Thursday, February 17, 2011

2011-02-17 "Head of drug task force arrested on drug charges"
MARTINEZ -- The commander of a Contra Costa County drug task force and the head of a high-profile, Concord-based private investigative firm were arrested Wednesday on allegations they conspired to sell drugs, authorities said.
The revelation and potential blow to the credibility of any investigations involving the two are still being gauged.
Norman Wielsch, commander of the state Department of Justice's Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET, and Chris Butler, who runs the investigative firm Butler and Associates, were arrested together in Benicia by federal agents Wednesday morning after an investigation that began in January, said DOJ special agent Michelle Gregory, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.
Both men were booked into County Jail in Martinez on as many as 25 suspected felony offenses, including possessing, transporting and selling marijuana, methamphetamine and steroids, and embezzlement, second-degree burglary and conspiracy.
Wielsch, a 49-year-old Antioch resident, is being held on $660,000 bail. Butler, 49, of Concord, is being held on $840,000 bail. They are both former veteran Antioch police officers who worked from the late 1990s to when they entered their respective positions.
Both men declined jail interview requests Wednesday. Media inquiries on Butler's website were referred to a Beverly Hills public relations agency, which said it no longer represented him.
Wielsch has been with the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement for 12 years. To Gregory's knowledge, this is the first time a DOJ narcotics agent has been arrested under these circumstances.
"It's not reflective of our agency or our agents," she said.
There was no immediate word on who would replace Wielsch as head of the county task force, Gregory said.
As CNET commander, one of dozens of task forces run by the DOJ and staffed by officers from local police departments, Wielsch oversaw hundreds, if not thousands, of drug investigations in Contra Costa County.
Wielsch's arrest could have ramifications on criminal cases litigated in Contra Costa, said Concord private attorney Dirk Manoukian, a former deputy district attorney who has both prosecuted and defended individuals in CNET cases.
As the drug task force supervisor, Wielsch would traditionally have a limited role in investigations. As city budgets have dwindled, however, police agencies in the county have assigned fewer officers to the unit, which could have necessitated a more active role by Wielsch, Manoukian said.
"Your main concern from the standpoint of a prosecutor or a defense attorney is how centrally involved was he in the fact-gathering aspect in the case," Manoukian said. "With any fact that you can't corroborate through something else, or you can't prove through something else, you are going to have a credibility problem.
"Even though, right now, there are just pending charges, there are going to be police reports that allege serious felony conduct," Manoukian said. "If he's named as a witness (in another criminal case), a defense attorney will get those reports and (present them as evidence). They don't need a felony conviction."
Butler has made a name for himself as the head of his self-named private investigative firm, which he opened in 2002. Last year, his firm was adorned with national media attention for employing mothers as private investigators, touting their strengths in intuition and persuasion. The aptly called "PI Moms" are the subject of an upcoming reality television show, according to their website.
DOJ agents began investigating Wielsch and Butler in January after receiving a tip about potential drug sales, Gregory said. On Wednesday, agents were executing search warrants around Contra Costa County related to the case.
The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office will likely review and assess any charges brought against Wielsch and Butler, Gregory said.
No one reached at the District Attorney's Office on Wednesday would comment.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011-02-13 "No Justice in Killing of Kerry Baxter Junior" by Anita Wills (ntawls [at]
On January 16, 2010, Kerry Baxter Junior, a nineteen year old African American male, was killed. He died in front of Saint Anthony Church in East Oakland after being shot through the heart. This is not the first killing in the area, which is near San Antonio Park. The Oakland Police Department seem uninterested in finding the perpetrators of this crime...,
My world changed forever, on January 16, 2011, when I was informed that my oldest grandson was killed. It was all over the news, about a young man being killed in front of a Church in Oakland California. It was not until his mother called me around 3:30 am, that I learned he was the one killed at the church. The next few days are a blur as we gathered together, and planned for his funeral. It is not until now that I am focusing on who killed him and why. Kerry Junior was 19 years old, handsome and a wonderful human being. As I looked back on his nineteen years it hit me, how fast the time had passed. Kerry was about six months old when he walked, and had an incredible memory for detail. He and I were inseparable until he became a teenager. Although I did not see him as often we spoke quite often and I always told him I loved him. I also warned him about being so good matured and trusting of others. He was embarking on a career in rap music and his lyrics were not portraying the person I knew.
That night Kerry was supposed to go to Union City with his friend John. According to John, a friend of Kerry's, his girlfriend pressured him to go to San Antonio Park with her and another young lady. Kerry was living with his mother and left the house accompanied by the two females. They were there and witnessed him being chased and killed, yet they were not harmed. The police have questioned them over and over again, and they are still free. I do not understand why the Oakland Police do not at least, have these females in Protective custody, as they witnessed my grandson being killed.
Sargent Philips, who is supposed to be over the investigation does not answer my calls. When ever we call there is a duty officer who is not interested in new information, and does not give out information. He told me that when they make an arrest only the mother will be contacted. I am the paternal grandmother and believe that I should know when an arrest is made, and where the investigation is going. There is no description of the two assislants (who Kerry's girlfriend described as African American), nor a theory of why Kerry was killed. The Police have not questioned my grandsons friend who saw him that night. His friend was upset that the so-called girlfriend was so insistent on my grandson going to San Antonio Park. Kerry did not know the danger that awaited and had no weapon on him. He was simply going to San Antonio with his girlfriend, who we found out was a runaway, living on the streets. He was in an area he should not have been in with nothing to protect him, and with two unsavory females.
We spoke to the Pastor of St. Anthony Church where Kerry died, and he told us how he was chased by the two gunmen from San Antonio Park. Although my grandsons girlfriend said that she held him while he died, Father Ruiz did not mention her, only my grandson. They chased him down and shot him through the heart, but did not shoot at or harm the two females. Father Ruiz also said that there were similar killings in and around the church and the Park. That means that the the men who killed my grandson may have done it before and more than likely will do it again. In the area where Kerry Junior was killed, there are schools, a Park and several churches. Kerry and his friends often went to San Antonio Park to play Basketball. Did the killers of my Grandson know him?
How difficult is it for the Police to find these types of individuals? They are like animals who have a territory where they hang out. Their behavior would single them out from the average person, and someone knows who they are. If anyone has information on who murdered Kerry Baxter Junior, please call (510) 238-6446. There is also an anonymous tip line, Bay Area Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS or 1-800-222-8477.

2011-01-18 "Teenager shot to death outside Oakland church" by Henry K. Lee from "San Francisco Chronicle"
A 19-year-old man was shot and killed outside a church in Oakland, police said Monday.
Kerry Baxter Jr. of Oakland was shot outside St. Anthony's Church near the corner of East 15th Street and 16th Avenue, in the city's San Antonio neighborhood, about 10:10 p.m. Sunday, police said.
Baxter's grandmother, Anita Wills, 64, of San Leandro, said her grandson had been with his girlfriend when he was shot during an apparent robbery. The girlfriend wasn't hurt, Wills said.
Baxter graduated in 2008 from Boys Republic High School in Chino Hills (San Bernardino County), she said.
"We are devastated by the loss of Kerry, who held so much promise," Wills said. "I will miss my grandson's smile and sense of humor most of all."
Baxter was pronounced dead at the scene, said Officer Holly Joshi, a police spokeswoman. No arrests have been made.

Kerry Baxter Jr. was shot outside a church on Sunday night.
Credit: Courtesy of Anita Wills

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011-02-09 "Families of Oakland Police Victims Plea for Support; DA Refuses Prosecution" by Jesse Strauss
Two months after Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts announced an FBI investigation into the November police killing of Derrick Jones, the Alameda County District Attorney told Jones’ family that she had decided against prosecuting the officers who shot Jones eight times as he was running away, unarmed. According to Jones’ family at Tuesday’s Oakland City Council meeting, the DA has not received any reports from the police department’s Internal Affairs office or the FBI.
Bruce Nash, one of Jones’ family members explained that as of Tuesday, “We have no clue in terms of what’s happened with the FBI report,” and added that it seems like “this is a murder that’s been swept under the carpet.” Moreover, he was “very disappointed in what was stated today by Ms. O’Malley,” and asked for support from the City Council by finding all Internal Affairs and FBI reports in order to be informed about how to proceed as a grieving and upset family.
While council members spoke in support of accessing these reports, none were aware whether any had actually been completed. Councilmember Nancy Nadel cited the California Police Bill of Rights, which limits criminal liability of officers, in explaining why the family hasn’t gotten any reports, and called the Police Bill of Rights “part of the problem.”
Jones’ mother supported Nash’s request to the City Council. “I’m stressing for you guys to help. Something needs to happen with these police officers. They’re killing machines.”
Also present at the meeting were both parents of Raheim Brown, the 20 year old man shot five times including twice in the head by Oakland School Police on January 22nd. Brown’s mother, Lori Davis, explained that Sergeant Jonathan Bellusa, the officer who initiated the gunfire that killed her son, had previously been charged at least twice for excessive use of force including another case that resulted in another man’s death. Davis brought a plea similar to the one from the Jones family to the City Council. “I need your help making sure this officer gets investigated.”
Closing out the meeting, Jack Bryson, the father of two of Oscar Grant’s friends who were with Grant when he was killed, said, “What I’m seeing now is there’s a genocide on Black and Brown men.” As Grant’s case is over two years old, and by far the oldest of the three, Bryson has tried time and again to find support, but as he articulated on Tuesday, “All three families are grieving and no one is stepping up to do nothing.”
In support of these families, a slew of local and national organizations are planning “A People’s Hearing on Racism and Police Violence,” which will give space for victims and their family members to offer public testimony about their experiences. More information on the ‘People’s Hearing’ can be found at []
2011-02-09 "Protest the murder of Raheim Brown"
4:30 pm in front of OUPD building at 1025-2nd Avenue.
The Brown family will be there and asks the community to come out, speak out and stand with them against the terror of the police murder of their son and brother. Raheim was a young black man who was murdered on January 22nd in Oakland by a police officer on the Oakland Unified School District police force.
(text of flyer produced by "Oscar Grant Committee, To Stop Police Brutality and State Repression")

On Saturday January 22nd, 2011, 20-year-old Raheim Brown, a San Francisco resident, and his date, a 20 year-old woman, were parked on Joaquin Miller Road in Oakland enjoying conversation. Shortly after 9pm, Sergeants Barhim Bhatt and Jonathan Bellusa, school district police officers, approached the two youth. That is when another unnecessary and outrageous tragedy occurred in our community!
According to Oakland Schools Police Chief, Pete Sarna, the pair of Oakland Schools’ Police officers was patrolling the area outside of a Skyline High School dance at a park facility. The tragedy occurred as Brown was sitting in the passenger seat of a Honda Accord. As the officers approached Brown and his date, police statements and media claim that Brown tried to “stab an officer with a screwdriver,” resulting in Officer Jonathan Bellusa shooting Brown five times “once in each arm, once in his chest, and twice in his head.” The driver, Brown’s date, an eye-witness, asserted that the police fabricated the story, as racial slurs and bullets rang out in the night.
At the time of the incident, the two youth were not engaged in any harmful behavior to anyone, nor was Brown posing a threat to anyone.
Who was Raheim Brown? According to friends and family, Brown worked part-time as car-detailer, had recently applied to music school, and was a great older brother to his four younger siblings. Brown’s parents describe him as intelligent, loving, and very giving and generous, with a great sense of humor.
The Oscar Grant Committee and Brown’s Family join together in demanding that both officers be fired immediately and that they be brought up on charges of 1st degree murder.
The Brown Family asserted that “the real danger lies in these officers who in all probability will kill again and bring untold trauma to another hard-working family!”
Raheim Brown Senior added that the entire community should ask itself “do you want a known killer to be protecting your children?”
Please join the Oscar Grant Committee and the Brown Family in demanding Justice for their son and the entire community!
For more info: contact (510) 225-9212 or email

CHP and Eureka police torture, terrorize, attempt to kill senior citizens advocating for preservation of Redwoods

The video link and description of the attacks on senior citizens are located in the final paragraphs.

"200+ Protest Road Widening Through Richardson Grove at CalTrans, 12 arrested" 
2011-02-09 by Dee from "Richardson Grove Action Now" []:

Over 200 gathered Monday at Eureka's CalTrans office to oppose the federally-funded road-widening plan through Richardson Grove State Park. The protest, organized by Richardson Grove Action Now, was lively and precedes an action camp beginning February 12th. At the mass rally on Monday, police used nunchakus on a demonstrator restrained by lockboxes on both arms and officers used stun guns on 3 individuals outside the building. 12 people were arrested and released that night and the next day.
Richardson Grove Action Now is opposed to the California Department of Transportation CalTrans project to expand Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park because the effects of big box corporations, be they Wal-Marts, private prisons, or military installations, destroy local economies and communities in their tracks. We know they will take away more jobs than they create and have other adverse affects on our lives. People come from all over the world to worship the ancient trees of Humboldt, which live longer and sequester more carbon than any other species on Earth. CalTrans is downplaying the environmental, social, economic, and spiritual impacts this federally-funded highway expansion project would bring to Humboldt County.
On Monday folks from all walks of life, from tribal elders to street musicians to students to lawyers, local business owners and bicyclists gathered outside the CalTrans District One Headquarters in Eureka, California. The peoples' demand was to cancel the plan to widen highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park. As the rally grouped up for a photo, 6 individuals entered the office and locked down to each other and to the middle staircase railing using metal sleeves.
4 main points:
-The ancient trees of Richardson Grove are invaluable and will never come back in our lifetime. They sequester carbon, create oxygen, and increase the quality of life for folks near and far.
-Widening the road will bring big box stores to compete with local businesses.
-This plan is part of a larger strategy to open up Humboldt County to larger trucks, to open up the region, both land and water, including Humboldt Bay and the Pacific coast, to increased militarization, and allow for greater access from the East and up and down the coast for military and corporate intrusion.
On Monday, there was a feeling of great exuberance in the crowd that gathered in the office. Prayers were offered, an arborist spoke about the conflicts and lack of scientific basis for CalTrans' Environmental Impact Report, poetry was read, and mandolin, guitar and horn toodled in a lively occupation of the CalTrans office front room. People sang songs and chanted, “One Demand: Cancel the Plan!” Spirits were high as 200+ people throughout the protest shared food, water, encouragement, and chocolate. Body workers offered massage to the folks who were locked down. At one point, the district manager emerged from the recesses of the building and attempted to steal the megaphone but was rebuffed by spirited chants of, “Get off our doorstep and we'll get off yours!”
Lockdowners created a strong rallying epicenter for about 5 hours. People stayed energized and focused on their demand for CalTrans to cancel the Richardson Grove project, inspired by the direct action and eventually observing and protesting outside the building until the last arrestees were taken to jail.
We can usually expect a certain lack of sophistication and a bias favoring the State in the coverage by mainstream media outlets, and the press from Monday's demonstration was no exception. The Eureka Times Standard reported “violence” by the protesters at the rally, parroting police sources. In reality, the protest was overwhelmingly peaceful. The police aggressively advanced on the crowd and applied nunchukas to the calf and ankle of a protester restrained by lock boxes on either arm. (See video:, seconds 6:35, 7:52, 8:08, 8:29, 8:59).
Eureka Police and California Highway Patrol officers pushed people down stairs, shoved them out of the building with batons and stun guns, and pasted up tarps over the windows to obstruct the public's view of what the officers were doing to the lock-downers. An elderly woman who refused to leave was dragged away. An elder demonstrator was shoved by the officers down the stairs into the bodies of those below. The officers used stun guns and unholstered batons to intimidate people in the protest and sent electric shocks through at least three people who they were pushing through the crowd. The protester who received the mindless torture from the Eureka cop's use of nunchukas is still recovering from injuries.
This video shows the police using 'pain compliance' on a person who cannot move his arms, and later shows the officers discharging stun guns outside.
The violence used against peaceful demonstrators is one instance in a daily continuum of oppression faced by those the capitalist system, using police, wishes to control. Widening the highway through Richardson Grove would only further the militarization of our county by providing the infrastructure for military and police vehicles to stage convoys as well as increasing the capital they are sworn to protect under penalty of death.
The people of Humboldt County are committed to ending this project. Our determination to protect the Redwood Curtain is not shaken by the violence committed by the State or the distortions of the media. We are peaceful as well as tenacious; we will not stop until this wasteful, destructive plan is placed in the dustbin of history. When we see the ancient trees in our state parks permanently protected, we can take another step down the path towards creating resilient, self-reliant communities that stand a chance at surviving a rapidly shifting and increasingly tumultuous world.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2011-02-03 "Houston black leaders laud release of police video" by Juan Lozano from the "Associated Press" newswire
HOUSTON – Prosecutors and Houston Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday criticized a community activist's release of a surveillance video that appears to show four former city police officers kicking and stomping a black teenage burglary suspect last year, saying it could jeopardize the cases against the officers.
But leaders in Houston's black community applauded the release of what they called the "appalling" and "outrageous" actions of "rogue officers."
"This never, ever should have been kept from the people," said Quanell X, the community activist who released the video to Houston television station KTRK, which aired it Wednesday evening. "What's on that tape, the world will get a chance to see now how they truly behave in public with young black men."
Quanell X released the video despite a court order by a federal judge in October that had barred its release before the officers' trials. The order was related to a federal lawsuit the teenager, Chad Holley, has filed in which he alleges that his civil rights were violated during his arrest. A court order in the criminal cases involving the indicted officers had also barred the video's release before trial.
A copy of the video was shown to the media on a laptop at a news conference Thursday attended by Quanell X and other black community leaders. He declined to provide copies of it to reporters.
The footage appears to show the officers kicking, punching and stomping on the then 15-year-old Holley during his arrest last March at a self-storage business in southwest Houston. In the video, Holley is on the ground and is surrounded by at least five officers. He appears to be kicked in the head, abdomen and legs by the officers, even after he has been placed in handcuffs.
Police said the teen was arrested following a brief chase after he and three others had allegedly burglarized a home. The teenager's mother has said her son's nose was fractured, and he had multiple bruises and limped after the alleged beating.
The four officers were fired and are set to be tried on various charges.
Holley, now 16, was convicted in October in juvenile court of burglary and put on probation.
Pastor James Nash, with Houston Ministers Against Crime, said he does not condone Holley's behavior and he was correctly punished in court.
"The courtroom is where justice should have been served, not on the street or the sidewalk," he said.
The Harris County District Attorney's office, the Houston Police Department and Parker all had opposed the release of the video before the officers' trial in August.
Parker said in a statement Thursday that while she remains "shocked and disgusted" by what she saw on the tape, the city has supported the district attorney's desire to keep the video from being released before the trial.
"We did not want to do anything that could jeopardize the prosecution of the police officers involved," she said.
The district attorney's office said in a statement that it would "continue to do everything possible to ensure that both the state and the defense are given a fair trial."
But Dick DeGuerin, the attorney for Andrew Blomberg, one of the four indicted officers, said he is concerned the video's release will make it harder for his client to get a fair trial. DeGuerin said Blomberg never beat or hit the teenager but only moved his arm so he could be handcuffed.
"The plain fact is the video is ugly," DeGuerin said. "The tendency is to think that they are all guilty of something, lump them all in the same category. Each one of their actions stands alone."
DeGuerin said he had obtained a temporary restraining order to block Quanell X from releasing the video but that it was ignored.
Quanell X said he obtained the video legally and was not forbidden from showing it.
Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr. said in a statement that he already had taken disciplinary action against the officers and wouldn't comment further "until the last case is adjudicated and or appealed."
Blomberg, 28, along with former officers Phillip Bryan, 45; Raad Hassan, 40; and Drew Ryser, 30, each were charged with official oppression. Hassan and Bryan also were charged with violation of the civil rights of a prisoner. If convicted, each officer faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Three others, one sergeant and two officers, were also fired. The sergeant chose to retire and the two others had their firings overturned in arbitration. The city is appealing those decisions.
"They have not regained their jobs. We are doing everything we can to get them to stay fired," said Houston police spokesman Victor Senties.

NOI Minister Quanell X

Friday, February 4, 2011

Community Rally for Martin Flenaugh killed by OPD
Rally and Vigil for Martin Flenaugh
Friday Feb. 4th, 6pm @ Frank Ogawa Plaza
14th and Broadway
Oakland, California
In Response to the OPD's Murder of Martin Flenaugh
On Wednesday January 26th, Oakland Police shot and killed 19 year-old Martin Flenaugh near San Leandro Blvd in response to a report of shots being fired. This has been yet another murder of a young member of our oppressed Oakland community. “Marty”, Raheim Brown, along with “Jody” Woodfox, Derrick Jones, Lovell Mixon, and Oscar Grant to name a few, are not just names you read about in the news. They are connected to us through family and community yet we are killed off and then passed off as some violent thugs by society. We are being murdered and arrested in our own streets by racist police officers in gang injunctions and RICO Acts. But when these vigilantes form up to target us they are rewarded with the receipt of a paid leave of absence. Where is the accountability in that? The police are not judge, jury, and executioner. Close members of “Marty’s” family and community are going to be organizing a vigil and rally next Friday after his funeral to honor his life and protest his wrongful death. Thanks for all your support.
Raustean~All Family No Friends and Eddie~40 Thieves

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2011-02-02 "Challenging the CHP: Yes, you can fight illegal speeding tickets" by Paul Sarran from "Northbay Bohemian" newspaper
Like most upstanding citizens, when we get a speeding ticket, we pay it. Without thinking. We are not inclined to question authority. Especially not the authority of the CHP.
However, when my wife got her third speeding ticket in the same place, on Barnes Road between River Road and Dennis Lane, in Santa Rosa, I thought, "Wait a minute—something's wrong here." I began to research. And thanks to David Brown's book How to Fight Your Ticket and Win, I learned that if a radar speeding ticket is issued in a location where the posted speed is not justified by an engineering speed study, the ticket is illegal. (See California Vehicle Code 40800, 40808.) Even if the officer testifies that in addition to the LIDAR, he visually determined your speed, legally he is an incompetent witness and none of his testimony can be used. That is the law.
Perhaps my wife's tickets were actually illegal, I realized. I decided to find the speed study for Barnes Road. CALTRANS didn't have it. They were very helpful, though, and suggested I try a more local authority.
Sonoma County Public Works had the study, and also issued a statement that there was no valid study for the road, which they provided free of charge. The most recent study dates back to March of 1989. Since, for the purpose of speeding convictions, the study is not supposed to be more than five years old, I knew we had a legitimate case. All three tickets were issued illegally.
Unfortunately, my wife had already pled guilty to the first two, as a compliant and trusting citizen would. We were left with a sense of injustice. We could have gotten those tickets removed by visiting the DMV with a copy of the court's judgment of dismissal for cause, but we have to take the time to do it. That is a cost.
So we requested a formal trial with the officer present.
In order to use these documents in court, I sent copies of the papers we had to the CHP, along with requests for the officer's notes from the back of the ticket. We also requested that the CHP produce a valid speed study as part of the discovery process. We got a letter back from the CHP with the officer's notes and a statement saying that they were not in possession of a valid speed study.
The day of the trial, several CHP officers present stated that the officer was out tending to an accident and would be late. We sat in court all day. The officer never did show. We were the last to be heard that day. When the judge offered all kinds of reduction bargains, we remained firm and refused.
The judge offered to drop the case, since the officer hadn't shown. We didn't accept. We showed the judge the speed study, the declaration of lack of valid survey and the note from the CHP that they were not in possession of a valid study. Shocked, the judge immediately dismissed the case "in the interest of justice."
That is what we wanted, and that is why we spent all day waiting: to have our day of being heard in court, and to have justice.During this process, we were told that the CHP "dot their i's and cross their t's," and that they would never operate an illegal speed trap.
This is a myth. All three of the officers who issued those tickets simply ignored the law. Officers have issued hundreds of tickets at that spot on Barnes Road—all illegal since 1996! I think the individual officers and the CHP owe their victims damages.
We paid fines, got points on our licenses, experienced raised insurance rates and could have lost our license or job because of points on our licenses. It is their fault, and they should be held responsible for the damages they caused. They can't say they didn't know. They are the first ones to tell us that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
This warrants legal suits against the CHP. They got it wrong, and they should have to pay for breaking the law.