Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Eureka City Council prepared to invite back as Police Chief a Human Rights abuser known for politically motivated hits

About the Author: Verbena is a species of drought-resistant herbaceous flowering plants native to the Americas and Europe adopted as an entheogen enhancer and in oneiromancy (dream divination). She investigates and produces reports about Human Rights abuse in the communities of Humboldt County, and organizes for Justice against these abuses with various community liberation organizations.
Flowers for Peace!

2013-07-03 "All about Mike Johnson- Eureka City Council wants to bring him back as Chief"
message from "Peoples' Action for Rights and Community", subscribe to their emails []:
PLEASE NOTE: I'm a little worried about the Domestic Violence thing below- don't want to endanger the woman who reported it to us. Do with it what you will...

2013-05-01 "Eureka Police-trained thugs Going from City to City"
report from Verbena:
Mike Johnson and Rocky Harpham were Eureka cops together.
They shot and killed Cheri Moore April 14, 2006.
Almost immediately, Rocky, Murl Harpham's son, went to Texas, then Johnson and R. Harpham both ended up in Ione, CA "acting like Nazis on the streets" as described by an Ione resident to Redwood Curtain CopWatch about 4 years ago (after the person looked them up on the internet due to their behavior). When former Humboldt County Risk Managment agent, Kim Kerr, left Humboldt for employment in Ione, CA, she soon brought Johnson and Harpham there to be officers. Johnson had a less than ethical or reputable tenure in Ione and has moved on to Anderson, CA.
Now, Johnson is hiring Rocky Harpham (who is interim police chief in Ione) as a Lieutenant in Anderson.
Voice in Ione has published articles about both of them. []
"Running and ya running and ya running away..."

Info request called for 2011 from Verbena:
I am seeking any anecdotal info, insight, or other information about officers Rocky Harpham and/or Mike Johnson (both former Eureka cops, possibly returning to Eureka). Since 2006 when they left Humboldt after shooting Cheri Moore, I have received calls from two women who don't know each other, complaining about these cops. One woman called about 3 years ago to tell me that these cops (who are posted on the Redwood Curtain CopWatch website) are "acting like Nazis on our streets" in Ione CA, where they are currently officers. A few days ago, I learned from that same woman that Mike Johnson is Police Chief in Ione and that our local Humboldt blog is saying that he is forerunner for Chief at Eureka PD.
Today, I received a call from another woman who is a victim of DV and who gave her report to these two cops -who intimidated her the entire time. When she later called to get a copy of the police report in order to follow up on her restraining order, Mike Johnson (Ione Police Chief) screamed at her on the phone! ... [the rest has been taken out]
2013-04-10 "Ione interim chief offered position at APD"
by Raquel Royers from "Anderson Valley Post" []:
Pending passage of a background check, Anderson Police Department is offering the position of lieutenant to Rocky Harpham, who is currently serving as Interim Chief of Police in Ione, Calif.
After interviewing seven candidates, Anderson Police Chief Michael Johnson chose Harpham because he shone throughout the entire testing process, Johnson said.
“He significantly ranked No. 1,” Johnson said. “His experience and history in administration was higher than the other candidates and he will serve the city well.”
Harpham and Johnson are no strangers to one another and have served alongside each other at the Eureka Police Department as well as the Ione Police Department.
“This is one of those situations of having your boss as a best friend,” Harpham said in a telephone interview Wednesday with the Valley Post.
Harpham, 42, has a career in law enforcement spanning approximately 18 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from San Jose State University and then went to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif., where he was born and raised. After working in Eureka for 11 years, Harpham moved to Texas to serve as an officer with the Phlugerville Police Department.
Only serving a few years there, Harpham moved back to California to take a position of police sergeant at the Ione Police Department.
“I came back to California because Johnson needed someone to be second in command at a small agency he was trying to rebuild,” Harpham explained.
Harpham comes from a family of law enforcement with his father Murl Harpham serving many years as Chief of Police in Eureka. His brother, Ronald Harpham, currently serves as a detective in the Eureka Police Department.
Harpham decided to apply for the open position in Anderson because he wants to be closer to his family. He has a sister living in Redding in addition to family residing in Eureka. Serving alongside his friend, Johnson, is another reason, he added.
“We share the same philosophies when it comes to running an agency,” Harpham said of Johnson. “As younger officers we often talked about what we would like to do if we could run an agency together. This is fulfilling the dream.”
His career in law enforcement is not without controversy. Harpham and Johnson were serving together on the Eureka Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in 2006 when they were involved in a standoff at a downtown Eureka motel that ended in a fatal shooting of Cheri Lyn Moore, 48, who brandished a flare gun at the officers. Harpham said his reaction to pull the trigger was necessary to protect himself and his fellow officers.
“I have drawn my weapon several times, but I have only used lethal force once,” Harpham noted. “One time in 18 years is pretty good.”
In response to critics who have claimed he and Johnson were acting too aggressively, Harpham said, “I think law enforcement should be proactive. We should be proactively seeking criminals in order to protect the community we serve.”
As a lieutenant in the Anderson Police Department, Harpham’s daily responsibilities will be to oversee the patrol units, supervise the shift Sergeants, conduct administrative paperwork and assist in additional patrols if needed, Johnson said.
“I know his abilities, strengths and weaknesses,” Johnson said.” He knows my leadership style. He is going to be the right fit for us.”
Harpham has an 8-year-old daughter named Delaney who lives in Texas, he said. In his free time he enjoys spending time with family as well as boating on the surrounding lakes.
comments -
2013-04-16 from "Amused":
Administrative experience like failing to document a burglary at a former city councilman's home? Allowing an Ione officer to participate in a criminal investigation involving that officer's family as the victim? Or pushing bogus "felony" vandalism charges which were eventually reduced and outright tossed? Or could they mean Harpam's complete inability to document probable cause when the former city manager had the computer programs altered to never reflect a running balance? (Same city mngr.that hired Harpam) Thanks again!

2011-11-06 "Eureka Police Department's Douglas and Zanotti: Criminal case dismissed against them for killing of Cheri Moore"
message from Verbena:
[Articles from Arkley Reporter and Slime-Slandered (Eureka Times-Standard) below Verbena's words]
I do not believe that D.A. Gallegos ever wanted ANY of the cops prosecuted for any killings by local police.
That's why I have been cynical about these charges all along. Gallegos, for the Grand Jury hearing, granted TRANSACTIONAL IMMUNITY to the SHOOTERS from the EPD SWAT team, Rocky Harpham and Mike Johnson -and the other monsters including Officers Liles and Sanchez, who busted in Cheri's apartment; together they murdered Cheri Moore.
Transactional immunity is the highest form of protection for these cops, meaning that none of those officers to whom the DA granted transactioanl immunity, can EVER be criminally prosecuted for killing Cheri.
Gallegos' arguments somewhat paraphrased in the articles below, while valid, are incomplete and thus weak.
It appears he did not (as well as many others) actually STUDY, or perhaps he flat out ignored, the Coroner's Inquest which:
1) makes it clear that Cheri did not point a flare gun at the first EPD cops who came to her apartment;
2) shows that the EPD officers conspired with creepy Charles Heuer (Cheri's landlord) in a CRIMINAL manner;
3) shows that EPD was hellbent on doing what they did, rather than allowing the situation to resolve non-violently, and;
4) shows that Douglas and Zanotti trusted its psychotic SWAT team.
All that being said, I am confident that Gallegos HAS NEVER HAD THE INTENTION of honestly investigating or prosecuting local cops for KILLING.
He has COVERED UP for the cops when they killed Cheri Moore and Christopher Burgess and Gabriel Muldenado and Zachary Cooke and Jonni Honda and Peter Stewart and Martin Cotton and James "Hans" Peters and Eloy Infante-Toscano.
It is also Gallegos' consistent practice to PROSECUTE THE VICTIMS of police brutality. If anyone doubts this, I can provide you more details.
And don't you wish more of us in Eureka would have opposed the $400 dollar AN HOUR attorney hired to defend ex-Chief Douglas? The City of Eureka, having no legal obligation to do so, decided to fork out $75, 000 of PUBLIC (tax-payer) money for Douglas' criminal defense!!
Back to Gallegos: When protests were common, Pacific Lumber and the Sheriff's Department worked closely together to brutalize non-violent protesters.
DA Gallegos ALWAYS prosecuted victims of police and company brutality and NEVER prosecuted a single perpetrator of violence against non-violent protesters.
Remember Kat Zimmerman, knocked off her bike during a peace protest and knocked UNCONSCIOUS by EPD's Sanchez on Hwy 101?
Gallegos charged Kat, a non-violent 100-pound woman, with 5 felonies, and Off. Sanchez played victim.
Remember Ramsey or Mystique? whom PL-hired thugs almost killed in Freshwater treesits (while Gallegos' lawsuit aganst PL was current)?
No charges against the PL perpetrators, nor did he bring any charges against any of the NUMEROUS cops for standing by, assisting in the crimes.
Gallegos partly ran his first DA campaign with a promise to prosecute the MURDER of David "Gypsy" Chain, a forest defender killed by Pacific Lumber in the woods 10 years ago, this September 17th.
OF COURSE, Gallegos has absolutely refused to do anything of the sort.
The list goes on. And Gallegos has said that HIS OFFICE suffices as police review!
Look again at this man (Gallegos) who so many put thier faith in. Please do not believe the facade.
Caring people in this county (many of you) got Gallegos into office and kept him there.
Raise your voice about the injustice he perpetuates.
Perhaps, you believe, he has been at times, the lesser of certain evils.
However, remaining silent (or blind) about his CORRUPTION is complicity with UNCONSCIONABLE acts.
We lose so much to silence.
Please put energy into honest PEOPLES' MOVEMENT, not lying political charades.
In Defense of the Earth and Her Peoples,
P.S. Please check out and act on Redwood Curtain CopWatch's request that you call for Coroner's Inquests. Public hearings! No more hiding for the cops!

2011-11-06 "SWAT kills: Beware returning officers, Mike Johnson and Rocky Harpham"
report from "Redwood Curtain Copwatch" []:
On April 14, 2006, Mike Johnson and Rocky Harpham, working for the Eureka Police Department SWAT, shot Cheri Moore EIGHT times, killing her. Both officers left the area- Rocky Harpham to Texas. Sonn after, former Humboldt County Risk Managment agent, Kim Kerr, left Humboldt for employment in Ione, CA. She promptly brought Johnson and Harpham there to be officers in Ione. The people of Ione were unaware of these cops' past, but learned quickly of their violent ways through experience. In Ione, Johnson became Chief and Harpham became Sergeant.
Redwood Curtain CopWatch has received calls from several people regarding Johnson and Harpham's really abusive behavior in Ione. (One call over 2 years ago said "They are acting like Nazi's on our streets') And NOW THEY ARE COMING BACK HERE!!
SWAT & Murl Harpham vs. Garr Nielsen, the "Coup": The Eureka City Council and Manager recently went along with a coup by the EPD SWAT thugs, and fired Chief Garr Nielsen against his contract. Nielsen had not only demoted long-time, violent Murl Harpham (Rocky's father or grandfather), but moreover Nielsen had disbanned SWAT. Now, Murl Harpham is the interim police chief, SWAT is back to terrorize our community, and the Eureka government is considering Mike Johnson as Chief of the Eureka Police Department!
Read this from Ione: [] [2013-07 Northbay Uprising note: this Ione Police Dept. webpage has been scrubbed from all public archives online].
Cops Found In Court To have Killed Martin Cotton II Still EPD Officers!
In September of this year (2011), Eureka Police Officers, Justin Winkle, Adam Laird, and Gary Whitmer* were found liable by a unanimous jury for the wrongful death of Martin Cotton II. The jury awarded Martin Cotton's daughter and father 4.5 million dollars because the officers pummeled Martin, then left him to die in a jail cell. The jury also assigned all three officers punitive damages, which are supposed to come out of the officers' personal finances, and usually has a big effect on cops' careers. In total (plus attorney's fees), the Officers are costing the city of Eureka over 5 million dollars. And they murdered Martin Cotton! EPD officer Joshua Siipola was not on trial, although he participated in beating Martin Cotton to death, because he went back during the case to war in Afghanistan. He, too, is coming back to bring the war to the streets and homes of Eureka.
The Eureka government is continuing to employ these killer cops, pretending like a brutal murder by the officers and the jury verdict means nothing! AND they are celebrating the return of Siipola FROM WAR back into the Eureka Police Department.
This is unacceptable.
Eureka SWAT cops who killed Johnni Honda (2006) included (top, left to right,) Det. Ron Harpham, sniper; Officer Rocky Harpham, entry; Sgt. Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez, SWAT leader; Det. Todd Wilcox, SWAT leader; Officer Rob Metaxas, senior sniper; and (bottom row, left to right) Sgt. Michael Johnson, entry; and Sgt. Bill Nova, SWAT commander.

*EPD's Gary Whitmer also shot and killed Gabriel Cuevas-Maldonado with an assault rifle on September 15, 2005. Mr. Maldonado was in a house when he was killed by Whitmer and spoke no English. The media and officials kept it quiet so people would not get upset. They criminalized Mr. Muldenado in the brief newspaper mention. This death was the first in a 2 and a half year killing spree by the Eureka police Department.

2006-09 "Humboldt County Coroner Inquest with Michael Johnson concerning the death of Cheri Moore"
[Northbay Uprising copy-edited the following volunteer transcript provided by Verbena, and despite imperfections, it is readable and is presented as is for information's sake]
Q: What is your occupation sir?
A: I’m a Sergeant with the Eureka Police department

Q: How long have you been a police officer?
A: little over ten years

Q: All that with the Eureka Police Department?
A: yes sir

Q: and could you detail please your training and education that permits you to function as a police officer
A: as a police officer I went to a basic POST academy police officer standardized training academy ..had a vast array of trainings throughout my ten years but specifically for um SWAT and critical incidents I’ve went through a basic SWAT school, I’ve also attended a high risk entry training that was put on by the bureau of narcotics enforcement

Q: And you’re a sergeant at the present time
A: yes, I am

Q: I would direct your attention if I may to the 14th of April of this year and ask you where you were during the morning hours of that day
A: OK [pause]

Q: can you tell us where you were that morning
A: [Big smile] I was at COSTCO shopping with my wife and my mother

Q: at some point did you receive information or a notice that the SWAT team was being activated
A: I did, I received a, uh, a SWAT callout on my pager

Q: What did that SWAT callout advise you of
A: well. uh, it’s a text pager so the information that came across that pager for the callout was that there was a barricaded subject in the vicinity of apartments at 6th and G is I believe what was on the pager, and that uh SWAT operators needed to respond immediately

Q: And did you?
A: Yes I did

Q: Where did you go sir?
A: Well I, since I was, like I said, at COSTCO shopping I called the department and I spoke with dispatcher Heather Gillespie [Verbena notes: interesting. He said this with total confidence. Did she change her name? Was there both a Kathleen and a Heather Gillespie on duty at the time? Had he prepped poorly? Or had this woman been dispatching him for 6 years and he never bothered to learn her name, but he is able to sound totally confident even when incorrect or fabricating on the spot?]. I asked if they could send somebody from the department to come pick me up, and they did so, and so when I got that ride I went straight to the department

Q: When you arrived at the department, approximately what time was that?
A: Jeez, um….it seems like I received the page somewhere between 10:30 and 10:45, so. it didn't take long to get from there, I would guess at ten to 11 or so

Q: what did you do when you arrived at the department?
A: Uh, I immediately went upstairs to the locker room, I have a couple of different lockers there, one specifically for my SWAT gear, and one for my patrol, uh, gear and uniforms and I initially just went upstairs and started to gather all the gear I needed

Q: Did you attempt to find out further information about what the problem was at some point
A: uh…yeah..uh..kinda coincidentally I didn't go seeking it, but I ran into my team leader Officer Tom Wilcox up in the locker room and we had an exchange of, a brief exchange of information at that point as to why we got called out

Q: what did he tell you
A: He had advised me that uh given the location, I uh already had a suspicion of why we were there 'cause we had responded to those same apartments sometime within the prior week for a distraught uh female, and so I had asked him initially if that's what we were getting called out for, and he advised me that uh yes it was, in fact the same female, and he gave me some basic information that he had been in dispatch and gathered

Q: was the prior contact, uh that uh, you had, that you just described, was that with officer Wilcox?
A: to the prior detail regarding this female?

Q: Yes
A: Yes it was

Q: And was that a couple of days in advance of the 14th? Back before the 14th?
A: Yeah, I believe it was three days, four or five days maybe….prior.

Q: And did you go to the apartment complex with Officer Wilcox?
A: I… [looks off to the side] no, I did not actually go to the uh apartment complex. I met Officer Wilcox in regards to that… call, um, about a block and a half away

Q: Prior to him going to the location
A: [Looks up, thinks] you know, I'm not sure if he ever went to, up to the apartment on that ?location? what we I know what we discussed and decided to do from the moment I met him but I don't recall whether he actually went up and ?made? contact with her on that occasion or not

Q: were you the shift supervisor then?
A: yes, I was

Q: OK and so a decision was made to end whatever that contact was at that time
A: yes, after discussing with him what, what was goin' on, and... um... information that was given to him, and, um... to me the decision was made at that time, yes

Q: After being briefed, uh, by Officer Wilcox did you feel as though you had a general idea of what was occurring at the 516 G Street location
A: Are you talking about for the SWAT callout sir, or…

Q: yes
A: or..

Q: for the SWAT callout, yes, I'm sorry
A: Yes, uh, ?? I had a general idea of yes what was uh you know basically we were gonna be up against as far as the situational barricaded subject, brandishing a, what was assumed to be a flare gun, or some type of handgun and initial officers responding –this is information Officer Wilcox initially gave me when I initially ran into him in the locker room

Q: Uh, you then were aware that the original responding offers had made entry
A: Uh, not necessarily made entry, I knew that the had uh attempted contact with the with her I didn't have any specific detailed information other than they had responded for a welfare check and at some point they, they were met with uh, uh a brandishing of a weapon. That's... that's about all. I didn't have information on whether they actually went inside the building, it was, it was pretty brief exchange between Officer Wilcox and myself

Q: and did…[aside] would you put a new sheet on that?.......... And did you eventually make your way to 516 G street
A: Yes I did

Q: and who did you contact there
A: Well, initially when I arrived at uh, the scene I staged with the, the SWAT team staged, the responders, the that I traveled there with, we staged in a little alcove at Hewers ah floral shop. There’s a little alcove in there where the front doors are, two glass…double doors and we, um initially staged there

Q: who was present at that time
A: [looks away] at that time it was myself, Officer Tim Jones, and Officer Rigo Sanchez

Q: and were you provided additional information at that location
A: Not…not at the staging area where we that we were in where we were initially standing and waiting we weren’t, but eventually we were moved inside through the floral shop ?? to a second level… ah… sort of a I don’t know conference room or business office up at that building and that’s where we got additional briefing on the incident [7:51] [Verbatim transcript ends, begin outline of what was said, with mostly verbatim quotes, including Q: & A:]

Bolton part of the crisis negotiation team

claimed to be unable to evacuate the fellow in the wheelchair
assumed some other evacuations were done because he was told about the one who couldn’t be evacuated
doesn’t remember any civilians in the hallway

said Moore was screaming & yelling out the window but nothing she said was intelligible

had lethal & non lethal coverage at the door – shotguns +AR 15 223 rifle and pepper ball guns a ram (breaching device to break down the door) [18:00]
If they had to enter were planning to use a “light bang” device (flash grenade?)

seemed like we were running out of time and we didn’t know what she was going to do

mention of a thirty eight caliber handgun & mention of another male in the apartment – didn’t know if he was co-operative, a boyfriend or even if he existed

said there was a sign posted in the hallway saying she had a handgun & knew how to use it

officer harpum designated to be the first in the door
had his rifle and a glock in the holster
semiautomatic rifle designed for close quarters – shoulder mount rifle with 29 rounds (practical max)

go signal was report of moore at the window with no weapon in her hands

when they got the signal, officer sanchez rammed down the door
harpum through first

took safety off the rifle as he went through the door

[35:00] when he first saw her she had the flare gun in her right hand, a few inches from her belly pointed left, looked like her left hand was clutched around something, not sure what & she was turning away from the window to face them
when he saw that, he points the machine gun at her
at that point everything kinda tunneled for me and went into slow motion for me [38:11] never forget the look on her face she was definitely surprised – which was obviously what we wanted
but as she turned and as she faced us with that gun there’s two things that happened and pretty simultaneously is her expression changes, on her face, and I don’t know how to describe the change to you other than that it wasn’t surprise anymore it was more focus and intent and I don’t know…. …. and at the same time the gun is starting to move away from her belly and move towards him and Rocky

sighted on her midsection ?I remember seeing that gun as its coming in my direction, as its pointed at me? “I engaged her with my rifle. I fired, I can remember, and this may sound very weird to you but I can remember the bullet leaving the barrel and I can remember casings coming out of the port of my rifle [mimes casing after casing coming out] [40:00], uh... stuff that we... we've trained hundreds of thousands of times over at the range, and you could never, ever imagine or even think that you could see such things, but, all those things, uh, all those things happened, and it closes in, its, you get tunnel vision, and things blur, and go into slow motion, at least they did for me

Q: so, the first time you fired, she was facing you?
A: She was facing me

Q: her body was turned in your direction
A: yeah….
I fired, 3, 4 maybe 5 times. I knew Officer Harpum had fired at least once, and I knew that officer jones had fired the pepper ball gun as well. The thing about those shots though, there were pretty non distinctive to me, as far as sound, they just sounded like little cap guns, I remember it was just a very faint pop pop pop to me but I knew they had both fired as well, but I’m focusing on her, ah, I fired, I continued to fire, like I estimated 3 to 5 rounds til I felt she wasn’t a threat to me anymore, until I knew I was safe

Q: what was she doing as you were firing
A: Well, she, um, she [sighs], she wasn’t doing anything other than the last thing I saw which was pointing the gun at me as she… she ended up folding, is the best I can describe it, kind of bent over and falling over, sort of generally on her side toward the corner of the room, this corner of the room

Q: and did you see what became of the flare gun
A: I did not, initially I didn’t. When she was down and. and um the firing had stopped, she wasn’t moving anymore, but I couldn’t see her hands, and I didn’t know where that gun was, at that point, so um as standard operating procedure for us, and as we trained we still covered her, meaning we still stood with our guns trained on her, until we got her handcuffed, and until we got, until we were sure that she wasn’t a threat [Verbena note: was she ever a threat in the first place? I want to experiment with a flare gun now.] and that gun was secure. Now, eventually I did see the gun, when officer Wil – ‘cause at that point she’s down, and we’re covering her, officer jones yells that he’s got the radio which tells us that he’s going to handle radio traffic so that everybody

jones said – not verbatim- shots had been fired, suspect down, need medical aid, almost immediately officer Wilcox is in the room and also it seems like on his heels are the medical folks and officer Wilcox pulls her forward, and places handcuffs on her, and says she’s secure, and tells the medical people that uh, they can move in and treat her

said other officers did not fire before him, maybe it was simultaneous, he couldn’t say with certainty [44:24]

Q: and you mentioned you saw the flare gun somewhere
A: I did, I, I uh, once, once I uh I kinda skipped over that when I was explaining that right now. Once officer Wilcox pulled her forward, onto the carpet. uh, at which before he did that he had to move a couch, which was obstructing us and her, it was in between, this way ?? before officer Wilcox could get in there because it was really tight quarters, it’s a small apartment – um, and get to her he had to actually physically push the couch out of the way which he did, mostly with his foot, um, when he pulled her forward to him to handcuff her I then made a conscious effort to look for the gun, ‘cause I knew it was in her hand, I hadn’t seen it when I was covering her, but then I I did see it
Q: where did you see it
A: I saw it laying, there, there was a some kind of furniture, I don’t know bookshelf, or entertainment center, or something underneath that bank of windows there… and at the, on the rug it looked like kinda just slightly under that, uh [45:45] shelf, laid the gun

he is shown exhibit 18, [45:58] which looks like a picture of the gun under the furniture and he says that’s it. Then he is shown exhibit 19 and 20, which are photos of the room with Ms. Moore’s body in the center, and he circles the location of the gun [46:43 or so]
said there was no discussion – maybe a comment as to can you believe that just happened

were concerned that the shields wouldn't work against a flare gun, but first mentioned they were heavy and awkward
there was much discussion before entry as to whether the flare gun would be treated as a lethal weapon

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