suppression of dissent in eastern Europe [link]

* How We Got From 9/11 to Massive NSA Spying on Americans: A Timeline, 2001 to 2013 [link]

Other domestic security operatives:
* Grand Jury investigations [link]

Transnational security agencies:
* Five Eyes (US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) [link]
* Israel [link]: Beginning 2003, Israeli police forces and associated Israeli funded agencies have organized law enforcement trainings with Federal, municipal and state security agencies, with live trainings in Israel, by Israeli police and counter-terrorism units. These trainings are to normalize the use of "counter-terrorism" tactics against all suspects, especially against political protesters!!
For example, Los Angeles Police Officers attack human-rights activist who shows solidarity with the People of Palestine (2014-07-08) [link]

Private sector security agencies: 
* Union Pacific Police Department [link]
* Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)
* Law Enforcement intelligence Unit (LEIU)
* International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
* National Sheriff's Association
* Private Patrols used to supplement Police presence
* Police SWAT teams, overseen by Law Enforcement Councils (LEC), are incorporating as private entities with no public oversight [link]
* TrapWire [link]
* Media journalists providing information to police about political activities [link]
* "Anarchists", funded by security agencies both public and private... [link]
Beware, also, of private professional clandestine agents, who, as individuals for hire, infiltrate and disrupt democratic campaigns for dignity and human rights, oftentimes sharing their privately collected intelligence to public sector security agencies, including municipal police departments.

Security agencies conduct operations against political opposition:
Domestic security agencies are targeting non-violent advocates for peace, justice, and freedom in the San Pablo bay area and neighboring regions, under the definition of what constitutes terrorism, not because of any violent actions, but to stifle dissent. Although there is no universal definition of terrorism, Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
A war against dissent. Former NSA Director Keith Alexander privately receives up to a million dollars a month, due to a cyber-surveillance technique he and his partners at his new security firm IronNet Cybersecurity have developed, and he is slated to head a 'cyber-war council' backed by Wall Street against domestic and foreign resistance to corporate policies. [www.commondreams.org/news/2014/07/29/former-nsa-chief-why-im-worth-1-million-month-wall-street]
Brazil, 1979 to 1985, a regime of public and private sector security agencies acting in collusion against Labor Unions and Human Rights advocates [link].

* Security agencies fabricate incidents to justify their actions against advocates for Peace, Justice and Freedom [link]
* Disruption of human-rights gathering at Port of Oakland (2014-08-01) [link]
* United Farm Workers (UFW) union email service hit by systemwide stoppage (2014-07-25) [link]
* Recent visits with political activists by FBI in San Francisco, New York city, Chicago (2014-07-02) [link]
* "Surveillance of American Muslims Underscores Lack of Safeguards" [link]
* Security agency intimidation tactics [link]
* Solidarity with Cyndi Mitchell, advocate of Justice for her brother Mario Romero [link], under threat by Vallejo PD and their allies (updated February, 2014).
* Northbay MDS: Disruptions and other strange things (work in progress) [link]
* Oakland Police provide political affiliation information to private business for purpose of intimidating targeted dissidents (reported October, 2013) [link].
* On October 29, 2013, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz police filmed union members striking.
* Oakland Police use military methods to terrorize and torture anti-war protesters, April 7th, 2003.
* Our neighbor, an anti-racist, white-American, named Linda L R Roberts of Sacramento, writes Nov. 9th, 2013: "So, neighbors were told to do a citizens arrest on the large group of thugs on 10th Avenue near me. Today at the anti police brutality demo, there were 7 cops sitting around for about an hour." David A. of Sacramento adds: "+ 2 snipers on the 2nd floor parking garage and the cop with subdued patch on orange motorcycle. What a waste of all that money and resources, so they can harass people who are grieving."

* “Banners will keep me away” letter from Miriam Schidfman, Alameda to the editor of “San Francisco Chronicle”, January 20th, 2014 [sfgate.com/opinion/letterstoeditor/article/Letters-to-the-editor-Jan-20-5158062.php]: Banners hung in San Francisco streets with an antiabortion (and incorrect) message (City Insider Jan. 15) lead me to believe that the city officially agrees with the message. These, plus the fact that police were photographing pro-choice protesters on the sidelines (myself included) along the Embarcadero during one of the antiabortion marches, are the reasons I will not be visiting San Francisco so long as those banners are up.   
* “War on Terror Witchhun: Protest FBI Raids on Leftists, Union Activists!", 2010-10-08 from "Worker's Vanguard" [ICL-FI.org/english/wv/966/raids.html]: The June Supreme Court ruling expanded what constitutes “material support” to include the exercise of the rights of speech and association, which are supposedly protected by the First Amendment. The ruling was in response to a case brought by the Humanitarian Law Project and other groups and individuals who wanted to advise the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on how to appeal to the United Nations for peaceful resolution of their struggles. The LTTE and PKK had long been targets of the wars waged by the U.S.-supported Sri Lankan and Turkish governments against the oppressed Tamil and Kurdish national minorities. The Court’s decision essentially criminalized any activity that is considered as giving legitimacy to “terrorists.” This could include anything from donating money to Muslim charities to interviewing a guerrilla fighter for the press. The secular nationalist LTTE and PKK had made it onto the State Department hit list because they fought a desperate struggle against regimes allied with the U.S. In ruling against the Humanitarian Law Project, the Supreme Court declared outright: “Providing foreign terrorist groups with material support in any form also furthers terrorism by straining the United States’ relationships with its allies.” A mere three months later, the Feds launched their attack against leftist activists.

Police State Fascism
* More Police In Schools Leads to More Students Under Arrest [link]
* "Fees, Fines, and Debt: How Governments and Companies are Jailing Poor People to Make a Buck" [link]
* War against Dissent by private clandestine services [link]
Reform addressing human and civil-rights abuses by Clandestine Agencies is a facade [link]

Police State Technology
* Automated License Plate Readers [link]
* Saturation coverage of surveillance drones [link]
* Stingray device [link]
* Organized Stalking and Electronic Harassment: [link]
* Online Slander campaign [link]
* Security agencies routinely infiltrate social media to monitor and direct online discourse, engage in smear campaigns against targeted victims [link]
* Google is an extension of Military and Clandestine agencies [link]
* Indications that Facebook monitors and interferes with dissidents [link]
* "Meet the Data Brokers Who Help Corporations Sell Your Digital Life" [link]
* Pattern of cyber-attacks against "leftist" populist news journals [link]
* US Military study social media trends for use against democracy campaigns [link]
* Facebook.com manipulates targeted user pages to influence long-term moods [link]
* Federally Mandated Internet Snooping [link]

Organized cover-ups of the "Thin Blue Line"
* The case of Vallejo Police Officer Jim Capoot [link]
* A blatant example of the methods for covering up systematic terror by security agencies, read the story behind the campaign for Justice for Aloni, innocent victim of police torture (Los Angeles, 2013-03) [link]. This story is amazing! The California Highway Patrol, District Attorneys, even nurses continue to try to justify the actions of Officer Jose A. Ramirez, B# 17598. This abuse of power is a huge mistake that creates a bigger gap of mistrust between law enforcement and the community. The criminal "injustice" system in place sends a clear message to people who suffer police violence: THE STATE PROTECTS OFFICERS.
* Also see the "Thin Red Line" of the firefighters [link]

Know Your Rights!
* "Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" [link]
* "10 Ways to Outfox Cops That Are Abusing Their Powers to Trick You" article [link]
* "10 Rules for Dealing with Police" video information [link]
* Advice from "Stop Mass Incarceration Network" [link]
* Advice from "Flex Your Rights" [link]
* You Have the Right to Remain Silent: NLG Guide to Law Enforcement Encounters [link]
* The "Right to Remain Silent" [link] is admissible only after you are read your "Miranda Rights" during an arrest, and your silence can be used against you in a court of law.
* National Lawyer's Guild (NLG) National Hotline for activists contacted by the FBI: 888-654-3265 
* Tips for Activists dealing with Police disruption [link]
* The Bay Area Committee to Resist Political Repression (BACRPR) [grandjuryresistance.org]
* "Protect Yourself from FBI Manipulation" (w/ attorney Harvey Silverglate) [link]
* Social Media Security: How to turn off commercial spying on your Facebook account [link]

Start a community watch network!
* Copwatch listings [link]
* Copwatch newswires [link]
* "Police the Police" [www.facebook.com/PoliceThePoliceCP]

"Community Control of the Police!"
* REPLACE the Police, defeat Fascism and it's occupational army!! [link]
* Alternatives to Police [link]
(graphic art by Emory Douglass, of the Black Panther Party, April 4th, 1971)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Davis City Council votes 3 to 1 to return military vehicle"

2014-08-26 from the "Student Unity Movement":
The City Council of the City of Davis tonight voted to return a "MRAP" military vehicle within a 60-day deadline, while leaving open the exact way that the vehicle would be disposed of, pending staff analysis.  The vote was 3 to 1 in favor of returning the vehicle: Dan Wolk, Robb Davis, Lucas Frerichs in favor -- Brett Lee, opposed -- Rochelle Swanson, abstains.
The attainment of the "mine-resistant, ambush-protected" (MRAP) vehicle by the police department, without clearing the specific purchase through the City Council, was heavily criticized by many citizens president. Approximately 38 people make comments about the vehicle, with only 2 of those 38 in favor of retaining the vehicle.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Victor White III, lynched by Louisiana State Police dept., successful cover-up

"Handcuffed Black Youth Shot Himself to Death, Says Coroner"
2014-08-25 by Hannah Rappleye [http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/handcuffed-black-youth-shot-himself-death-says-coroner-n185016]:
Victor White's Parents

A recent photograph of Victor White III. White died in March at age 22 after suffering a gunshot wound while handcuffed in a police cruiser. The coroner of Iberia Parish has ruled his death a suicide.

In Alexandria, Louisiana, Vanessa White (left), mother of Victor White III, eats dinner with her daughters Precious (13, left) and Victoria White (20, right), and her husband, Rev. Victor White II.

A coroner’s report obtained exclusively by NBC News directly contradicts the police version of how a 22-year-old black man died in the back seat of a Louisiana police cruiser earlier this year -- but still says the man, whose hands were cuffed behind his back, shot himself.
In a press release issued March 3, the day he died, the Louisiana State Police said Victor White III apparently shot himself in an Iberia Parish police car. According to the police statement, White had his hands cuffed behind his back when he shot himself in the back.
But according to the full final report of the Iberia Parish coroner, which was released nearly six months later and obtained exclusively by NBC News, White was shot in the front, not the back. The bullet entered his right chest and exited under his left armpit. White was left-handed, according to family members. According to the report, the forensic pathologist found gunshot residue in the wound, but not the sort of stippling that a close-range shot can sometimes produce. He also found abrasions on White’s face.
And yet, despite the contradictions – and even though White’s hands were never tested for gunpowder residue – the Iberia Parish coroner still supported the central contention of the initial police statement issued back in March. Dr. Carl Ditch ruled that White shot himself, and declared his death a suicide.
In a press release issued Monday, Dr. Ditch said that based on the findings of the pathologist and investigators, it was possible for White “due to his body habitus” to manipulate the gun to shoot himself in the chest.
White’s father doesn’t believe it. He doesn’t believe that a man with a new baby, a girlfriend and a job had the motive for suicide, and he doesn’t think any version of events in which White shot himself, whether in the front or back, is physically possible.
“You can’t make me understand,” said Rev. Victor White II, 53, a Baptist minister and former substance abuse counselor. “You can’t make me understand how my son took his left hand, when he was handcuffed behind the back, and shot himself. I don’t believe a thing they’re saying at this point.”
In Alexandria, Louisiana, Vanessa White (left), mother of Victor White III, eats dinner with her daughters Precious (13, left) and Victoria White (20, right), and her husband, Rev. Victor White II.
Facebook posts reveal two different sides of Victor White III; some photos show a young man acting tough, and another catches him reading the Bible with his brother.

Those who knew him describe him as a goofball, eager to make friends and family laugh. For a time he had struggled to get himself on track, they say, and there were arrests for property damage and marijuana possession, but six months before he died he seemed to be accepting adult responsibility.

After months without work, he got a job at a Waffle House in New Iberia, a sugar cane town of 30,000 more than two hours west of New Orleans. He had begun saving for an apartment with his long-time girlfriend and their infant daughter. Family members say he was trying to decide whether to go to community college or apply for a more lucrative job working on one of the oil rigs that dot the Gulf of Mexico. He’d even started commuting to Alexandria, Louisiana now and then to attend Sunday services at Harmony Missionary Baptist Church, where his father is the preacher.
"He was ready to start,” said his father, Rev. White. “He’d call and text the family every night. ‘I love you, y’all would have been proud of me, I’m working another double [shift].’ ”
On March 2, the younger White was blowing off steam on the one night a week he had off from Waffle House.
Ashley Boutte, 24, said she picked White and his brother Leonard up around 6 p.m. outside a convenience store. They went back to Boutte’s father’s house to hang out.
“[Victor White] was very social,” Boutte said. “Very happy. He didn't seem like he was mad or sad or anything. He was in a real good mood.”
While at Boutte’s father’s house, they ran into Isaiah Lewis, 24, who was visiting his own father next door. Lewis and White, who had never met before, hit it off. They talked for a few hours, about problems Whitewas having with his girlfriend, about work and life. "We just clicked,” Lewis said.
Boutte and Lewis both say they don’t know whether Victor White had a gun.
Boutte said that when White and his brother were rough-housing in the kitchen, she overheard White say, “Oh yeah, I got mine on me,” in reference to a handgun.
Said Boutte, “Leonard was like, ‘Pull it out,” and it was like, ‘No.’ They were playfighting. I know a lot of guys joke around about having [a gun], so I don’t know, as far as if it was true or not.”
Lewis also said he never saw a gun. Leonard White did not agree to be interviewed for this article.
Lewis and Victor White talked and drank for a while, and White asked Lewis if he would help him buy a small amount of marijuana. After they purchased $10 worth at around 11 p.m., Lewis said, the pair walked to the Hop-In, a gas station a few blocks away, to buy cigars.
According to Lewis and the manager of the Hop-In, while Lewis and White were inside the store, a fight started outside.
Two men in front of the store began shouting. One told the other he was going to get a gun. White told Lewis they should stay inside. A woman called 911. After the men ran down the street, Lewis and White left.
Around 11:30 p.m. White and Lewis were walking a few blocks down the road when a police cruiser slowed, Lewis said. According to a service report provided to NBC News by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Corp. Justin Ortis asked the men to stop.
Ortis performed a “consented pat-down” of White, according to the report, and “located suspected marijuana in front pants pocket.”
They told the officer, Lewis said, that they could identify the men who were fighting. He said they offered to go to the convenience store with them, to talk to the clerk. “I said, ‘You can still probably catch them,” Lewis said. “You’re just burning time here. Victor said, ‘Why can’t you go back to the store and look at the camera?’ They said they didn’t have time for that.”
According to a public information officer for the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, no one was ever apprehended for that alleged offense.
Lewis said that after finding the marijuana, the officer told them, “I’m going to let y’all go, that’s nothing.”
But after the officer ran the men’s names through a police database, he called for backup. As they waited, White and Lewis sat on the ground in front of the police cruiser, headlights cutting into the dark.
By the time a second officer in a separate cruiser arrived, Lewis said, White had been handcuffed behind his back, and placed in the back of the first car. The police report says White was detained and read his rights.
According to the report, a second search of White produced the cigars and a small amount of cocaine, and White said both the cocaine and marijuana were his. “White was then transported to the patrol center to be questioned by narcotics detectives,” the report concludes.
The officers dismissed Lewis, and he walked back to his father’s house.
But by 5 a.m., Lewis said, detectives were knocking on his door, asking that he come to the station to answer questions about his friend. At no point throughout the course of the subsequent interview, Lewis said, did they tell him that White had died while in the custody of police officers.
"I try playing it out in my head,” Lewis said. "If we had different timing … I don’t know what went wrong exactly that night.”
Early on the morning of March 3, Rev. White and his wife Vanessa, 44, raced down Interstate 49 in their powder blue van, toward Iberia Parish, two hours south of their home in Alexandria. They’d received two disturbing and cryptic phone calls – one from their son, Leonard, and another from the Louisiana State Police. Both said they needed to get to New Iberia because “something had happened” to their son Victor.

"I tried not to think the worst of it,” Vanessa said. “I was never imagining that he had gotten shot.”

When they arrived in New Iberia, Rev. White said, a state investigator told him over the phone that his son was dead and that she was investigating the circumstances. Officials said the family would not be allowed to see the body. Rev. White rushed to the parish jail on Broken Arrow Road to find someone who could tell him what happened. After panicked phone calls to the local coroner and the doctor who pronounced his son dead, Rev. White was finally led into the parish morgue, where thebody lay waiting on the coroner's slab.
Rev. White said that his son’s face seemed swollen, but he could not tell if it was the swell of death, or if his son had been hit. He noted a laceration on the left side of his face. He was not allowed to view the body below the chin.
“I saw distress in his face,” he said. “I saw death.”
As police investigators stood on either side of him, Rev. White performed the last rites over his son’s body, then left the room to tell his wife what he saw.
The Whites did not know anything about the circumstances of their son’s death until after their visit to the morgue, when a family friend in New Iberia called to tell them the State Police had issued a press release on Facebook.
The press release stated that, “[Victor White III] was taken into custody, handcuffed behind his back, and transported to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office for processing. Once at the Sheriff’s Office, White became uncooperative and refused to exit the deputy’s patrol vehicle. As the deputy requested assistance from other deputies, White produced a handgun and fired one round striking himself in the back.”
Within hours of White’s death, the Louisiana State Police had assigned investigators to the case.
Due to the pending investigation, records normally considered public are not available. The State Police will not yet release dash cam footage, or the number of or names of any officers present during White’s death. They will not give any timeframe as to when they expect the investigation to conclude.
“You always want to make sure in the end you did whatever you could do possible, that in whatever case you put forward, is the right case, and the outcome is the right outcome,” said Trooper Brooks David, public information officer for the Louisiana State Police. “So if it takes us eight months, or two months, you always want to make sure that you do the right thing.”
The State Police did issue a cursory preliminary incident report stating that White had been shot with a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun, but that no weapon had been found when White was searched prior to the shooting. According to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, parish police are issued .45 caliber handguns.
The Sheriff’s Office also said via email that White had not been involved in a physical altercation with officers.
The coroner’s report notes that White had two lacerations on the left side of his face – one above his left eyebrow, and one on his left cheek. Lewis said that the last time he saw White – meaning after the police stop, when he was about to walk home and White was in custody – White’s face was unmarked. The original police statement in March said White had been “uncooperative” before the incident, but the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office told NBC News that White had not been involved in any physical altercation with police.
According to the coroner's report, White had a blood alcohol content of .132 percent, which would have made him legally drunk if he were driving, and he also tested positive for marijuana. He tested negative for cocaine and any other narcotics.
The coroner’s report states that according to police, White had intimated he was going to commit suicide before he shot himself.
“The decedent was a 22-year-old black man who was reportedly in a locked patrol car with his hands handcuffed behind him when officers heard a shot and found the decedent slumped over,” the coroner’s report reads. “A small caliber pistol was found and a projectile was found within the shirt. Allegedly he had made a statement that ‘he was gone’ or some similar phrasing before being placed in the patrol car.” The coroner’s report does not say whether White’s wound is consistent with that caliber.
The report does not explain why the initial police statement said White shot himself in the back. Officials declined to comment on why no weapon was discovered during the two recorded searches of White.
The Sheriff’s Office and the State Police both declined requests from NBC News to discuss the forensics of the case. The Sheriff’s Office did say that no civilian complaints have ever been filed against Corp. Ortis, the officer who first stopped White and Lewis. Ortis did not respond to requests for comment, and a second Iberia Parish officer who was on duty that night declined to speak to NBC News.
In the press release issued this morning, Iberia Parish Coroner Dr. Carl M. Ditch, said that he ruled on the White case "without bias."
"Although the decedent was handcuffed at the time with his hands to his back, due to his body habitus, the pathologist and investigators agree that he would have been able to manipulate the weapon to the point where the contact entrance wound was found," Ditch wrote.
The White family says that although they are anxiously awaiting the final results of the Louisiana State Police’s investigation, they have little faith investigators will contradict the coroner’s ruling. “I don’t’ think anything is going to be different from what they already said,” said Rev. White, who has retained a lawyer but hasn’t yet decided whether to file a lawsuit. “It’s difficult to see that anything else would bring us back what we need. The only thing we want back is our son.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Bee wins legal battle for names of UC Davis officers in pepper spray incident"

2014-08-21 by Sam Stanton from "Sacramento Bee" [http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/21/6645851/bee-wins-legal-battle-for-names.html]:
After more than two years of legal battles, The Sacramento Bee has prevailed in a court fight to force the release of the names of police officers involved in the November 2011 pepper spray incident on the University of California, Davis, campus.
The Bee and the Los Angeles Times sued in May 2012 to have the names released, and the case came to a close late Wednesday, when the California Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the police officers’ union seeking to stop release of the names.
UC officials released the officers’ names late Thursday after giving the Federated University Police Officers Association time to notify the officers.
The issue stems from the fallout of the pepper-spraying of students during a peaceful protest on campus that raised international outrage. To deal with the outcry, UC officials asked for a full, independent report on the incident to be compiled by a task force headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.
The 190-page Reynoso report was released in April 2012, but with the names of most officers redacted after the union went to court arguing that their identities should remain shielded from public view.
“We attempted to publish the full, unredacted report in March 2012, and the campus police officers’ union brought a lawsuit to keep us from doing so,” UC spokesman Steve Montiel said in a statement. “We have complied with the courts’ judgments and orders.
“Now that the state Supreme Court has dismissed the union’s final appeal, we are prepared to release the unredacted report. The union asked for the opportunity to make a good-faith effort to notify the affected officers today before doing so, and we have complied with that request.”
The release of the unredacted report, available at www.sacbee.com, names at least 17 officers who were involved in the incident along with then-Lt. John Pike, whose image went viral when he was videotaped pepper-spraying students seated on the ground. Some of the other officer names have been revealed in the past, but Thursday’s release marks the first time that many of the names have been made public.
Officer Alex Lee is named in the report as the second officer who deployed pepper spray at Pike’s direction. Pike was subsequently fired, despite a recommendation that he face discipline but be kept on the job. Lee is no longer listed in a state salary database as working at UC Davis.
Other officers are named in passages simply describing their duties or actions that day, or in some cases describing the challenges they felt.
“What we were going to do was to remove the tents from the Quad,” Sgt. Paul Henoch is quoted as saying in an interview.
But the Reynoso report does not include the names of all the officers who were present Nov. 18, 2011, according to separate, confidential documents obtained by The Bee.
Those documents, part of the internal affairs investigation that led to Pike’s firing, indicate 28 officers were interviewed about events that day and include dramatic interviews with 21 of them as they describe the fear they felt at times from the crowd.
“I was thinking, ‘Man, we don’t have enough officers for this,’ ” Officer Kevin Skaife says in the confidential documents. “At the point when we’re encircled, I’m thinking, ‘This is horrible, this is really bad …’ ”
“I was actually frightened,” Officer Ruben Arias told investigators, according to the 76-page confidential report. “I was actually frightened in the sense of I didn’t know what the crowd was doing, what they’re capable of, and it wasn’t the peaceful crowd that everyone thought it was. They were really agitated.”
Many of the officer comments reflect a feeling that they believed the protesters posed a threat to them. The officers had gone to the university quad that afternoon after Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi ordered police to remove tents that had been set up as part of a protest against tuition hikes and by supporters of the Occupy movement that was then sweeping the nation.
Katehi has said she wanted the police to remove the tents peacefully and was shocked at the use of pepper spray, but came in for fierce criticism in the wake of the incident, which led to the resignation of Police Chief Annette Spicuzza.
The incident cost the university millions of dollars in investigative and legal fees, including $1 million paid out as part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by 21 students hit with pepper spray.
Although the student names have been public since shortly after the incident, Thursday marked the first official release of officers’ names in Reynoso’s investigation.
Other officers named in both the Reynoso report and the confidential documents obtained by The Bee are: Lt. Barry Swartwood, Officers Jason Barrera, Bill Beermann, Justin Brewer, Raymond Sutera, Danny Sheffield, Joanne Zekany, Moaz Ahmad, Brian Halley, Vincent Kwong, Mikkio McCullough and Robert Sotelo. Another officer is named in the Reynoso report only by last name and is listed as having “no comments” for investigators; an officer with that same surname is listed in the confidential documents.
UC spokesmen could not explain why all of the officers named in the confidential documents were not included in the Reynoso report. However, that report was designed to provide a narrative of the events of the incident and may not have named everyone interviewed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LA County Sheriff's Deputy implicated in Child porn trafficking

An example of when an officer realizes the power of being above the law.

"Former L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Arrested in Child Porn Bust"
2014-08-20 by Gina Silva for "FOX-LA"
At six in the morning they knocked on the door and loudly announced, "We have a search warrant! LAPD, come on out!" There was no response. Again, officers from LAPD's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force announced loud enough for everyone in the Whittier neighborhood to hear, "Apt. 105, come on out!" Still nothing. One last time, an officer yelled, "Lorne Reed, come on outside!" When there was no movement, officers busted the door open. A shocked Lorne Anthony Reed was taken outside in his underwear.
Officers say he's been under investigation for child pornography. Officer Carlos Monterroso said of the investigation, "We have tools as law enforcement to identify targets or persons who are downloading or trading child pornography on the internet and we've identified this particular location as a place where child porn was being downloaded. What exactly does that consist of? Investigator Shanon Gaeney explained, "It's very disturbing. People often think of child pornography as pictures of young girls on beaches in bikinis. This is not it. It is the photographic and video evidence of child rape." Detectives interviewed Reed, who is a former L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy. They went through the entire apartment and they say they found what they were looking for. "We found numerous images of child sexual exploitation," said officer Maurice Kwon. The images were heartbreaking. Men sexually abusing girls as young as five. Reed was taken into custody, his two young children placed with the Department of Children and Family Services. He's facing charges of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

Sonoma Co. Sheriff's Deputy caught publicly torturing an alleged drunk near Guerneville

Sonoma County Sheriff's Department [link]

"Video of arrest near Guerneville spreads through social media"
2014-08-20 by Julie Johnson for the "Press-Democrat" daily newspaper [http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/2557372-181/video-of-arrest-near-guerneville]:
(An image still from the video.)

A video clip of a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy punching and trying to restrain a Cotati man who was on the ground near Guerneville has spread through social media at a time when high-profile shootings have launched a national conversation about law enforcement use-of-force.
The 21-second clip, which was taken Saturday and posted on the Santa Rosa Copwatch Facebook page, depicts a moment when two deputies are on the ground trying to restrain Jonathan Carrozzo, 31, who eventually was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of public drunkenness and resisting arrest.
The video was taken by a passing motorist who said he was disturbed by what he saw during the encounter.
The Sheriff’s Office released its account of the incident on Wednesday in response to media requests. Sgt. Cecile Focha, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the two punches shown on the video were “distraction jabs” used to get people to “stop what they’re doing.”
Several attempts to reach Carrozzo by phone and email were unsuccessful.
Focha said the deputies had been trying to help the intoxicated man get a ride home when Carrozzo became agitated and “squared off” at them, leading them to restrain him. Carrozzo later spoke to three Sheriff’s Office sergeants and each time apologized for his conduct and declined to file a complaint against the deputies, according to Focha.
The man who took the video said he was driving home on eastbound River Road when he saw “someone swinging, arm up and down, punching somebody.”
The man, a local business owner, said he didn’t want to be identified publicly because he didn’t want his involvement in the matter to affect his business. He pulled over and started taking video on his phone when he realized two deputies were striking a man on the ground.
“It was pretty brutal if you ask me,” the man said. “He was crying and saying ‘I’m sorry.’”
After posting the video to his private Facebook page, he gave it to local attorney Dave Jake Schwartz, who posted the video to the Santa Rosa Copwatch page on Facebook on Sunday afternoon. The Copwatch page, which has been a hub of communication by people concerned about the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff’s deputy, is a forum about police accountability.
The video went viral.
The businessman said the Sheriff’s Office reached out to him and that he gave a copy of the video to a detective and was told he would be interviewed by someone with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.
Focha said the video did not depict the entirety of the encounter, which began at 6:13 p.m. Saturday when a 911 caller reported that a man was lying in the roadway. The caller said the man appeared to be “out cold” and could get run over, said Focha.
The man was lying down on the side of the road behind a parked car when the Russian River Fire Department and deputies arrived. Paramedics examined the man and determined that he did not require medical attention, Focha said.
Focha said the encounter was initially amicable. Carrozzo loaned the deputies his phone to ask a friend staying at a nearby campsite to come get Carrozzo, who had been at a beer festival at Stumptown Brewery, she said.
While they waited, Focha said, Carrozzo became agitated and began making statements about police actions in Ferguson, Mo., where an officer shot an unarmed black teenager.
“He asked if they drove tanks. He said, ‘Let’s go.’ He had plenty to drink,” Focha said.
On the video, the deputies shout “Stop resisting,” “Give me your hands” and “Show me your hands.” One deputy is down a slope in a thicket and appears to be restraining the man’s head. A second deputy is astride Carrozzo’s lower legs and strikes the man’s upper thigh and his face. That deputy then kicks out a foot in what appears to be a strike to Carrozzo’s face.
The deputies didn’t plan to arrest Carrozzo until the man became agitated and stopped cooperating, according to Focha.
Focha said the Sheriff’s Office is reviewing the incident to determine if the deputies followed policy.
Sonoma County DUI lawyer Dave Jake Schwartz said he posted the video to the Copwatch page because he wanted “to show people what happens on the street and to contribute to the dialogue about police accountability, that’s all I’m trying to do.”
“I know people are going to draw their own conclusions,” Schwartz said. “To me, the video speaks for itself and it looks excessive.”

Vallejo PD acquires heavy assault vehicle from USA Dept. of Defense

Vallejo Police Department [link]

"Vallejo Police Department acquires armored military truck for search, rescue operations, Department hopes to use 14-ton Caiman sparingly" 
2014-08-20 by Tony Burchyns for "Vallejo Times-Herald" daily newspaper [http://www.time
Lt. John Whitney talks about the Vallejo Police Department's new armored rescue vehicle, acquired through a Department of Defense program that supplies local law enforcement agencies with military gear. The vehicle will be on public display at the department's open house on Sept. 6. (Photo: CHRIS RILEY—VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD)

As the nation debates the phenomenon of increasingly militarized local police forces, the Vallejo Police Department has quietly acquired a menacing, mine-resistant armored vehicle from the Department of Defense.
Weighing a hefty 14 tons, the six-wheel-drive Caiman troop transport vehicle came to the city in May through a federal program that supplies local law enforcement agencies with surplus military gear. The department plans to unveil it to the public at its open house next month.
"This is one of those things where we hope we never have to use it," Lt. John Whitney said. "But it's good to have around. And if we need to use it once a year, then it's worth it just for that."
At a time when many are criticizing the use of military tactics by police in Ferguson, Mo., to control rioters after an officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager, Whitney stressed the new vehicle would be used appropriately, and sparingly. He added the department has no plans to use it for crowd control purposes.
"It's not an armored assault vehicle," said Whitney, adding that it won't be used to patrol the streets. "It's flat out for going into areas where we need to protect people and rescue people ... If the public sees this, more than likely they're going to know from somewhere in the news why it was out. We're just not going to go roll this thing around."
He added, "If you see a major SWAT incident, you may see it there. But more than likely you won't. This is for maybe a once or twice a year deployment, and we hope it doesn't even have to be that."
Depending on their configuration, the vehicles can cost the military between $416,000 and $775,000. But the cost to the city was just $14,000 for shipping, paint and details, according to the police department.
"We were offered it through the (Department of Defense) program," Whitney said. "It didn't cost the city a penny. The only thing we had to pay for was to get it painted."
It's not the first time the Vallejo has gotten extra military gear on the cheap. The city has previously received a Hummer, rifles and even refrigerators from the Department of Defense.
The vehicle will be used mainly for search and rescue operations, Whitney said. It will also provide an alternative to the department's aging Peacekeeper armored vehicle, which has regularly broken down after being deployed.
Due to its design, the rescue vehicle can be driven in flooded areas and over any terrain in Vallejo. It can also be used in tactical emergencies, such as a school shooting.
"If there's an active shooter, we can pull this right into a campus and load people in," Whitney said. "It can also go up steep hills and it's got a lot of power so it won't get bogged down."
"Like I said," he added, "It's better to have it ... just in case."
The rescue vehicle will be on display at the Vallejo Police Department Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 6, 111 Amador St.