Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oakland Police provide political affiliation information to private business for purpose of intimidating targeted dissidents

"Activist protesting police militarization exercise says police used surveillance footage to get him fired"
2013-10-30 []:
According to an activist in Oakland, California, police officers produced surveillance footage of his participation in a political demonstration last week to his employers, prompting his firing. The activist, who goes by @Anon4Justice on Twitter, tweeted the following this morning:

It appears as if the police used surveillance camera footage paired with records in private and public databases to identify the activist and find out where he works. The police then allegedly called his employer and notified them that, while the activist said he had been sick, he was really out at a protest confronting the police. He was subsequently fired.
The protest the activist attended was a rally in opposition to Oakland’s hosting of regional, DHS-funded ‘Urban Shield’ exercises. These are paramilitary style disaster response trainings that occur nationwide thanks to funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Thousands of law enforcement officials participated in Oakland’s Urban Shield operation this year.
The Domain Awareness Center, police militarization and the war on dissent
The city’s use of publicly funded surveillance cameras and police officers to harass and intimidate a political activist comes at a time when surveillance in Oakland is under heightened national scrutiny.
The city received $7 million from the Department of Homeland Security for port security programs, but plans to spend the funds building a massive surveillance operation it calls a “Domain Awareness Center”. The New York Times profiled the center in October 2013, describing the controversy surrounding the gargantuan surveillance dragnet []:
[begin excerpt]
Proponents of the Oakland initiative…say it will help the police reduce the city’s notoriously high crime rates. But critics say the program, which will create a central repository of surveillance information, will also gather data about the everyday movements and habits of law-abiding residents, raising legal and ethical questions about tracking people so closely.
Libby Schaaf, an Oakland City Council member, said that because of the city’s high crime rate, “it’s our responsibility to take advantage of new tools that become available.” She added, though, that the center would be able to “paint a pretty detailed picture of someone’s personal life, someone who may be innocent.”

Even before the initiative, Oakland spent millions of dollars on traffic cameras, license plate readers and a network of sound sensors to pick up gunshots. Still, the city has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. And an internal audit in August 2012 found that the police had spent $1.87 million on technology tools that did not work properly or remained unused because their vendors had gone out of business.
The new center will be far more ambitious. From a central location, it will electronically gather data around the clock from a variety of sensors and databases, analyze that data and display some of the information on a bank of giant monitors.
[end excerpt]
Critics of these enormous, wasteful expenditures wondered aloud to the Times about what would happen with the “comprehensive information about Oakland residents who have engaged in no wrongdoing” that the DAC plans to stockpile.
“What happens when someone doesn’t like me and has access to all that information?” a public policy researcher asked.
If today’s events are any indication, Oakland residents can expect the police to use the vast troves of information the city collects against them to hurt them even when they have broken no law. This kind of government action sends a chilling message to all Oakland residents: If you protest the police, they will use the powerful surveillance tools at their disposal to come after you and interfere with your life — regardless of whether or not you’ve done anything wrong.
Was the compilation of photographs of @Anon4Justice part of the Urban Shield exercise the activist was protesting? Is it OPD policy to use photographs of people exercising their First Amendment rights to get them in trouble with their employers? Is this kind of McCarthyite political repression how Oakland residents — or the rest of the country — want their tax dollars spent?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Justice for Andy Lopez Cruz! (Santa Rosa, d. 2013-10-22)

Official campaign coalition website, associated directly with Andy's family []
* Independent Autopsy Report
shows how Andy was executed by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy  [link], see for yourself the manner of policing by Sonoma County Sheriffs.
* Sonoma County D.A. Report
on Andy Lopez Shooting [link]

* Justice for Andy Lopez! Action called for Sept. 9th in Santa Rosa! [link]
* MASS BAY AREA RALLY IN SANTA ROSA; DA SAYS – “JUSTIFIED – WE SAY HOMICIDE” (2014-07-11 press release) [link]
* Latest Incident in Sonoma County re: Harassment of Latino Youth (2014-07-08) [link]
* Sonoma County DA Jill Ravitch faces demands for Justice for Andy Lopez! (2014-07-03) [link]
* "Sociology Students on Andy Lopez Case", 2014-06-01 [link]
* Hands off Jose! Justice for Andy Lopez Supporters Held At Gun Point By Santa Rosa Police Dept. [link]
* Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa retaliates against students seeking justice for Andy Lopez (2014-04) [link]
* "Lopez Protestors to Confront DA Ravitch With Conclusive Autopsy Evidence of Deputy Gelhaus Criminal Liability for the Shooting of Andy Lopez", 2014-04-08 [link]
* Pressure Mounts on AG Harris to Act in Lopez Case: NAACP & Local Attorneys Weigh In to Demand Action - “Bring Back Justice Cruz Reynoso as Special Prosecutor” [link]
* "DA Ravitch Stonewalls Investigation into Assault by Security Detail at Pasta Fundraiser; Mounting Evidence of Bias Against Lopez Protestors", 2014-03-19 [link]
* California Attorney General Office stonewalls Justice for Andy Lopez! 2014-02-13 [link]
*  Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez begins "Spring Justice Offensive" with legal actions! 2014-02-06 [link]
* “JCAL Blasts DA Ravitch and the SR Police Department’s Total Lack of Transparency in Deputy Gelhaus Shooting Investigation” [link]
* Amended Federal Complaint vs. Sonoma County and Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus [link]
* Mothers in White, and a Founding Member of the Black Panther Party, Protests the Killing of Andy Lopez by Sonoma County at Board of Supervisors meeting, 2013-01-07 [link]
* "Andy Lopez Memorial Torched: Community will Rebuild", 2014-01-02 [link]
* Andy's Youth demand Justice in Santa Rosa! [link]
* "Community Objects to Sonoma County Deputy Gellhaus Return to Duty" [link]
* Justice for Andy Lopez on Human Rights Day! [link]
* "Santa Rosa, Calif. 80 youth march surrounded by 26 cop cars; Community demands justice for Andy Lopez!" [link]
* Nov. 26th, 2013, March for Justice and Human Rights in Santa Rosa! [link]

Solidarity against the repression of a community in Santa Rosa! [link]
* Hands off Ramon Cairo! [link]
* Hands off Douglass! [link]
* Hands off Godoy! [link]
* Hands off Jose! [link]
* Hands off Andy's Youth! [link]

"Re: Police shooting of Andy Lopez" 
2013-11-02 letter by John Sakowicz of Ukiah to the "Mendocino Country Independent Newspaper":
I have researched an "Intelius Background Check" on Sonoma County deputy, Erick Gelhaus, who shot 13-year old Andy Lopez seven times, killing him, on October 22, 2013. Gelhaus was deliberate. He fired eight times in 26 seconds. That's a lot of time in the split-second world of law enforcement. Trigger-happy? You decide. The kid was holding a toy replica of a gun. The FBI is now investigating the shooting, because neither the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office nor the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office can be trusted my many members of the public to conduct an impartial investigation. The family of Andy Lopez and much of the local Latino community have cried out for justice. If guilty, Erick Gelhaus should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As a law enforcement officer sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, this is a greater demand for justice put upon Erick Gelhaus than for ordinary citizens. Adding the facts that Gelhaus was also a SWAT team member and wrote for SWAT Magazine, was also training instructor at the Gunsite Academy in Sonoma County, and that he demonstrated products for Aimpoint Red Dot Sights, Blue Force Gear, and other vendors of the deadly tools of the trade for law enforcement, there may no excuse for this killing. Gelhaus was not just an ordinary citizen, he was not just an ordinary cop...he was a lot more. He should have known better.
No Justice. No Peace.

"Letters sent today to the US Civil Rights Commission re: death of Andy Lopez"
2013-11-08, The following letter with background articles is being sent today by US Postal Service to both the Western Regional Director, Dr. Peter Minarik of the US Civil Rights Commission in Los Angeles as well as Michael Yaki, of San Francisco, a Commissioner of that body. It is signed by sixteen local groups as a community response to the October 22 killing of Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Sheriff Deputy Erick Gilhous.
We write to you today as a coalition of human rights and social justice groups in Sonoma County where the tragic death of a thirteen year old child has galvanized and outraged our community.  The October 22 shooting death of Andy Lopez by Sonoma County deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus has resulted in near daily protests and vigils over the past two weeks with no end in sight. We are writing to request that you return to Sonoma County to hold all day hearings as you did in February of 1998. You came here then as a result of a serious spate of law enforcement related civilian killings in the mid 1990s.
You issued a comprehensive report in May of 2000 with several recommendations including setting up civilian review boards. Unfortunately all law enforcement agencies in Sonoma County ignored those recommendations claiming that all concerns could be solved through a Grand Jury approach. Since 2000 there have been 56 more civilian deaths at the hands of  local law enforcement, including 16 year old Jeremiah Chass and 30 year old Richard DeSantis, both in 2007 which resulted in a similar outcry from our community. Several of those unnecessary deaths resulted in private lawsuits and ended in settlements costly to our county and taxpayers.
We are now united in our condemnation of this most recent unnecessary killing of Andy Lopez on October 22 and believe it shows an unfortunate and continuing pattern over the past two decades that urgently needs outside intervention and oversight. Please let us know what we can do to start the process for the Commission to return to Sonoma County for official hearings.
* Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County
* Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline (PACH)
* Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County
* Round Valley Indians for Justice
* 100 Thousand Poets for Change
* Missing Pages Productions
* Bohemian Grove Action Network
* Apple Roots Group
* North Coast Coalition for Palestine
* Sonoma County Peace and Freedom Party
* Coalition for Grassroots Progress: Sonoma County
* Latino Democratic Club of Sonoma County
* National Lawyers Guild: San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
* Val Barber—mother of Jesse Hamilton, killed by law enforcement 2008
* Emory Douglas Black Panther Party Artist
* Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS)

"Andy Lopez Shooting: Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit to be Filed"
2013-11-04 press release from the Law Office of Arnoldo Casillas, Esq. [323-725-0917] []:
Press Conference:
Date: Monday, November 4, 2013 Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: 44 Montgomery Street
Market Conference Room, Lower Level San Francisco, CA 94104 

The parents of 13-year-old Andy Lopez will sue Erick Gelhaus and Sonoma County for killing their son.
The federal civil rights lawsuit will be filed on Monday, November 4, 2013, at the Federal District Court in San Francisco.
The lawsuit will allege that the shooting of Andy Lopez was unconstitutional in that it violated the Fourth Amendment’s limits on police authority. The lawsuit will detail the circumstances of the shooting and allege that defendant Erick Gelhaus shot and killed Andy Lopez without reasonable cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The complaint will also allege that the shooting resulted from an unconstitutional custom and practice at the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department regarding the use of deadly force.
Andy’s parents and their lawyer will hold a press conference on Monday, November 4, 2013, to discuss the findings of their investigation, the results of their private autopsy, and the details of Andy’s short life. The family will have an electronic media package available to those attending the press conference. Andy Lopez’s parents will be present at the press conference.

Justice for Andy shirt!
This shirt is sold to raise money for the family. When you see this shirt and Aztlan Industries, know that all the money is being donated to the family. It's all for Andy. (donations were received by Family of Andy Lopez, Nov 12th, after the last shirt was sold by Aztlan Industries).

"Andy Lopez developments: Monday and Tuesday"
For Immediate Release: November 3, 2013
Contact: Michael Rothenberg 305 753 4569
1) IMPORTANT PRESS CONFERENCE, The Lopez Family Lawyers- MONDAY NOVEMBER 4 : SAN FRANCISCO FRIENDS PLEASE GO TO: 44 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA, Market Conferennce Room, Lower Level at 1pm. The lawyers for Andy Lopez Family will make a very important statement!!
2) On Tuesday Nov. 5th we will be marching to demand that Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch convene a Grand Jury for the purpose of indicting Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus for the wanton murder of our 13-year old brother and friend Andy Lopez. Today we have sent an official written request to the DA demanding a meeting with DA Ravitch for Nov. 5 at 2:30 to present our Declaration of Indictment. We will let you know if we hear back from the DA. DA Ravitch do your job - indict Gelhaus for "criminal matters"
TAKE NOTE: On November 5, 2010, Johannes Mehserle, who shot and killed Oscar Grant, was sentenced to two years, minus time served. He served his time in the Los Angeles County Jail, occupying a private cell away from other prisoners. He was released on June 13, 2011. He only served 9 months. We must make sure this time around JUSTICE is SERVED! November 5th we march for Andy Lopez, we march for Oscar Grant, we march for Ernest Duenez Jr.!!!
Poster attached in Spanish and English gives Tuesday action specifics. Please contact Michael Rothenberg, or call 305-753-4569 for more information

"Joint statement to bring US Civil Rights Commission back to Sonoma County"
Limited copies of the 2000 report from the US COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS of their 1998 Hearings in Sonoma County are available by request. For more info contact Mary Moore [707-874-2248] []
October 30, 2013, Joint Statement from Sonoma County Human Rights and Social Justice groups to ask the US Civil Rights Commission to return to our community in the aftermath of the killing of Andy Lopez.
"We are a coalition of Sonoma County human rights and social justice groups who have come together to suggest that the US Civil Right Commission revisit Sonoma County in light of the recent killing of thirteen-year old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County Sheriff Deputy on October 22. In 1998 the California Advisory Committee of the Commission came to Sonoma County for an all day hearing regarding a spate of questionable civilian killings in the 1990s and in 2000 issued a very comprehensive report which sided with the community concerns.
Since the 1998 hearings there have been way too many preventable civilian deaths at the hands of local law enforcement, including 16 year old Jeremiah Chass and 30 year old Richard DeSantis, both in 2007. Several of those unnecessary deaths resulted in private lawsuits and ended in settlements costly to our county and taxpayers. We are now united in our condemnation of this most recent unnecessary killing by local law enforcement and believe it shows an unfortunate pattern over the past two decades that needs outside intervention and oversight.
In this latest killing of Andy Lopez the FBI has quickly stepped up to conduct its own investigation but given it's history regarding social justice issues we would like another set of "outside" eyes to go along with this. We will soon be approaching the US Civil Rights Commission with this request. If your group would like to join us please email to add your name."
* Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County
* Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline (PACH)
* Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County
* Round Valley Indians for Justice
* 100 Thousand Poets for Change
* Missing Pages Productions
* Bohemian Grove Action Network
* Apple Roots Group
* North Coast Coalition for Palestine
* Sonoma County Peace and Freedom Party
* Northbay MDS
* Val Barber—mother of Jesse Hamilton, killed by law enforcement 2008

"Continuing vigils, marches, and activism around the killing of Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputies"
2013-10-26 from the "Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center"
The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County is attempting to be a hub of information for ongoing activism regarding the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies. The most up-to-date information can be found on our Facebook page [] If you know of anything we aren't posting, please post it to that page and we will share it. Thank you for your help in reducing gun culture and police shoot-to-kill policies. We will also be working on citizen oversight of law enforcement. Thank you.

Want to know how you can be part of the solution?
March for Andy Lopez!
Tuesday, The march will be on October 29th and will have 2 meeting places. At 12pm, people can either meet at The Old Court House Square or Santa Rosa Junior College. Those that choose to go to the Court House will begin marching to the SRJC at 1 pm. Those that choose to protest at the SRJC will meet at 12 and rally while they await the arrival of those marching from the Old Court House Square. Once the two parties are united, we will all march toward the Sheriffs Department. There, we will have another protest with both parties and those who can join at the Sheriffs department around 3pm.......
Santa Rosa Junior College(12pm): 1501 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, Ca, 95401
Old Courthouse Square (12pm): Old Courthouse Square Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Sheriffs Department (3pm): 2796 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Justice Now! Unity March for Andy Lopez!
Wednesday, Meet at the Dollar Tree parking lot on Sebastopol Ave. in Roseland at 5:00 p.m.
We'll march to Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa, planning to arrive by 6:30 p.m.
Candlelight vigil and speakers in Old Courthouse Square at 6:30 p.m.
Unity March from Roseland to Courthouse Square for a peaceful demonstration and afternoon rally with speakers (TBA). At sundown there will be a silent vigil and return walk to Roseland. This event hopes to bring together the diverse communities of Santa Rosa for a massive demonstration of unity against police brutality, gun violence, and racial profiling in our neighborhoods and a call for justice in the brutal slaying of Andy Lopez. Together we can create change and make Santa Rosa a safe and just home for ALL of our children. This march and vigil will be a continuation and culmination of the many protests, actions, demonstrations taking place around Santa Rosa. We will continue until there is justice for Andy Lopez!

2013-10-23 statement from  Elbert “Big Man” Howard, co-founder for PACH Police Accountability Clinic & Helpline of Sonoma County:
My name is Elbert “Big Man” Howard, and I am a founding member of The Black Panther Party and also of PACH, the Police Accountability Clinic & Helpline of Sonoma County. PACH, an all-volunteer organization, was formed to take reports of police misconduct after community meetings which occurred because of a series of killings which took place in 2007. I am making this statement on behalf of myself and PACH and in response and protest to the killing of Andy Lopez, 13 years of age, by law enforcement.
One of the reasons that the Black Panther Party was formed in 1966, and why they fought so hard many years ago, was to have community control of the police – to make the policeaccountable to the community. In the present atmosphere that still exists of racial profiling and police abuse, the politicians and law enforcement agencies are accountable to no one.
Now, 47 years later, here I am, waking up to the news that yesterday, Oct 22nd, on the very day we recognize as the National day of protest against police brutality, this 13 year-old child has been shot down and killed by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies.
Clearly, police misconduct remains an on-going issue in our community as the civil and human rights of people in our communities are ignored and violated. We all need to protest the police abuse, racial profiling, and the killings by law enforcement that continue to occur in our community.
Law enforcement, in this county, is a system against the people. The treatment of people at the hands of law enforcement remains an ongoing issue, and instead of improving, has clearly worsened. The fact that this child has been gunned down is just one example of an entire unjust system.
Details of these deaths in the past and present are always "not for public record". The so-called details take weeks to be obtained. We, as community members, demand an accounting of this shooting. We want to know why this child is dead.
In order to protest the police abuse and racial profiling that continues to thrive in our community, we need to take action in various ways.
One of these ways is that we need to cease supporting, as taxpayers, the funding of laws, law enforcement agencies, and criminal penalties that do not work and violate our civil, constitutional, and human rights.
Some of you may remember, back in May of 2000, the US Commission on Civil Rights, after investigating charges of police misconduct in Sonoma County, recommended that there should be an office formed, independent of the District Attorney’s, to both investigate and prosecute cases of police abuse. It never happened.Why? Was it due to a lack of community political will?
Are we to continue to ignore the injustices in our community? Are we to continue to support laws that erode our basic human and civil rights? We must form alliances within our community in order to deal with this issue of misconduct by law enforcement. We must do it now before someone else's child lies dead at the age of 13.

"Exclusive: More Corruption in Sonoma Law Enforcement"
 2013-12-03 by Jan Tucker []:
Detective’s Diary has been keeping watch on the aftermath of the death of 13 year old Andy Lopez in the outskirts of Santa Rosa October 22 of this year. Andy was gunned down by sheriff deputy Erick William Gelhaus within seconds after Gelhaus saw the middle school student walking along Moorland Avenue with a bb gun. Our friend and colleague, Private Investigator Alex Salazar, has been working on the case for the Lopez family’s attorneys (one of whom is, like Jan B. Tucker, a 1970s era CSU Northridge Mechista).
The killing is being “investigated” by the Santa Rosa Police Department while many activists, community residents, and outraged citizens are calling upon the District Attorney Jill Ravitch to bring criminal charges against the law enforcement officer, a highly trained weapons instructor.
A public records search of campaign filings was made of the incumbent Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas who is seeking another term next year by longtime Peace & Freedom Party activist and Detective’s Diary reporter Irv Sutley. The Freitas financial documents show that the sheriff (whose employee, Deputy Gelhaus is under investigation by the SRPD) has as his campaign committee treasurer one Ernesto Olivares. Mr. Olivares is not only a former high ranking officer of the Santa Rosa Police Department and now a current Santa Rosa city council member but was also formerly city mayor. The Freitas-Olivares connection ordinarily might not have attracted much comment other than being just another example of the old boys network among county law enforcement.
That is until Sutley while going through the Freitas for sheriff campaign documents came across the committee’s physical address: 415 Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, California. This location is property owned by the City of Santa Rosa and is the headquarters of the Recreation, Parks, & Community Service programs of the City of Santa Rosa.
Sutley, a Peace and Freedom Party organizer since February 1967 who served as State Chair from 1970-72, says the filings clearly show that council member Olivares is breaking the law and misusing city assets and city property in furtherance of his personal management of the campaign on behalf of the county sheriff: “No candidate or campaign committee has the right to misappropriate public property or public monies while pursuing their political ambitions. There needs to be an investigation of Ernesto Olivares in this matter. Did the sheriff know and when did he know? The city attorney, the district attorney, the state Attorney General and possibly federal agencies need to look into these Olivares misdeeds in the Steve Freitas campaign. A corrupt individual relationship like this in electoral matters may indicate that there can not be justice for Andy Lopez when these same individuals are and have been part and parcel of ‘investigating’ each other’s ‘good shootings’ which are always held to be justified.”

"Deputy who shot boy with BB gun IDd as gun expert"
2013-10-28 by Henry K. Lee []:
Tonia Coleman hangs clothing printed with Andy Lopez Cruz's image while Fernando Alducin (center), Cristian Sev, Marisol Hernandez and Carlos Sev wait outside Andy's viewing service in Windsor. Photo: Raphael Kluzniok, The Chronicle

This combination of photos provided by the family via The Press Democrat and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department shows an undated photo of 13-year-old Andy Lopez and the replica assault rifle he was holding when he was shot and killed by two Sonoma County deputies in Santa Rosa, Calif. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. Photo: Family Via The Press Democrat, Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, AP

In this photo taken Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013, pictures and written messages mark where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy Tuesday in Santa Rosa, Calif. Ten seconds elapsed between the time sheriff's deputies spotted a Northern California 13-year-old walking with what would turn out to be a replica assault rifle and their report that they had shot the teen, according to police. In that time, they put on the emergency lights of their patrol car, got out of the vehicle and took cover behind a passenger door and issued warnings to the teen to drop the weapon before one of them opened fire, police said. Photo: Conner Jay, AP

In this photo taken Tuesday Oct. 22, 2013, law enforcement investigators cover the body of a 13-year-old boy shot and killed by officers in Santa Rosa, Calif. Two California sheriff's deputies saw the boy walking with what appeared to be a high-powered weapon Tuesday, sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said. The replica gun resembled an AK-47, according to a photograph released by the sheriff's office. Deputies learned after the shooting that it wasn't an actual firearm, according to O'Leary. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene. The deputies, who have not been identified, have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard after a shooting, O'Leary said. Photo: Conner Jay, AP

The Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who killed a 13-year-old boy after mistaking his toy AK-47 for a real rifle was identified Monday as a firearms instructor, hunter and war veteran who in the past has warned other officers that they may need to use lethal force to survive an encounter.
Deputy Erick Gelhaus, 48, had broad experience with guns - even relative to others in his profession - before he fatally shot Andy Lopez Cruz last Tuesday just outside Santa Rosa, an incident that has prompted community outrage.
Gelhaus is a frequent contributor to law enforcement magazines and online forums in which he promotes officer safety. He served as an infantry squad leader in Iraq, according to his online profiles, and he describes himself as an avid hunter in North America as well as Africa.
He once accidentally shot himself in the leg in 1995 while on duty with the Sheriff's Office - reportedly while holstering a gun. However, officials said he has not fired upon a suspect in 24 years with the agency, where he serves as a field training officer for new recruits and trains colleagues to shoot at the department's gun range.
Gelhaus pondered such a possibility in a 2008 article for S.W.A.T., a monthly magazine that focuses on policing, weaponry and gun rights.
"Today is the day you may need to kill someone in order to go home," he wrote. "If you cannot turn on the 'mean gene' for yourself, who will? If you find yourself in an ambush, in the kill zone, you need to turn on that mean gene."
He added, "Taking some kind of action - any kind of action - is critical. If you shut down (physically, psychologically, or both) and stay in the kill zone, bad things will happen to you. You must take some kind of action."

Medal of valor -
Gelhaus received the sheriff's medal of valor in 2004 for rescuing people from a burning car. Records show he served in the Army from 1983 to 1987, the Army Reserve from 1987 to 1995, and the Army National Guard of California from 2003 to 2010. He served in Iraq in 2005.
Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas, who, along with Gelhaus, was part of a gang investigations team in the 1990s, said Monday of the deputy's online postings, "His opinions are his opinions."
Gelhaus is a "respected and solid employee," Duenas said. He said the office did not release the deputy's name earlier out of concern for his safety, after becoming aware of threats.
An attorney for Gelhaus has declined to comment. The deputy is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure, pending investigations by Santa Rosa and Petaluma police and the Sonoma County district attorney's office.
According to Santa Rosa police officials, the shooting happened after Gelhaus and a newly hired deputy he was training pulled up behind Andy. They had seen him walking near his home west of Highway 101 with what appeared to be an assault rifle, officials said, but was actually a plastic BB gun that Andy used to play games with friends.
Gelhaus got out of the vehicle and ordered the boy to drop the gun, which did not have an orange tip - a feature that toy guns must have under federal law. When he didn't drop the gun and turned toward the deputies, Gelhaus fired eight times, fearing for his life, officials said.
The FBI has also launched an independent inquiry to determine whether any federal civil rights violations occurred in the case, said agency spokesman Peter Lee, who declined to elaborate.
Duenas said sheriff's officials welcomed the FBI's involvement in the case, "since there has been discussion and questions regarding an independent review." He said his office would fully cooperate and was glad to have "another set of eyes on this tragic event."
District Attorney Jill Ravitch, meanwhile, urged the public over the weekend to be patient, saying that although the community "wears a shroud of grief" over Andy's killing, her office's investigation would take time.

'Time needed' -
She said she would be unable to release piecemeal accounts of what happened.
"In order for the process to succeed, I ask that we be given the time needed for a deliberate, step-by-step investigation to occur," Ravitch said. "I know we all seek the truth about what occurred on Oct. 22, and there is no one more committed to determining the facts than me."
Andy's family and friends have railed against the Sheriff's Office, saying Gelhaus should have known that the boy was carrying a fake rifle. There have been several protest marches and rallies since his killing, and another is scheduled for noon Tuesday.
At a march Friday, some protesters carried fake guns, and "at least one person displayed the weapon to passing citizens," Santa Rosa police said, adding that officers "were forced to respond to address the situation that created unnecessary risks for all involved."

"Driver says Sonoma deputy pulled gun on him" 
2013-11-01 by Henry K. Lee from "San Francisco Chronicle" []:
The Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy after mistaking his toy AK-47 for a real rifle pulled a gun on a motorist twice during a traffic stop on Highway 101 about two months earlier, the driver said Thursday.
Jeff Westbrook of Santa Rosa said he was mistreated by Deputy Erick Gelhaus after being pulled over Aug. 21 in Cotati for failing to signal a lane change in his BMW. The interaction troubled Westbrook so much that he recalled asking Gelhaus at one point, "Sir, is there something wrong with you?"
"I felt like I was watching somebody I needed to help," said Westbrook, 57, a program manager at an information technology company. "This was not right. He did not manage this correctly."
Gelhaus is on routine paid leave after the Oct. 22 shooting of eighth-grader Andy Lopez Cruz, who was walking with a replica AK-47 pellet gun near his home just outside Santa Rosa. His attorney declined Thursday to comment on Westbrook's allegations.
Gelhaus, who joined the sheriff's office 24 years ago, is a gun expert - an Iraq War veteran and hunter who serves as a field training officer and weapons instructor.
He told investigators he shot Andy because he thought the pellet gun was real and because he felt threatened when the boy turned toward him.
But Andy's friends and relatives believe the deputy overreacted and did not give the boy a chance to put the gun down.
Westbrook said he had hoped to meet with Gelhaus last week to clear the air about what happened during the traffic stop.
He said he had already discussed the incident with Gelhaus' supervisor, telling the sergeant he had concerns about the deputy's "emotional stability."
But a day after Andy was killed, Westbrook received an e-mail from Gelhaus' supervisor saying the deputy would be out of the office "due to unforeseen circumstances."
"Now I find out a child is involved. I am such an irrelevant part of this thing," Westbrook said. "I am devastated. I'm terribly shocked. I'm appalled."
Westbrook said he is now wondering whether he should have pressed his complaints.
"I'm struggling with that now," Westbrook said. "I'm wondering, if I had fought this a little more aggressively - actually waved around like a chimpanzee with my arms in the air to the district attorney's office and come down there physically - that maybe something could have changed. I don't know."
Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said Thursday that he could not discuss Westbrook's traffic stop because it was a personnel issue and part of an internal investigation.
Westbrook said he and a colleague were traveling south on Highway 101 near Highway 116 when Gelhaus pulled them over and then approached the BMW on the passenger side.
There wasn't much room on the side of the highway, Westbrook said, so he rolled down his window and offered to move the car. That's when Gelhaus pulled a gun on him and yelled at him to turn the car off, Westbrook said. He said he responded that the car was already off.
According to Westbrook, Gelhaus returned to his cruiser to write a ticket. Several minutes later, the driver said, Gelhaus asked him to walk back to his cruiser and then pulled a gun on him a second time, asking him if he had any weapons before frisking him.
Westbrook said he finally asked the deputy why he had pulled him over, with Gelhaus referring to an illegal lane change. Westbrook said that's when he asked the deputy if he was OK. Gelhaus didn't answer, he said.

"Deputy who shot Santa Rosa boy identified"
2013-10-28 by Brett Wilkinson & Derek Moore from "The Press Democrat" ['d#page=0]:  Staff writers Julie Johnson, Randi Rossmann and Paul Payne and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who fired the shots that killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez last week is a firearms expert, Iraq War veteran and prolific contributor to magazines and online forums dealing with guns and police use of force.
The Sheriff's Office confirmed Sunday that Deputy Erick Gelhaus, 48, fired the shots. A 24-year veteran of the office, Gelhaus has been a frequent advocate in his writing for a prepared, aggressive stance in law enforcement, a profession he has described as a "calling" and likened to a "contact sport."
In a 2008 article he wrote for S.W.A.T. Magazine about strategies for surviving an ambush in the "kill zone," Gelhaus began by describing the "nanoseconds (that) seem like minutes as you scramble to react while simultaneously thinking about your children and spouse."
Sheriff's officials had previously declined to release the deputy's name, citing threats to his safety.
Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Dueñas said the office was still dealing with those threats and would, if necessary, take measures to protect Gelhaus. He said the decision to confirm the deputy's name was based on an awareness that it was starting to circulate publicly.
Gelhaus joined the Sheriff's Office in 1989 and is one of its two dozen field training officers -- a group in charge of training newly hired and newly minted deputies -- in addition to being a firearms instructor and range master with special training in firearms safety and instruction.
He has testified in court as an expert on gangs and narcotics, according to a colleague. In 2004, he was awarded the office's Medal of Valor for pulling occupants of a burning vehicle to safety.
Dueñas on Sunday described Gelhaus as a "solid employee" and proven instructor among the office's 275 deputies and roughly 250 correctional officers.
Gelhaus "has a lot of credibility in the department," said a ranking Sheriff's Office veteran, noting his years in the military and experience vetting new employees. Like others interviewed last week, he would speak only on condition of anonymity because the Sheriff's Office command staff asked employees not to talk to the media about the investigation.
On Tuesday, Gelhaus was with a deputy he had supervised for a month, a new hire with 11 years of experience. Just after 3:14 p.m., they drove up behind Lopez about a half-mile north of the boy's Moorland Avenue home on the southwestern outskirts of Santa Rosa.
Ten seconds later, after the deputies had reported a suspicious person to dispatchers, radioed for backup and issued orders to the boy to drop his weapon, according to Santa Rosa police, Gelhaus opened fire when he saw Lopez -- his back to the deputies -- begin to turn toward him, the barrel of the BB gun rising.
The deputy mistook the BB gun for an assault rifle, investigators said.
Gelhaus fired eight rounds, striking the boy seven times, investigators said. Two shots were fatal, an autopsy determined.
His partner, the trainee, did not fire his weapon, investigators said. Gelhaus and the other deputy were placed on paid administrative leave.
Gelhaus has not returned repeated calls for comment.
Asked about how he is coping, Dueñas said Gelhaus is "doing as best as can be expected."
Sheriff's officials have declined to name the second deputy, citing his partial role as a "witness" in the incident and saying they did not want to interfere with the local investigation being led by Santa Rosa police.
The FBI also is looking into the shooting.
Gelhaus' involvement caused ripples as word leaked out last week among the sheriff's sworn personnel.
"Him of all people . . . that was my first thought," said another ranking sheriff's deputy. "He's a range master; he's respected; he's a go-to guy."
He noted the challenge of distinguishing in a moment's flash a BB gun -- described by police as a "replica AK-47 assault-style rifle" -- with the real thing.
Sheriff Steve Freitas did not respond to requests for comment Sunday.
Gelhaus' decision to fire at Lopez has sparked intense criticism of law enforcement and touched off a debate about whether the deputy was right to feel threatened and fire his weapon.
"We don't know the reason why they killed him; they should know if a gun is real," said Katia Ontiveros, 18, one of hundreds of local residents who joined protests and vigils last week in the shooting's aftermath.
But Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina, said officers are typically justified in the use of deadly force when they sincerely believe lives are at stake.
If the teen was raising the barrel of the gun toward officers, they had little choice about firing, Alpert told the Associated Press.
"If it's a pink bubble-gum gun and an obvious fake to most, then there is no reason to shoot," he said. "But if the gun looks real, the barrel is being pointed at you . . . it's unfortunate, but a perceived threat trumps age, and the officers have to protect themselves."
Aside from those assigned to substations, sheriff's deputies generally do not have specific beats. Gelhaus, nevertheless, would have been familiar with the area of southwest Santa Rosa where he was on patrol Tuesday, Dueñas said.
"Most deputies are," he said.
The area has had an uneasy relationship with law enforcement and long been confronted by a high concentration of assaults and gang and drug activity, according to Dueñas, who grew up in the neighborhood and went to the same schools as Lopez.
He touched only in general terms on how the area's past might have affected the deputies' actions in their encounter with the boy.
"For any situation, you're going to take into it the totality of what you know," plus information you gather, he said. It would be oversimplifying to say: "We go into any given neighborhood and say 'This is a bad neigbhorhood.' "
Dueñas did not have access Sunday to records detailing the level of Sheriff's Office patrol in the neighborhood, statistics on crime or answers about whether deputies had been in the area in the days before the shooting.
Dueñas said Gelhaus has served as a training officer since 2007. The role includes instruction in a wide range of operations, including arrest procedures, citizen contacts and office policies. It requires years of experience, good judgment and careful evaluation of co-workers, Dueñas said.
"They're good deputies. They're good performers," he said, speaking of the group.
He said he was not aware of any office policy that would have prohibited the trainee from firing his weapon. As to why he didn't and Gelhaus did, "Santa Rosa police will be looking into that," he said.
Gelhaus' role as a firearms instructor dates back to at least 1995. In an accident that made the news that year, he shot himself in the leg with his service handgun while holstering the gun to frisk a teen for weapons.
Aside from that incident, Gelhaus has not been involved in a shooting while working with the Sheriff's Office, Dueñas said.
His military career spans roughly 10 years, according to Sheriff's Office records, and includes service in the Army and National Guard.
An online profile posted on LinkedIn states that Gelhaus served as a non-commissioned officer with the Army National Guard from 2004 to 2010. While serving in Iraq, he reportedly supervised a heavy weapons squad and testified in court trials of insurgents.
He also is an adjunct instructor, according to his LinkedIn profile, for Gunsite Academy, an Arizona company that teaches markmanship, gun-handling and other skills to military personnel, law enforcement and "free citizens of the U.S."
In his writing, he cuts an usually high profile, with a voluminous number of online posts and magazine articles. They shed some light on his worldview and outlook on law enforcement.
He wrote for S.W.A.T. in 2008 that among the things he tells his trainees early on is that "Today is the day you may need to kill someone in order to go home."
"If you cannot turn on the 'Mean Gene' for yourself, who will?" he wrote. "If you find yourself in an ambush, in the kill zone, you need to turn on that mean gene."
Dueñas, asked to provide some law enforcement context that would explain the comments, said "the statement is just saying that today is the day you may have to engage and fight for your life."
"From an officer perspective, the reality is you could be making a traffic stop and walk back to the car and have someone shoot at you," Dueñas said.
As a prolific poster and moderator on The Firing Line, an online forum for gun enthusiasts hosted by S.W.A.T, Gelhaus, using his real name, offers his opinions on everything from weapons and technology, law enforcement and military tactics, and what it's like to work as a sheriff's deputy.
Gelhaus' participation in the forum was confirmed Friday by Denny Hansen, S.W.A.T.'s editor-in-chief.
In one revealing thread, forum members debated whether the use of force is justified if someone brandishes or fires a BB gun at another person.
Gelhaus chimed in, writing that "It's going to come down to YOUR ability to articulate to law enforcement and very likely the Court that you were in fear of death or serious bodily injury.
"I think we keep coming back to this, articulation -- your ability to explain why -- will be quite significant," Gelhaus wrote.
A jury in 2002 found that Gelhaus and the Sheriff's Office were not liable in a civil lawsuit alleging excessive force in a 1997 incident against two minors, Karla and Israel Salazar. The pair were walking on Kenton Court when an officer approached Israel in the belief he had escaped from police custody, according to court records submitted by attorneys representing the minors.
Israel muttered, "f------ pigs," prompting a fight that drew a crowd of up to 75 onlookers and other officers, including Gelhaus, who struck the boy in the leg with a flashlight, records show.
Criminal charges of resisting arrest were later dropped. But the family sued in Sonoma County civil court, alleging the minors' rights were violated..
In another online post, Gelhaus described his tenure as a deputy as a time of "the good, bad, terrible & indifferent," and advised one person asking for career advice to consider the potential of having to face the "very rare" situation of "having to take a life so that you survive and go home to yours."
"The time to make that decision is now, not at 1 a.m. in a muddy ditch or garbage-filled parking lot," Gelhaus wrote.

"Boy with toy rifle had 7 bullet wounds" 
2013-10-24 by Henry K. Lee and Kurtis Alexander from "San Francisco Chronicle" []:
The 13-year-old boy who was killed by police while carrying a toy assault rifle near his home outside Santa Rosa was struck seven times by bullets fired by a 24-year veteran of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, authorities said Thursday.
An autopsy by the county coroner on eighth-grader Andy Lopez Cruz found that two of the wounds were fatal, one in the right side of his chest and the second in his right hip, said Lt. Paul Henry of the Santa Rosa Police Department, one of the agencies investigating Tuesday's shooting.
Andy was also shot in his right wrist, left biceps, right forearm, right buttocks and right hip, Henry said. He said the deputy, who has not been identified, fired a total of eight rounds. He did not say how many of those bullets hit the boy; it's possible one or more of the bullets could have caused multiple wounds.
About 3 p.m. Tuesday, the deputy and a rookie deputy he was training spotted Andy walking on Moorland Avenue just west of Highway 101 with what appeared to be an assault rifle in his left hand, authorities said. The rookie deputy, who was driving, pulled behind Andy, who wore a blue hoodie and shorts.
According to the account from Santa Rosa police, both deputies got out of the car and took cover behind open doors. The veteran deputy twice shouted, "Put the gun down," before Andy turned to his right, authorities said.
The veteran deputy reported that he fired after fearing for his life because the rifle barrel was "rising up and turning in his direction," police said. At a news conference, officials displayed the replica rifle Andy carried - an air gun that shot plastic projectiles - alongside a real AK-47, saying the two looked similar.
The rookie deputy, who was hired last month, did not fire any shots, said Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas. That deputy had served 11 years with another police agency, said Duenas, who declined to identify that agency.
The shooting has prompted outrage in Santa Rosa and beyond. Andy's family members and friends have blasted the sheriff's office, saying the deputy who fired overreacted to a situation that did not require deadly force.
On Thursday, a tribute to Andy grew at the site of the shooting. Hundreds of people stopped at the memorial to pay their respects, and many shared concerns about what happened.
One sign in the field where Andy died read, "Wanted for Murder: Sonoma County Sheriff."
"I don't understand. I think if anyone would know what a real gun would look like it would be a police officer," said Elizabeth Cardenas, who used to live next door to Andy's family. "He was a good boy."
Luis Diaz, 13, a close friend of Andy Lopez Cruz, said his best friend should not have been shot. Photo: Kurtis Alexander, The Chronicle

Thursday, October 24, 2013

LaMarr R. Alexander Sr. (d.2006-04-11, Elk Grove)

Mary McIntyre writes:
my Son, LaMarr R. Alexander Sr., was beat and shot in the back by officer Jason Kearsing of the Elk Grove, CA police department on 4/11/2006.
I say it time for the CHICKENS TO COME HOME TO ROOST!
 I say it would be JUSTICE.
THANK YOU, [Signed] A Childless Mother (Mary McIntyre)
Thats his picture posted here next to mine.

this is Jason Kearsing of the Elk Grove, CA police department. He is the low down dirty dog that beat, kicked and shot my child in the back and the entire department lied about it. He said he could tell my son was his size, my son was 5" 6 and 170 pounds. Jason is over 6 feet and 200 pounds lifting 501 pound weights (see video). He is a seriod lover and loved to make inmates fight when he worked at the sac county jail so he could get the change to kick people in their heads. He has since beat another young man in elkd grove, google his name and see for yourself. jason kearsing, elk grove, ca. may he run up on the wrong person real soon. I have some spit for his grave...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Human Rights abuse ignored by Office of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla

Justice for Mario Romero! [link]
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla is a member of the Democrat Party, which, while supposedly of a liberal political spectrum, will not advocate for justice against Police terrorism and criminal conduct against the People.

2013-10-21 message from Cyndi Mitchell:
Here's Susan Bonilla's office number [916-319-2014]
Please flood her office with calls and ask why she's refusing to meet with us regarding officer involved shootings in Solano County!
Weeks ago I requested a meeting with my state representative Susan Bonilla for the October 22, 2013 rally date. after a couple of calls today I was able to speak with Mrs. Bonilla's Executive assistant Suzette Adkins who informed me that my issue was not in Mrs. Bonilla's jurisdiction....
Yes you read that correctly... she informed me that this was a city issue and not a state issue and referred me to district director Tomi Van De Brooke.
I informed her that I did not agree with her statement as well as informed her the numerous officer involved shooting that have occurred in California , she is obviously uninformed and comfortable with denying constituents the right to meet with their state representative.
I received a follow up email from Mrs. Adkins regarding our phone conversation.
I have listed it below with my response:
2013-10-21 message from Suzette Adkins to Cyndi Mitchell:
Good afternoon, Ms. Mitchell. Thank you for your meeting request. My apologies in the delay in getting back to you. Unfortunately, Assemblywoman Bonilla will not be available to meet with you, this issue is out of Assemblywoman Bonilla’s jurisdiction. However, District Director, Tomi Van de Brooke will be available to discuss this with you further and will contact you.
Thank you for your meeting request again, and my apologies in the delay in getting back to you.
Sincerely, Suzette

2013-10-21 response from Cyndi Mitchell to Suzette Adkins
Good Afternoon Suzette,
I just want to take the time to thank you for responding to my meeting request for 14th District Assembly Representative, Susan Bonilla, I am disappointed to know this issue does not fall within the jurisdiction of Mrs. Bonilla and I just want to confirm that she is aware of my meeting request, as well as my concern regarding officer involved shootings and the death of Mario Romero.
I do look forward to meeting District Director Tomi Van De Brooke in regards to this matter, but I am still left a bit puzzled when it comes to subjects that my state representative can and cannot hear.
Per our conversation today, you informed me that this was a city issue and not a state issue, and as I expressed my disagreement with your statement while informing you of the numerous amount of officer involved shootings in the state of California as well as the lack of enforcement when it comes to drug and alcohol testing as well as psychological evaluations for police officers.
It is my understanding that my state representatives responsibilities include helping move communities forward as well as addressing constituent concerns, I am not aware of their being a jurisdiction requirement for addressing such concerns, this in return makes me question if my representative only represents certain people, organizations or special interest groups. I submitted my request for a meeting in a timely fashion and I am still interested in meeting with Mrs. Bonilla, so again I must ask if she is aware of my requests to meet with her on October 22, 2013 as she is my state representative and I am entitled to meet with her to address my concerns.
Thank you for your time and prompt response. Cyndi Mitchell

Friday, October 18, 2013

"No Justice No Peace: California's Battle Against Police Brutality & Racist Violence" video documentary

"'NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE': New documentary on the battle against police brutality. An original film on the fight-back movement in California"
2013-10-18 []:
This film is an original documentary by Liberation News about the growth of a new, dynamic people's movement against police brutality.
The film is centered around the organizing efforts of more than 40 families of police brutality victims for a statewide march in Anaheim, Calif., on July 21, 2013--the one-year anniversary of the historic uprising against the Anaheim police after the killing of Manuel Diaz and a subsequent violent attack on neighbors who peacefully objected. It features footage from significant demonstrations leading up to July 21; the organizing efforts of participants; interviews with families, attorneys, activists and leaders in the police brutality movement; and the powerful July 21 action that shut down the Anaheim police station.
This documentary was made by Los Angeles filmmaker Ben Huff. He also a teacher at the California Institute of the Arts. It was co-filmed and produced by ANSWER activist and organizer Krissana Limlamai.
To order a copy of the DVD or to host a screening, call 323-394-3611 or email

"No Justice No Peace: California's Battle Against Police Brutality & Racist Violence"
2013-10-19 from "Liberation News" []:
This film is an original Liberation News documentary about the struggle against police brutality and racist violence in California. The film is centered around the organizing efforts of more than 30 families of police brutality victims, who came together for a statewide march in Anaheim, CA, on July 21, 2013. This was the one year anniversary of the historic uprising against the Anaheim police after the killing of Manuel Diaz and a subsequent violent attack on neighbors who peacefully objected. It features footage from significant demonstrations leading up to July 21st, the organizing efforts of participants, and interviews with families, activists and leaders in the police brutality movement.
It also chronicles the reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict, which coincidentally was announced just a week prior to the march in Anaheim. Within the protests that followed the announcement, the film takes a look at the racist nature of the justice system and how the murder of Trayvon Martin is inextricably linked to the movement against police brutality.
More than 50 families of innocent people killed by police officers ended up joining the protest on July 21st, along with around 1000 supporters. This network of families, activists and organizations continues to grow as part of a nationwide movement against police brutality and racist violence.
For an in-depth look at the testimonies at the Anaheim Police Department on July 21, 2013 please check out this video (posted below).

"Families Give Powerful Testimony at March & Rally Shutting Down Anaheim Police HQ"
2013-07-26 from "ANSWER coalition" []:
On July 21st, 2013, the ANSWER Coalition along with over 30 families who's loved ones were ruthlessly murdered by police officers across California marched though downtown Anaheim to the police headquarters against police brutality. It coincided with the one year anniversary of Manuel Diaz by Anaheim police, the subsequent police attack on families capture by a cell phone camera, and the days of rebellion against rampant police violence that followed. Every victim represented by these families was unarmed and innocent, yet not a single has had to answer for their crimes. This march and rally was historic and the first time so many families came together for one untied action. The movement continues to build as more and more families have united on a single front to combat the racist, oppressive and unchecked law enforcement system. ANSWER stands with all victims of police brutality and will continue to work with all families and victims in order to bring real change.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Justice for Kayla Moore!

People's Investigation: Kayla Xavier Moore
2013-10-14 message from Annie Paradise at Berkeley Copwatch:
The People's Investigation into the death of Kayla Xavier Moore is preparing to release a report of its findings at a press conference on Wednesday, October 16th in Berkeley. Kayla died in custody of the Berkeley Police Department on February 13, 2013. Over the course of the last 8 months, the People's Investigation has interviewed witnesses and met with various groups; organized a birthday memorial celebration and rallies and speak outs to demand the release of the police investigation report and the coroner's report; hosted community gatherings to discuss concerns around police responding to mental health crisis calls; and has analyzed police actions, documents, and policies related to this incident. From this, Berkeley Copwatch prepared a report of the findings and list of recommendations. We are hoping that you will join us at the press conference for the release of this report this Wednesday at 4pm at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1947 Center Street in Berkeley.
For the press release, please see below. For a link to the full report, please see [].
"Copwatch to Release Findings of People’s Investigation, Demand that Police Review Commission to hold Special Hearing into the Death Of Kayla Moore"
Press Conference and Rally
WHERE: Veterans Memorial Building, 1947 Center Street, Berkeley, CA.
WHEN:  Wednesday October 16th , 2013 4pm
According to a detailed report just released by a People’s Investigation, the in-custody death of Xavier Christopher Moore never should have happened.  A coalition of groups and individuals will convene in front of the Police Review Commission offices on Wednesday October 16th at 4pm  to submit the necessary signatures to administratively compel the Police Review  Commission to hold a special hearing. Our goal is to present the report to the Commission and allow members of the public to express their concerns.
“I think the report is eye opening and extremely accurate in terms of what is going on with mental health services in Berkeley. The lack of those services means that police are the first responders to people in mental health crisis and they are not trained for these situations,” said Maria Moore, sister to Kayla Moore. “Our family is completely in the dark regarding what  the city intends to do about  this situation. We hope that the report and special hearing will act as a catalyst for the PRC and the City Council to take action.”
Although the PRC maintains that it began an investigation in March, no findings have been released or updates on their investigation made public. Berkeley  Copwatch convened a variety of individuals and sources to find out what actually happened to Xavier Moore, also known as Kayla, when police entered her home on February 13th 2013. The People’s Investigation directly interviews witnesses and reviews documents in order to make a honest appraisal of a particular event and provide findings to the community.
After a thorough examination of witness statements, police policies, mental health budgets, police reports, after interviewing Moore's neighbors and family members, the People’s Investigation has reason to believe that, in addition to poor judgment and insufficient training of individual officers, there is a lack of city services, funding and policies about how to humanely provide emergency mental health services to the people of Berkeley. The reports identifies these as factors that contributed to her death.
“The city of Berkeley has slashed the budget for mental health ‘Crisis and Assessment’ in half since 2011. People in crisis are treated like criminals instead of patients. The Berkeley Police Association repeated their calls for tasers in response to a recent episode involving a mentally ill man. Are tasers really going to be the way that Berkeley provides mental health care? It is time that our city comes to terms with the fact that people are dying because we don’t provide adequate mental health services,” said Andrea Prichett of Berkeley Copwatch.

2013-07-11 "Father of Berkeley Sgt Tied to Kyla Moore Case on Police Review Commission"
by Berkeley News []:
On the evening of July 10th, the Berkeley police review commission welcomed its newest member, John Cardoza. The new commissioner, appointed by city council member Gordon Wozniak is the father of a police sergeant with ties to the Kyla Moore case, and the April 30th city council meeting in which police entered chambers. What has Berkeley city government done?
* New Commissioner John Cardoza appointed by City Council Member Gordon Wozniak. []
* Cardoza, Berkeley Police, Kyla Moore []
Interview with Sgt Cardoza:
Berkeley Sgt Cardoza was present during the death of resident Kyla Moore, who was placed under arrest despite going through a mental health crisis. Now the father of Sgt. Cardoza sits on the Berkeley Police Review Commission, after being appointed by city council member Gordon Wozniak.
The sergeant was not at the scene during the initial arrest of Kyla Moore, according to given testimony. Cardoza arrived with the paramedics as CPR was being applied to Kyla Moore, who stopped breathing while being detained for police transport. The sergeant was also involved in a follow up incident in which Berkeley police entered city council chambers to briefly detain members of Kyla Moore's family and the general public who were requesting updates on the investigation into Moore's death. The police entered chambers and silenced speakers without an official warning by Mayor Tom Bates.
During their recent meeting, the Berkeley police review commission was presented with a complaint regarding the police's actions during the April city council allotment for public comment. Despite the fact Sgt Cardoza was involved in the incident, it was not mentioned during the meeting that there is a conflict of interest to have the the elder Cardoza on the commission. The complainant, and supporting members of the public issued their concerns with commissioner Cardoza present.
There are many unresolved threads from the death of Kyla Moore. Members of the public have asked for an affirmation of mental health rights, demanding a rethinking of policies involving police interactions with people who have mental health issues. However, the police review commission as well as the city council have repeatedly ignored calls for change.
Of all the people in Berkeley's district 8, it was not explained during the meeting why Sgt Cardoza's father was chosen. It can be assumed it is not a coincidence, and it was a politically orchestrated move, perhaps a decision heavily influenced by the police. Awkward at its least, insensitive at its most, the appointment of John Cardoza by Gordon Wozniak is controversial at its very essence. Wozniak is the most conservative member of Berkeley city council, and frequently votes against or abstains from voting on civil rights proposals.
Placing Sgt Cardoza's father on the Berkeley police review commission will further the current debate, and increase public scrutiny into Berkeley politics.

2013-04-18 "Officer Frankel Claims That NOBODY Killed Kayla Moore"
by "" []:
Officer Frankel insinuated today that medical reports would conclude Berkeley police were not responsible for the death of Kayla Moore, a transgendered person who died in police custody on February 12, 2013. Since her death, Berkeley police have released a single statement that was both brief and vague.
Nobody Killed Kayla Moore?

"April 17th: Celebrating Kalya (Xavier) Moore, killed by Berkeley Police"
message from Annie at "Berkeley Copwatch" []:
Greetings all, We are working with the family of Kayla (Xavier) Moore, killed by Berkeley police on February 13, 2013 to organize a joyous birthday celebration and memorial in front of the Gaia building where she was killed. We are also continuing to put pressure on the Berkeley Police. After a birthday celebration mc'd by members of Kayla's family and involving family, friends, and local concerned groups across the Bay Area, we will march to the Berkeley Police Station to deliver a oversized Public Records Act Request to the Berkeley Police Department. We are demanding that they release all information and reports related to Kayla's death to our ongoing People's Investigation.
 Below please find the press release, and attached a flyer for Kayla's birthday celebration and protest.
Please join us in celebrating and remembering Kayla!

2013-04-17 Event Remembering/ Celebrating the life of Kayla (Xavier) Moore on her birthday
Birthday Memorial Celebration
When: 5:00pm, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Where: 2116 Allston Way (near Shattuck Ave.) in Berkeley
Press Conference and delivery of the Public Records Act Request to the police station.
Where: 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley
When: 6:15 PM
CONTACT "Berkeley Copwatch" & "Coalition for a Safe Berkeley"
Andrea Prichett (Berkeley Copwatch) [510-229-0527] []
Diana Bohn (Coalition for a Safe Berkeley) [510-525-5497] [510-926-5871] []  
On what would have been Kayla Moore’s 42nd birthday, we invite all justice (and fun) loving people to join us for a remembrance and get-to-know you event in celebration of her life. You see, we are also forging a movement to demand justice for Kayla Moore. Since the night of February 12, 2013 when police claimed to be responding to a call about a “disturbance” on the 5th Floor of the Gaia Building in downtown Berkeley, the BPD has provided almost no information about what happened that night. According to the Coroner’s office, the BPD has asked that a “hold” be placed on the release of the autopsy report. They say it could take 6-8 months to release.
Quote by Elysse Paige- Moore, stepmother: “Xavier had a very difficult life, but an indomitable spirit. He suffered with mental illness from an early age, struggling throughout his life with paranoid schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress syndrome. He also had a near genius I.Q. and a photographic memory. He was a poet and a gifted singer and oh could he dance, even at 350 lbs! He was generous, and often took in homeless friends giving them shelter and cooking 3 course gourmet meals for them. Despite his challenges, he was resilient and resourceful. His spirit was unbreakable and served as an example to everyone he touched.”
Demands of the Berkeley Police Department:
* Release the police reports on the incident that took place on February 12-13th, 2013.
* Release the Coroner’s Report.
* Publish the investigation results.
As details of the tragic death of 41 year old Berkeley resident Xavier Christopher Moore in police custody begin to emerge, residents are asking why this person died and why police are slow to release information in this case.
According to Berkeley Police, officers were dispatched for a mental health evaluation at about 11:50 pm on February 12, 2013, although neighbors on the same floor heard no disturbance until the police arrived.
After officers appeared at Moore's residence the situation escalated, and shortly thereafter Moore died in police custody. Neighbors observed officers carrying Moore on a gurney, unconscious and in restraints, out of the building. In a city that is known internationally for disability awareness, social consciousness and protection of civil liberties, it is unacceptable that a mental health evaluation should end in death. The District Attorney says that since this is not an officer involved shooting, they are not even investigating the case. We find all of this unacceptable.
We are calling on the Berkeley Police Department to release the police reports and the Coroner’s Report, and to publish the investigation results on the incident that took place on February 12-13th, 2013. If misconduct has occurred, officers must be disciplined. If it was a failure of policy and administration, the public must be allowed to analyze the case and to assist in addressing this breakdown in city services. In any case, we demand that the Berkeley Police Department comply with Public Records Act requests and that they make information about that night’s events available to the public as quickly as possible.

2013-03-14 "Answers! Not Undercovers! Berkeley Police and the Kayla Moore coverup"
by Jacob Crawford []:
On February 12th, 2013 Officers from the Berkeley Police Department killed a transperson named Kayla Moore. In the days to follow, BPD would remain silent on how somebody could just die in their custody.
As the weeks passed, Berkeley Copwatch was able to get some information from the coroner, and on February 28th they held a press conference to call for an investigation into Kayla's suspicious death.
 Berkeley Police would still not come forward with any information.
 On March 12, one month after the killing, a autonomous protest would be held in Berkeley by concerned people from around the bay.
 Instead of bringing answers, Berkeley Police brought undercover units, who would fan out into the march attempting to identify "leaders" of a leaderless march. The march started in People's Park, would go to the police station, and end back by the park without incident.
 If Berkeley Police put as much time, money, and energy into the investigation of Kayla Moore's death, as they did on this particular march, the "investigation" would have been done weeks ago.

2013-03-13 "March for Kayla Moore, Berkeley, California"
by Tom Vee [], posted at []:
On February 12th, Berkeley Police murdered Kayla Moore. Kayla Moore lived with "mental illness" and has been described by friends and family as a Transgender person who "passed as a woman." Exactly one month later on March 12th, while police and corporate media are largely silent about the death, a nighttime march was held to call attention to the lack of accountability for the in-custody murder in Berkeley.

2013-03-12 "March Against Berkeley Police Murder of Kayla Moore (formerly named Xavier)"
Tuesday, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
People's Park, Berkeley, CA
Called for by "Anonymous Queers in Action"
On February 12th Berkeley Police murdered Xavier Moore. Xavier Moore lived with “mental illness” and has been described by friends and family as a Transgender person who “passed as a woman.”
 From Berkeley Copwatch:
 “The BPD’s press release of February 13th says that they responded to “a disturbance call” at Moore’s apartment. Media reports have said this call was related to mental health. If she was going through a mental health crisis, was anyone present trained to respond to that kind of situation, to evaluate, and deescalate? According to an article from February 26th in the Oakland Tribune: “Berkeley: Man who died after struggle with police was severely mentally ill,” rather than take her to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation, when they found out she had an outstanding warrant in San Francisco, they told her they were going to arrest her.
An article in the San Francisco Chronicle dated February 13th “Man dies in struggle with Berkeley police,” mentions “a disturbance between roommates,” as causing the police to arrive. The Daily Californian February 14th article “Man dies after being taken into police custody,” says that other residents heard a “commotion on the fifth floor of the building before the officers arrived on the scene.” None of the witnesses we spoke to heard any sort of commotion or disturbance until after the police arrived. Why the consistent difference? In fact, the police were at Moore’s apartment twice that night. This isn’t mentioned at all by the police or media reports. The police first showed up around 11:00pm, and left without incident. The incident resulting in Moore’s death was the second police visit, occurring around 11:50pm. According to witnesses, when they returned a second time, there was a sizable police presence. Why did they come back an hour later with so many officers? What were they preparing to do?”
Nearly one month later and the Berkeley Police still have not released information as to the cause of Xavier's death, leaving most questions unanswered. However we do know that there was no commotion or overt disturbance prior to BPD's arrival. We know when Berkeley Police arrived at Xavier's home, for the second time in one night, they had police back-up but they did not have a mental health mobile crisis team with them. We know Xavier was alive and not on the verge of death prior to the arrival of the Berkeley Police. We know police regularly murder people of color, gender-variant people, and people with “mental illness.” We also know only one Police Officer in California has been convicted in the death of a civilian and his charges were brought only after massive riots swept Oakland.
Unfortunately Xavier's death is not an anomaly. This past weekend Bay Area Police have murdered four people and watched one woman bleed to death after she was attacked by her abusive ex-husband.
San Francisco Police murdered Aaron Sawyer (23) after he allegedly stole a car on Saturday morning. San Jose Police murdered a man yet to be identified after they deemed him to be “suspicious.” Union City Police shot an unidentified man to death after they pulled him over for an unstated reason. Hayward Police murdered an unidentified man after his car crashed into one of their police cruisers. In the case of Xavier Moore, whether by neglect or intent the result is the same. Xavier Moore is dead. The Berkeley Police killed Xavier Moore.
This is a call for an uncompromisingly militant march against the racist and transphobic Berkeley Police who murdered Xavier Moore. The march will begin at People's Park on Tuesday March 12th at 6:30pm. It is also a call for queer people, trans people, women, and people of color to form a bloc against police murders and harassment at the March Against Capitalism and Police Repression taking place at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland on Friday, March 15th at 8pm

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Northbay MDS: Disruptions and other strange things

This is a catalog of incidents which, altogether, form a pattern of disruption against media, gatherings, and actions produced by the Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), a community network of organizers operating "offline" since 2010, which was part of the larger California MDS network through 2012, when the larger network was disrupted through targeted kidnappings, harassment, staged provocations, and more incidents too numerous to review.
Today, the Northbay MDS continues to operate, producing the "Northbay Uprising" radio news program, organizing solidarity campaigns, and patching together the old California MDS network.
This page will be expanded as stories are posted from the old California MDS archive, although certain individual names will be changed, to protect their identities. Context and memories provided by Northbay MDS Minister of Information Dr.G.

2012-07-16, Dr.G.'s personal email box no longer contains as many emails as he saw that morning. He had spent the day at the People's Picket in San Francisco for Kenneth Harding. The erased emails were from Dr. John Colby, the Santa Rosa Peace & Justice Center, the UNAC / Code Pink communique against Amnesty International’s pro-occupation stance with Afghanistan, and just about everything from SDS-DVC.

2011-12-31, VPD Officer Darden verbally threatened physical harm against the President of the Board of Directors of 89.5 KZCT during a public event in Vallejo, within earshot of witnesses, in retaliation of allowing the broadcast of the "Northbay Uprising" radio news interviews with "Justice for Guy Jarreau!" campaign organizers.

The following message is an example why the old Northbay Uprising radio news program website had to be abandoned...
2011-03-04 message to Northbay MDS Minister of Information Dr.G.:
Thank you so much for the support, it's very kind of you to put my show up on your page []. 
I can't seem to get the page to stay on the same page for more than 5 seconds though, I'm not sure why it does that. I hope your show is going well .
- Sincerely, Savva Vassiliev aka Steve “the Ruskie”, Radio Show Host, “The Propaganda Hour”