Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Federal Police in San Francisco checking for bus fare violations

What is the purpose of the Federal Protective Police of the Department of Homeland Security?
What is their jurisdiction? Are they trained in Human Rights?
How are they utilized alongside municipal police?

2014-02-25 photographs showing USA DHS FPS checking people for their bus fare at 8th & Mission, Sf, Ca.

FBI called in to investigate "Occupy!"-style "anti-wealth" graffiti

Atherton is named the "most expensive ZIP code in America" by Forbes, 2013.

"Feds fight graffiti"
2014-03-03 letter by Richard Parapar of Walnut Creek to the editor of "San Francisco Chronicle" [http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/letterstoeditor/article/Letters-to-the-editor-March-3-5282906.php]:   
Re: "Graffiti on 9 homes targets the wealthy," Feb. 27.    
The FBI is involved with investigating the spray-painting of white picket fences in Atherton? Who decided that was an appropriate use of resources?

"Graffiti? That's our big problem?"
2014-03-01 letter by John Martoni of South San Francisco to the editor of "San Francisco Chronicle"
Re: "Graffiti on 9 homes targets the wealthy" (Feb. 27):
There is graffiti on my back fence weekly. I live in South San Francisco, and I would love it if the "1 percent" in Atherton could let me know how I can get the FBI to investigate graffiti cases in the areas where the other 99 percent live.

"Police Probe Threatening ’1 Percent’ Graffiti Left On Atherton Homes"
2014-02-25 by Brian Webb from "KPIX 5" [http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/02/25/police-probe-threatening-1-percent-graffiti-left-on-atherton-homes/]:

ATHERTON (KPIX 5) – Vandals have targeted one of the Bay Area’s wealthiest communities and their handiwork has gotten the attention of the FBI.
Last Sunday, multi-million dollar homes in Atherton had offensive graffiti sprayed on them. The graffiti was found on walls, fences and even a car.
Many of the messages said “F*** the 1%,” a reference to the income inequality between the top one percent of Americans and the rest of the population.
“It’s terrible,” said one neighbor who identified herself as Diane. “Yeah, it’s a terrible thing to do and to be here in town.”
“We go out and collect evidence and interview neighbors,” said Atherton Police Lt. Joe Wade. “We look for anything we can to lead us to the person who did this.”
One of the writings had a more threatening tone: “kill people.”
Neighbors are on the fence about who did it: Occupy protesters, gang members or teens with time to kill.”
“I don’t have this generation child but I can’t imagine them doing this,” said homeowner Carol Burke. “I think it is someone with an ax to grind.”
“As long as nobody was hurt is the main thing,” said Diane. “And you can always cover it up. “
Atherton Police say it is consulting with other agencies, including the FBI, in an effort to find the vandals. The FBI monitors activist movements such as Occupy Wall Street.

"Graffiti targeting the '1 percent' spray-painted in Atherton neighborhood"
2014-02-26 by Bonnie Eslinger from "San Jose Mercury News" [http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_25228566/graffiti-targeting-1-percent]:
Has Atherton -- named the "most expensive ZIP code in America" by Forbes last year -- become the latest battleground in class warfare?
On Feb. 16, vandals spray-painted the message "F... the 1%" on perimeter walls, fences, garage doors, a gate and a car on at least nine properties in the town's Lindenwood neighborhood, according to Atherton police Lt. Joe Wade.
And on a street in front of one house was scrawled in black paint the words, "Kill People."
As part of its investigation, the Atherton Police Department contacted other local law enforcement agencies as well as the FBI, Wade said.
"We send out notifications to anybody we think might have information," Wade said. "They're (vandals) talking about the 1 percent, that's happening beyond our local reach. Sometimes the FBI will monitor protest groups and things of that nature."
The police department also sent out an announcement informing residents about the graffiti and advising them to keep their homes secure.
The vandalism took place between 6 and 9:30 p.m., along several blocks of Greenoaks Drive and the 100 blocks of Hawthorne, Rosewood and Heather drives, Wade said.
He said police have sought private security camera footage from residents, but so far have come up empty. Some residents don't have surveillance cameras and others didn't have them focused on the areas where vandals struck or didn't have them turned on, Wade said.
Without leads or suspects, Atherton Town Manager George Rodericks cautioned against jumping to conclusions.
"We don't know if it was an organized group or a couple of teenagers," he said.
During the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that sprung in 2011, protesters tarred capitalist institutions such as banks and the very rich as "the 1 percent" and referred to themselves as "the 99 percent."
Although the Occupy protests have since mostly fizzled, venture capitalist Tom Perkins made headlines earlier this month when he suggested the sentiment remains. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Perkins said he perceived "a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent" and compared the vilification of the wealthy to the persecution of Jews by the Nazis.
In 2012, the median income of an Atherton household was $228,393, according to U.S. Census data. The tree-lined Lindenwood neighborhood, off Middlefield Road, is home to old-money families and Silicon Valley leaders, including Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman.
A neighborhood resident pushing her 3-year-old son in a stroller Tuesday afternoon said she hadn't heard about the graffiti and now feels a little worried.
"It makes sense that it would happen in this neighborhood," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

"Anti-wealth graffiti rattles rich enclave"
2014-02-25 by Robert Frank from "CNBC" [http://www.cnbc.com/id/101444042]:
The Occupy movement seems to have moved West.
After a wave of anti-wealth protests in San Francisco, the nearby, posh town of Athertond, Calif., is having its brush with populism.
The Atherton Police Department said it's investigating graffiti that was spay-painted on vehicles, garage doors, fences and gates in the town's Lindenwood neighborhood. Atherton is one of the richest towns in California, with manicured lawns, sprawling mansions and billionaire residents that have included Charles Schwab , Eric Schmidt and Meg Whitman .
The Atherton Police said the vandalism occurred early in the evening on Sunday, Feb. 16, and included "anti-wealth" phrases like "F--- the 1 percent."
(Read more: Wealthy's worry: Don't hate me because I'm rich )
The graffiti may just be another case of a few kids making mischief, but because of the heated political climate over wealth, and rising class tensions in San Francisco, the police informed the FBI.
The bureau commonly tracks activist movements like Occupy Wall Street. Atherton Town Manager George Rodericks said that because the language in the graffiti is "similar to the Occupy folks," the town wanted to alert the FBI.
"The nature of the graffiti was the 1 percent issue," Rodericks said. "So they wanted to alert the FBI."
(Read more: The poor should stop whining, says luxury CEO )
The Atherton Police advised locals to "keep your property gates closed, your house doors and windows secured, your exterior lights on during hours of darkness, and your vehicles locked with no valuables kept inside the passenger compartment. Also, make sure to use your home security system on a regular basis. "
The vandalism follows a controversial letter in The Wall Street Journal last month by San Francisco venture capitalist Tom Perkins, saying that the American wealthy are being persecuted like the German Jews were before World War II.
Perkins later apologized for the comment, but it brought into sharp focus growing tensions in the Bay Area over rising tech wealth and its impact on the community.
(Read more: Five tycoons who mind the gap )
Rodericks said people in Atherton are generally not worried about the graffiti issue, since Atherton is one of the safest towns in America. But he said he hoped Athertonians would maintain their level of vigilance.
"We would hope our residents are at that (high) level of awareness every day," he said.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Vallejo Police Officer Jim Capoot

This case study in included because there have been indications and off-the-record verbal interviews with people close to the case that the murder of Vallejo PD Officer Jim Capoot was done by crooked cops to silence an honest cop...
Support Cyndi Mitchell and the campaign for Justice for her brother, Mario Romero, and all victims of state terror [facebook.com/mitchellcyndi]. In a relation with the Capoot murder case, she writes,
"ON January 11, 2014, I shared this story ("Judge to review Vallejo officers' files in Capoot slaying probe"), I know that I am not the only one who knows that the Vallejo Police are responsible for Capoots death. Today my car was illegally towed by Vallejo Police Officer Peppino Messina aka first police officer on the scene of Capoots murder... not only sis he tow my car today illegally, he was caught on the inside of my car on January 1, 2014 at 9:00pm at night, and has been prowling around my moms neighborhood in the middle of the night. Today he also threatened my moms landlord telling him to evict her or else. Sounds like a direct threat to me what do you think? I will be posting this creeps picture shortly along with additional information. This man killed Capoot and covered it up. now he wants to silence those who know the truth."

"Judge to review Vallejo officers' files in Capoot slaying probe"
2014-01-11 by Ryan Chalk from "The Vacaville Reporter" [http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_24891302/judge-review-vallejo-officers-files-capoot-slaying-probe]:
FAIRFIELD -- A Solano County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that he will review the personnel files of four Vallejo police officers after attorneys for a Fairfield man accused of killing Vallejo police Officer Jim Capoot alleged that Capoot's fellow officers were mistaken or lied in their investigation.
Judge Peter B. Foor issued his ruling after months of considering a Pitchess motion filed by attorneys for Henry Albert Smith Jr., 40. Smith is facing the death penalty in connection with Capoot's slaying on Nov. 17, 2011.
In his ruling, Foor gave a glimpse of the defense's position -- that Smith has been wrongfully charged with murder in a case of mistaken identity, and that police were either wrong or lied in their statements.
The declarations made by Smith's defense team, two of the Public Defender's top attorneys, have been kept under seal, and Chief Deputy Public Defender Oscar Bobrow objected to Foor's on-the-record comment that "bias is alleged throughout (the motion) as a motive to fabricate."
In all, 15 Vallejo police officers were identified in the defense motion, all of whom had some connection to the Nov. 17, 2011, investigation of Capoot's death.
Smith is alleged to have robbed a Bank of America branch on Springs Road that day, leading to a pursuit through the city that ended in North Vallejo, where Capoot, 45, is believed to have chased him into a back yard on Janice Street.
According to testimony at a November 2012, probable-cause hearing, arriving officers found Capoot lying on the ground in an open area of the yard, having been shot. Capoot, a veteran Vallejo officer, lived in Vacaville.
Smith was apprehended down the street from where the shooting occurred. Officers recovered a .40-caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun in his left-front pocket, police testified.
A criminalist with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office testified that three bullet casings were recovered in the back yard, among other evidence. Those shell casings were analyzed by a firearms and toolmarks examiner for the same agency. The examiner testified that the shell casings were traced back to the gun found on Smith.
Foor indicated he would review personnel files for an officer who claimed to see Smith pass by him in an SUV driving at a high rate of speed, and that of another officer who stated that he had seen Smith running from Capoot, and Capoot giving chase. Also to be reviewed are personnel files of two officers present when police arrested Smith and allegedly found a gun in his possession, all of which are claims that Smith's defense team denies.
Foor said he would conduct the file review in regard to issues of credibility, truthfulness and bias.
Smith has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm, including all enhancements and special allegations.
A jury trial is set to begin Aug. 19. The dual phase trial could take up to six months to complete.
Smith remains in Solano County Jail custody without bail.

"Defense attorneys won't get records related to police involved in Capoot investigation"
2014-02-19 by Ryan Chalk from "The Vacaville Reporter" [http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_25177199/defense-attorneys-wont-get-records-related-police-involved]:
FAIRFIELD -- Defense attorneys for a Fairfield man accused of killing Vallejo police Officer Jim Capoot in 2011 will get no records related to the police officers involved in the investigation, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Attorneys for murder defendant Henry Albert Smith Jr., 40, who is facing the death penalty in connection with the officer's slaying had sought information from the police officer's personnel files that would indicate they could have been biased, mistaken or lied in their investigation. The ruling came after months of considering a the motion filed by Smith's attorneys.
During a hearing last month, Foor indicated that 15 Vallejo police officers were identified in the defense motion, all of whom had some connection to the Nov. 17, 2011, investigation of Capoot's death. Foor said he would review the files for four of those officers.
On Tuesday, Foor stated that he had completed the review of the officers' personnel records and that there was nothing that would be released to defense attorneys.
Smith is alleged to have robbed a Bank of America branch on Springs Road, leading to a pursuit through the city that ended in North Vallejo. That is where Capoot, 45, is believed to have chased Smith into a back yard on Janice Street.
According to testimony at a November 2012 probable-cause hearing, officers soon followed, only to find Capoot lying on the ground in an open area of the yard, having been shot. Capoot, a veteran Vallejo officer, lived in Vacaville.
Smith was apprehended down the street from where the shooting occurred. Officers recovered a .40-caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun in his left-front pocket, police testified.
A criminalist with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office testified that three bullet casings were recovered in the back yard, among other evidence.
Those shell casings were analyzed by a firearms and toolmarks examiner for the same agency. The examiner testified that the shell casings were traced back to the gun found on Smith.
However, Tuesday's hearing shed more light into an internal investigation into the work of Solano County's former chief pathologist.
Prosecutors on Tuesday handed over to Smith's defense counsel records related to Dr. Susan Hogan, who Solano County Sheriff's officials said retired in December. Questions regarding the pathologist's separation from the county surfaced last month in an unrelated homicide trial when prosecutors announced that she was refusing to testify in court, causing a delay.
Prosecutors said that the documents shared with Smith's defense counsel were related to an investigation into Hogan's job performance, dating back to 2009.
The investigation centered on four separate cases amid concerns that her, "performance may have been below the standards of the profession," and other claims, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors have identified 37 cases that Hogan has been involved in in which her employment records may become relevant.
Smith was ordered back to court at 8:30 a.m. on March 11 for a readiness conference.
Smith has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm, including all enhancements and special allegations.
A jury trial is set to begin Aug. 19. The dual phase trial could take up to six months to complete.
Smith remains in Solano County Jail custody without bail.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Private Patrols used to supplement Police presence

"Private patrols not the answer for Oakland crime"
2013-10-16 By Sarah Pritchard from "Oakland Local" (Community Voices) [http://oaklandlocal.com/2013/10/private-patrols-not-the-answer-for-oakland-crime-community-voices/]:
Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland.
I am a young, white freelance dancer and nonprofit communications professional. I have lived in the same apartment in Rockridge for three years. I am part of gentrification in Oakland, and I am extremely disturbed by the recent crowdfunding campaigns to introduce private security patrols in my neighborhood.
Rockridge is known for its tree-lined streets and craftsman style homes, tech professionals who commute to San Francisco and beyond, and moms pushing their designer strollers down College Avenue. But I know that my neighborhood is much more than that. In my neighborhood, there are also public housing residents. There are people experiencing homelessness, and there are working families. In my neighborhood, there are young artists like me—holding tight to the rental rates we locked in a few years ago. In short, Rockridge is just as complex as the city it belongs to. That’s why I like living here, and that’s why I am concerned about the implications of the success of these crowdfunding campaigns.
Private security companies aren’t subject to the same oversight and accountability as publically funded police departments. Their officers aren’t required to receive the same level of training, nor are they required to hold transparent policies on things like racial profiling. In fact, it is common for officers who have been fired from multiple police force jobs to seek employment as private security guards. In 2009, Lori Pixley won a wrongful death lawsuit against a San Diego security company after learning that the guard who shot and killed her son hadn’t provided any professional references.
A private security force that isn’t accountable or transparent in its policies doesn’t make me feel safer in my neighborhood. It makes me feel threatened, because I know that my neighbors of color are more likely to be profiled than I am. Because I know the impact that increased policing has on marginalized communities, and I don’t want to be part of a neighborhood that turns teenagers on their way home from the corner store into suspects.
The private security firm isn’t the only thing that lacks transparency in this process. It seems profoundly undemocratic that a few people who can afford to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign are able to decide for the rest of us who live here that private security will make us all safer. Unlike the gang injunctions imposed by the Oakland Police Department, there will never be a public hearing on the issue, no research conducted to determine if private security firms actually decrease crime. Although I don’t want a private security patrol on my street, I’ll never have the opportunity to voice my opinion or enter a dialogue with my neighbors. Money has done its talking, and the matter has already been decided.
Ultimately, increased police presence is not the solution to crime in Oakland. According to an article published in the East Bay Express this week, violent crime is down in Oakland, while robberies remain a big problem. This points to the larger problem behind Oakland’s crime rate—persistent income inequality is on the rise with the most recent tech boom, while a fraying safety net leaves more people with fewer options.
The solutions to these problems will not be funded on Crowdtilt. They take real engagement and commitment from policymakers and community members alike. They involve building alternatives to the criminal justice system and supporting the basic services like affordable housing, access to healthy food, healthcare, and quality public education that allow people the opportunity to survive and thrive.
Luckily, there are organizations in Oakland already engaged in re-envisioning our collective future. Organizations like Forward Together, Youth UpRising, Brown Boi Project, Justice for Families, and many others provide Oaklanders with opportunities to build safer communities for everyone—not just those who can afford it.

"Why Private Security Patrols Are Not the Answer: They’re divisive, and they undermine our ability to work together to solve our city’s problems"
2014-02-19 by Joel Tena from "EastBay Express"
We all want what's best for our families, friends, and neighborhoods. We struggle, work, and sacrifice to make the lives of those we love better. It pains us when we see folks we know in trouble, and it is easy to be disturbed and frightened when that trouble hits too close to home. Such is life in Oakland, a place that we "hella" love, yet know has its challenges.
The question for all Oakland residents in dealing with these challenges is how do we find solutions that are forward thinking and have positive outcomes for all, instead of adopting reactionary efforts that give up long-term sustainability for short-term gain for a few? This is the crux of the public safety debate going on right now concerning the rapid growth of private security patrols in the city.
While it's unclear exactly how many areas of Oakland are covered by private patrols right now, an October forum at the Dimond library revealed that upwards of several thousand households were or were about patrolled by private security in the neighborhoods of Maxwell Park, Laurel, Dimond, Oakmore, Rockridge, and Temescal. Given the explosive growth of private security patrols, it's not hard to imagine large parts of Oakland being under their watch in the near future.
It's also easy to understand why some folks might react and turn to something unproven to solve the city's crime problems. Most of us know one or more residents who have been touched by crime in Oakland. In my neighborhood, in the span of one month, there were several burglaries and two home-invasion robberies. A day doesn't go by where I don't think about the safety of my family and community. I want policies that will be efficient and effective at bringing peace, health, and vibrancy to where I live. I also want those policies to be just, forward thinking, and sustainable, which is why I am against these private patrols.
There are no long-term, independent studies on the effectiveness of these patrols. But even if there were evidence that they reduce crime in the areas they serve, I would still be against them — for several reasons.
First, is the issue of the training and protocols of private patrol employees. We live in a diverse urban community, and youth and people of color in our city are often disproportionately targeted and profiled for criminal activity by police. How will this be any different for private security patrols? How is a private patrol guard going to know who is legitimately in a particular neighborhood? Who bestows legitimacy? The patrol guards might become familiar with some residents in the neighborhood, but what if a cousin or friend of my family stops by and decides, as anyone has the right, to go on a walk or pick something up from the corner store? It was poor neighborhood watch training, along with racist sentiments altogether too prevalent in our society, that led to the murder of Trayvon Martin. Even rigorous police training has not prevented many instances of racial profiling and officer abuse, leading up to and including the deaths of innocent, unarmed individuals like Oscar Grant.
Just this past Thursday, a significant and almost deadly occurrence took place that sounds like the result of procedures not being followed and protocols not being adhered to. A private patrol officer in the upper Dimond area stumbled upon a burglary in progress, and then proceeded to chase (against the best practices of other private security firms) a fleeing suspect and, when allegedly threatened, shot and wounded the eighteen-year-old.
While some community members are praising this private security company's actions, others are alarmed that a private patrol officer would use deadly force to apprehend an individual suspected of, among other things, stealing a telescope. Does this theft justify almost killing the young man? Are we ready to take justice out of the courts and into our streets?
This shooting also has led to even more concerns about how to hold these security companies accountable for their training and their actions. What happens if a fellow neighbor or, God forbid, a child just passing through the neighborhood, gets hit by a stray bullet fired by a private patrol officer? Who is responsible? The security company? Many security companies insist on contracts that limit their liability. Are Oakland homeowners willing to risk litigation and large financial judgments against them because of a tragedy they indirectly funded?
Security patrols also threaten our ability to work collectively to solve our problems and represent yet another expansion of privatization. From private school vouchers to the burgeoning for-profit prison industry, the plague of privatization is reducing the amount of resources available to effectively build a safe, healthy, more just society for all residents regardless of wealth.
Private patrols are not free. Folks pay up to $40 a month or $475 a year for these services. But, as residents are paying for these private services, the city desperately needs more funds to meet the many challenges of public safety: More after-school programs; more library hours; more jobs and job training programs, especially for ex-offenders and folks with limited formal education; more violence prevention outreach workers; and more police officers to investigate crimes.
Traditionally, it has been a hard sell for Oakland to raise taxes to pay for more policing. This is because, in many communities, the police are seen as much as part of the problem as they are the solution. How eager will people who pay for private security be to vote in favor of taxes for violence prevention when they are already paying hundreds of extra dollars a year?
For example, Measure Y, a parcel tax, currently funds 63 Oakland police officers, fire prevention services, and violence prevention programs. It sunsets at the end of 2014 unless the city council puts forward a renewal or replacement measure and voters approve it this November. But, with the growth of private patrols in the city, will residents who pay nearly $500 a year for their own security guards vote to continue paying the Measure Y parcel tax, too?
Many folks contend that the solution to Oakland's crime problems is to hire more police officers. And whether or not you agree with this argument, most folks would acknowledge that the loss of 63 officers and vast funding for violence prevention programs would have an enormous impact on public safety overall in the city.
In addition, even if crime does go down in a neighborhood with private patrols, crime itself might not go away. During my years working on public safety issues at Oakland City Hall, I explained this to residents as the "water balloon effect." You squeeze the balloon on one end, and the water just rushes to the other end, and so crime doesn't go really decline through enforcement alone. The private security companies readily admit this fact. When asked by the San Francisco Chronicle, Richard McDiarmid of Security Code 3 said, "We're a deterrent. Hopefully the people that are committing crimes, they see that there's security in the area and they go to a different area, quite frankly."
If enforcement were really the solution, we would have the safest streets on Earth. After all, we have the largest prison population of any nation. But our streets aren't the safest, because we can't arrest our way out of our problems.
In the end, private patrols are nothing more than a stopgap measure for those with means, and they jeopardize long-term peace and safety of the city, while doing nothing to address or resolve the deep systemic issues that are the root of crime in Oakland. We need jobs, housing, and opportunities for our young people. For those who have been caught up in crime and the underground economy, we need to look at restorative justice as a way to rebuild lives and bring these members back into our community. We need to end the War on Drugs. We need serious gun control to take these instruments of murder and mayhem off our streets.
Rather than spend time debating the wrongheadedness of these private patrols, we should focus our time, energy — and yes, our money — toward building a more safe and equitable Oakland for all. Imagine if we spent our money on violence prevention instead. Or if, rather than spending ours debating this fractious issue, we spent that time mentoring and volunteering?
As we move towards those goals, in the short-term there are commonsense things we can do to keep our families safe from crime. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Build community! Walk outside, talk with your neighbors, go to the park, say "hi" to folks on the street.
2. Secure your property. While burglar alarms aren't foolproof, they've stopped break-ins in my neighborhood. The two home invasions took place in houses without alarms. Get (several) vehicle theft devices: car alarm, club, etc. Minimize the visibility of valuables in your home and car. There might be nothing in that bag on your front seat, but if someone is looking to steal valuables they may not know that until they've already broken your car window. Get motion lights for your home that turn off during the day. Secure your doors and windows. Clear brush and trees from around your house, so if you are not home, your neighbors can easily see suspicious behavior. Adopt a dog from Oakland Animal Services! Dogs make excellent sentries and provide loving companionship.
3. Become engaged. Attend neighborhood meetings. Investigate when you hear an alarm going off. If a tragedy occurs nearby, lend physical and emotional support to the victim(s). Mark and mourn the loss of all life, of victims, and of folks who are caught up in illegal activity to the point where death is the only way out. All life is precious.
I live in Oakland because I want to live among folks who look out for each other, and not just watch with paranoia. The debate around private security patrols has exposed a clear rift in our town, one that ends up pitting the hills against the flatlands, and even among neighbors above I-580 who disagree about this issue — armed versus unarmed guards versus none at all.
But we need to build unity on a macro level throughout the city as well as block by block. That's especially true for our young people: We should be uplifting their lives through arts programs, sports, after-school workshops, open libraries, recreation centers, youth centers — and not destroying them through increased surveillance, suspicion, unnecessary calls for service, and unwarranted profilings and arrests.
The road is long and the challenges are many, but Oaklanders have come through in the past, and we need to come through now in order to build a more just, healthy, and peaceful city for us all.
comment posted 2014-02-20 by Justin Horner:
Id like to offer my comments in response to my dear dear friend, Joel’s, opinion piece above. Like him, Im a former (or is it “recovering?”) Oakland City Council aide, husband and father. Im also a supporter of looking into whether private patrols work, and I helped (a bit) in organizing the Rockridge effort.
First, to concede: indeed, there are no long term studies that can demonstrate the effectiveness of private patrols. There are one or two small, limited ones, but not super duper science. All of the organizers in Rockridge, and most of the people who signed up, Id argue, are not necessarily convinced that the patrols will make a difference. What we are interested in is exploring the notion and seeing if it can. Some initial analysis suggests some benefit in Rockridge; this does not make me unhappy. At the same time, I join many of my neighbors in not being interested in paying for something that doesn’t make a difference, and, in fact, am eager to stop paying if there’s no result.
Rockridge’s pilot is with VMA Security for unarmed security patrol. VMA is an Oakland owned company with an employee base that reflects Oakland’s diversity; a lot more than OPD, in fact. We considered armed security, but decided on unarmed after responding to significant, and convincing, community concerns. That was a good idea, and looks like an even better one after what happened in Oakmore. I know of no incidents of racial profiling, intimidation or just general lame behavior registered during the pilot period. This is also good. Nobody I know involved in the effort wants that type of “protection.”
Unlike vouchers, for-profit prisons and other privatization schemes, private patrols do not divert public dollars to for-profit companies. They are paid, privately and voluntarily, on top of taxes. They do not take money out of our libraries, schools, the OPD or rec centers. Nobody I know supports the idea of taking the city’s general fund and paying it to private patrols. That would be “privatization,” and that would be dumb. It is not a goal, or, frankly, a likely outcome, of private patrols in Oakland.
Oaklanders are historically very generous and are willing to pay more in taxes. I must say, however, that if Measure Y fails to pass, it will not be the patrols that made the difference. As another commenter already mentioned, the City itself has done far more to undermine the case for reupping the Measure than these patrols ever will. Yes, for some people, maybe the $40 a month will be enough to make the economic case for them not to support the measure. I think it’s more likely that people want actual cops and would just stop paying for the security, if, again, it was purely an economic issue for them.
I would also argue that private patrols will not necessarily push crime into other neighborhoods, although Im open to the possibility that they could. The “water balloon effect” Joel describes does not, however, really exist. If that were the case, crime would never go down, ever, as every effort to combat it would simply displace it elsewhere. As Joel undoubtedly knows, crime is influenced, among other things, by geography. For example, we are told that my area of Rockridge is particularly vulnerable to armed robbery because there are a) lots of pedestrians; b) lots of pedestrians with the income and preference to own easily stealable iStuff and c) we have easy freeway access. This is not true of all areas of Oakland. Deterring crime here does not mean that robbers will all of a sudden start committing crime in areas that have none of these traits. All that being said, part of the initial Rockridge analysis focused on whether crime was simply being displaced, and it didn’t appear to. A study of BID-related private patrols in LA also showed declines in crime and no displacement. In any case, I, and the people I know that are paying for the private patrols, are not interested in just displacing crime out of our neighborhood. That’s not meaningful progress on public safety for me.
While I probably shouldn’t bury it way down here, this does lead me to take issue with what is a common criticism of the private patrol effort: that, somehow, by hiring private security, neighborhoods are rejecting community, turning their backs on their neighbors, approaching all problems militaristically, peeking through their windows with suspicion and paranoia and otherwise pulling up the drawbridge to exist in some libertarian fantasyworld. This is not the case, at least not for me.
Let me tell you how I look at it, as a participant. The process of hiring private security by neighborhood residents is actually an example of community working, of people coming together, in mutual aid, to solve a problem, explore solutions, and, yes, put their resources where their mouths are. Many of us have already explored the purely individualistic ways Joel recommends we use to protect ourselves and our property (alarms, The Club, locks), and many of us also participate in our neighborhood organizations, blocks, and NCPCs. Frankly, I already know all my neighbors, take care of their kids, volunteer at my school, pick up litter, keep my bushes trimmed and, of course, say “hi” on the street to people. This is also true of many of the people paying into the pilot now. We are now looking into other strategies to see what else we can do, because, well, all the stuff the city is doing, and all the stuff we are already doing to secure our homes and neighborhoods, is not enough.
I know a big rhetorical strategy of our neighbors opposed to patrols is to paint supporters in a negative light, as somehow detached from their own communities, selfish and alienated. Id just suggest that Joel, and others, check themselves before they accuse me, and many of my neighbors, of not caring about Oakland, my community or the lives of others. I can live with the fact that communities organize and work together in different ways; I think it’s important for others to realize that as well.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

California Police utilize Israel to spy on and direct attacks against anti-fascists

The current regime governing the State of Israel [link] is hostile to what it considers "leftists", especially various anti-Racists, anti-Fascists, and those who advocate for Peace, Justice and Human-Rights. The same sentiment is held by many police departments in California and across the USA.
Every domestic police department which is trained by Israel proceeds to conduct extreme hostile actions against political activists, as seen in Oakland and Los Angeles since 2011 during the deadly suppression of the "Occupy!" gatherings, and in Ferguson (Missouri) 2014 [link].
Corporations chartered in Israel can conduct almost unrestricted information gathering against targets across the world, either unilaterally, or in cooperation with public-sector security agencies, or under contract with private-sector security agencies [link].
Many information-technology corporations chartered in California are also managed by Israel agents, either under contract, or by Israel's citizens or by adherents to Israel's national ideology.
Archive of articles from "ADL" about Law Enforcement Training, 2008 to 2011 [link]

Incident Reports:
* "Facebook selectively censors a Peace & Justice event in Oakland, CA, posted at a Facebook page, bans a human-rights organizer for a day" (2014-08-18) [link]
* Disruption of human-rights gathering at Port of Oakland (2014-08-01) [link]

Israel's security operations with/in the USA:
* NSA shares raw data to Israel agencies about USA Citizens [link]
* Israel's Hasbara, Mossad's worldwide volunteer brigade of online commentator [link]

The following article shows that spy agencies in Israel are used by civilian police to spy on their political targets, and to coordinate hostile operations against those targets.
"LAPD goes to Israel, falls in love with drones and mass surveillance"
2014-02-17 from "electronicintifada.net" [http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/lapd-goes-israel-falls-love-drones-and-mass-surveillance]:
The HoverMast-100, an Israeli surveillance drone that the LAPD hopes to add to its arsenal.
The Jewish Journal has an incredible write-up [http://www.jewishjournal.com/nation/article/lapd_scopes_out_israeli_drones_big_data_solutions1] of the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) recent visit to Israel.
For nine days early this month, eight of the LAPD’s highest ranking officers toured Israel on a trip organized by LAPD Deputy Chief and commander of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, Michael Downing, and headed by LAPD Information Technology Bureau commander Horace Frank.
While it’s unclear how much the trip cost taxpayers, Frank told the Journal that the junket was financed with “grant funding that was available for us to look at emergency technologies and best practices.”
Since 2001, the US government has doled out tens of billions of dollars in federal grants to local and state police departments in the name of fighting terrorism [http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/20/local-cops-ready-for-war-with-homeland-security-funded-military-weapons.html], so it’s likely that the grant that paid for the LAPD’s Israel trip came from DHS.
Though LAPD officers have visited Israel in the past, this appears to have been the most high-level trip to date. But this was not your typical propaganda tour.
Instead of stopping at the Western Wall or Yad Vesham as many foreign dignitaries do, officers visited Israel’s private security firms and drone manufacturers, most of them formed by veterans of the Israeli military’s top-secret 8200 Unit, which, like the US National Security Agency, engages in mass spying and cyber warfare [http://www.jpost.com/Defense/IDF-admits-to-using-cyber-space-to-attack-enemies].
On 6 Febuary, the LAPD group attended the Big Data Intelligence Conference in Herzliya, where officers salivated at the prospect of using invasive, abuse-prone Israeli surveillance products (used to control Palestinians) on the people of Los Angeles (the brown, black and politically active lefty ones, of course).
In an opening speech to kick off the conference, Frank referred to what he feels are shared values between the US and Israel: “As civilized nations, we are all confronted with, in many cases, the same enemy: The ever-growing threat of terrorism and other major criminal elements.” How very kind of him to say.
Of all the Fourth Amendment-destroying products they came across, Frank and his fellow officers were most attracted to the drones. As The Jewish Journal reports:
[begin extract]
Surveillance drones manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Sky Sapience were also hot items on the LAPD tour. Both Frank and Perez lit up when talking about the HoverMast, a new tethered drone from Sky Sapience that was just released to the IDF late last year.
[end extract]
On the Sky Sapience website [http://www.skysapience.com/products/the-hovermast-100], the HoverMast 100 is advertised as follows (emphasis mine):
[begin extract]
Whether your mission is locating illegals attempting to cross your border, crowd control at a political rally, or perhaps increasing security at your local electricity plant, Sky Sapience’s HoverMast-100, tethered hovering machine, combines engineering genius and innovative materials to provide exceptional observation and surveillance capabilities.
[end extract]
I suppose such a product is fitting for a police force regularly engaged in racial profiling and suppression of First Amendment protected activity.
Speaking to the Journal, Frank couldn’t stop gushing about Israeli tech giants like Nice Systems, which is currently providing mass video surveillance at the Olympics [http://www.israeldefense.com/?CategoryID=475&ArticleID=2740], morphing Sochi into a virtual police state.
Frank also hailed Verint, an Israeli surveillance firm that, according to investigative journalist James Bamford, was contracted by the NSA to wiretap Americans [http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/04/shady-companies-nsa/all/1].
Reports the Journal:
[begin extract]
Both companies already count the LAPD as a client. But, Frank said, “we’re looking at some of their additional solutions … They have a lot of new technologies that we are very much interested in.”
Nice System’s president of security, Yaron Tchwella, spoke at the conference about the company’s ability to help government agencies capture and store the billions of calls, emails, messages and social media posts that their populations generate each day, then analyze it in real time to detect potential threats.
[end extract]
Israel’s “targeted killing” policy, which was once condemned by the United States (under the George W. Bush administration, ironically enough) [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/feb/15/israel?guni=Article:in%20body%20link] has since been embraced by President Obama [http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/nov/15/israel-gaza-obama-assassinations] as the leading method in fighting the never-ending war on terror. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that surveillance and cyber warfare seem to be following a similar pattern.
Still, without dedicated police state enthusiasts in the United States, the importaion of abusive Israeli practices would not be possible, as the Journal explains:
[begin extract]
The LAPD-Israel bond was in large part fused by former LAPD Chief William Bratton, who made official trips to Israel to learn about the country’s advanced counter-terrorism tactics during his chiefdom from 2002 to 2009. At a town hall meeting in Los Angeles near the end of his term, Bratton said of Israeli intelligence experts: “They are our allies. They are some of the best at what they do in the world, and that close relationship has been one of growing strength and importance.”
[end extract]
Today Bill Bratton is the New York City police commissioner and was appointed by the left’s latest progressive savior, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who just last month attended a secret meeting with AIPAC, the leading pro-Israel lobby, where he declared his unbending loyalty to defending Israel.
Good luck New York City, you’re going to need it.

Combined Systems Inc. (CSI) [link] is owned by adherents to the national ideology of Israel, and act in collaberation with domestic security agencies across the USA. Says a former employee at CSI:
 “Haha! I used to work at CTS, worse f*cking company ever! Gas house burned down, and they made us go back to work at! They say less lethal... I worked in m213 building, it was fuses made for m60 grenade... horrible place, and yes they always has an israeli flag over the building, the company is owned by them...

"St. Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch to Study Counter-Terrorism in Israel" 
2011-03-25 press release from St. Louis County Police:
For a week next mo., St Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch, along with law enforcement officials from across the United States, will visit Israel to learn how Israel's police, intelligence and security forces prevent terror attacks. The weeklong program is part of Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) National Counter-Terrorism Seminar which will include visiting the cities of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Tiberias.
The ADL delegation consists of law enforcement leaders from the largest police departments in the United States as well as from the nation's capital and from federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Over the course of a week, participants will be briefed by senior members of the Israel National Police as well as officials from the Israel Defense Forces and Intelligence /Security organizations. Chief Fitch stated: "Our Department currently houses the St. Louis Terrorism Early Warning (TEW) Group which is the region's fusion center serving the city of St Louis and seven counties in Missouri and Illinois. The fusion center combines the efforts of law enforcement, (local, state and federal), public safety and private entities with the primary goal of gathering and sharing information concerning homeland security. National and state-wide level terrorist assessment and the dissemination of generated information is an on-going process. We serve the region with a multijurisdictional approach emphasizing the protection of critical infrastructure.
Chief Fitch added: "We will also discuss contemporary counterterrorism issues facing the people of Israel, such as the bombing of a bus station yesterday in Jerusalem. I am confident that this will be a unique learning experience offered nowhere else in the world. I consider it a great honor that I was chosen to attend."

Monday, February 17, 2014

You Have the Right to Remain Silent: NLG Guide to Law Enforcement Encounters

(Adapted from the NLG's message to the "Occupy Wallstreet!" participants)
Currently we are seeing a rise in nonviolent movements for social and economic justice, but more frequently we are receiving disturbing reports of activists being targeted by US law enforcement, including agents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. To help ensure activists know their rights when encountering law enforcement, we are publishing in full the National Lawyers Guild's booklet: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. The NLG provides invaluable support to the movements for  social and economic justice, and we strongly encourage all to read and share the information provided below. We also recommend you enter the NLG's national hotline number (888-654-3265) into your cellphone (if you have one) and keep a copy handy. This information is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact the NLG or a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well. NLG National Hotline for Activists Contacted by the FBI 888-NLG-ECOL

You Have the Right to Remain Silent: A Know Your Rights Guide for Law Enforcement Encounters
Disclaimer - This booklet is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact an attorney if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.
The following is broken into the sections titled as follows:
What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?
What if I receive a grand jury subpoena?
What If I Am Not a Citizen and the DHS Contacts Me?

What Are My Rights at Airports?
What If I Am Under 18?

What Rights Do I Have?
Whether or not you're a citizen, you have rights under the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives every person the right to remain silent: not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent. The Fourth Amendment restricts the government's power to enter and search your home or workplace, although there are many exceptions and new laws have expanded the government's power to conduct surveillance. The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. However, if you are a non-citizen, the Department of Homeland Security may target you based on your political activities.

Standing Up For Free Speech -
The government's crusade against politically-active individuals is intended to disrupt and suppress the exercise of time-honored free speech activities, such as boycotts, protests, grassroots organizing and solidarity work. Remember that you have the right to stand up to the intimidation tactics of FBI agents and other law enforcement officials who, with political motives, are targeting organizing and free speech activities. Informed resistance to these tactics and steadfast defense of your and others' rights can bring positive results. Each person who takes a courageous stand makes future resistance to government oppression easier for all. The National Lawyers Guild has a long tradition of standing up to government repression. The organization itself was labeled a "subversive" group during the McCarthy Era and was subject to FBI surveillance and infiltration for many years. Guild attorneys have defended FBI-targeted members of the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement. The NLG exposed FBI surveillance, infiltration and disruption tactics that were detailed during the 1975-76 COINTELPRO hearings. In 1989 the NLG prevailed in a lawsuit on behalf of several activist organizations, including the Guild, that forced the FBI to expose the extent to which it had been spying on activist movements. Under the settlement, the FBI turned over roughly 400,000 pages of its files on the Guild, which are now available at the Tamiment Library at New York University.

What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?
What if an agent or police officer comes to the door?
Do not invite the agents or police into your home. Do not answer any questions. Tell the agent that you do not wish to talk with him or her. You can state that your lawyer will contact them on your behalf. You can do this by stepping outside and pulling the door behind you so that the interior of your home or office is not visible, getting their contact information or business cards and then returning inside. They should cease questioning after this. If the agent or officer gives a reason for contacting you, take notes and give the information to your attorney. Anything you say, no matter how seemingly harmless or insignificant, may be used against you or others in the future. Lying to or misleading a federal agent is a crime. The more you speak, the more opportunity for federal law enforcement to find something you said (even if not intentionally) false and assert that you lied to a federal officer.

Do I have to answer questions?
You have the constitutional right to remain silent. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions. You do not have to talk to anyone, even if you have been arrested or are in jail. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to consult an attorney. Once you make the request to speak to a lawyer, do not say anything else. The Supreme Court recently ruled that answering law enforcement questions may be taken as a waiver of your right to remain silent, so it is important that you assert your rights and maintain them. Only a judge can order you to answer questions. There is one exception: some states have "stop and identify" statutes which require you to provide identity information or your name if you have been detained on reasonable suspicion that you may have committed a crime. A lawyer in your state can advise you of the status of these requirements where you reside.

Do I have to give my name?
As above, in some states you can be detained or arrested for merely refusing to give your name. And in any state, police do not always follow the law, and refusing to give your name may make them suspicious or more hostile and lead to your arrest, even without just cause, so use your judgment. Giving a false name could in some circumstances be a crime.

Do I need a lawyer?
You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you decide whether to answer questions from law enforcement. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer if you are considering answering any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer present during any interview. The lawyer's job is to protect your rights. Once you tell the agent that you want to talk to a lawyer, he or she should stop trying to question you and should make any further contact through your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you can still tell the officer you want to speak to one before answering questions. Remember to get the name, agency and telephone number of any investigator who visits you, and give that information to your lawyer. The government does not have to provide you with a free lawyer unless you are charged with a crime, but the NLG or another organization may be able to help you find a lawyer for free or at a reduced rate.

If I refuse to answer questions or say I want a lawyer, won't it seem like I have something to hide?
Anything you say to law enforcement can be used against you and others. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information might be used or manipulated to hurt you or someone else. That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under the Constitution. Keep in mind that although law enforcement agents are allowed to lie to you, lying to a government agent is a crime. Remaining silent is not. The safest things to say are "I am going to remain silent," "I want to speak to my lawyer," and "I do not consent to a search." It is a common practice for law enforcement agents to try to get you to waive your rights by telling you that if you have nothing to hide you would talk or that talking would "just clear things up." The fact is, if they are questioning you, they are looking to incriminate you or someone you may know, or they are engaged in political intelligence gathering. You should feel comfortable standing firm in protection and defense of your rights and refusing to answer questions.

Can agents search my home or office?
You do not have to let police or agents into your home or office unless they have and produce a valid search warrant. A search warrant is a written court order that allows the police to conduct a specified search. Interfering with a warrantless search probably will not stop it and you might get arrested. But you should say "I do not consent to a search," and call a criminal defense lawyer or the NLG. You should be aware that a roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent, and your employer can consent to a search of your workspace without your permission.

What if agents have a search warrant?
If you are present when agents come for the search, you can ask to see the warrant. The warrant must specify in detail the places to be searched and the people or things to be taken away. Tell the agents you do not consent to the search so that they cannot go beyond what the warrant authorizes. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search; if you are allowed to, you should. Take notes, including names, badge numbers, what agency each officer is from, where they searched and what they took. If others are present, have them act as witnesses to watch carefully what is happening. If the agents ask you to give them documents, your computer, or anything else, look to see if the item is listed in the warrant. If it is not, do not consent to them taking it without talking to a lawyer. You do not have to answer questions. Talk to a lawyer first. (Note: If agents present an arrest warrant, they may only perform a cursory visual search of the premises to see if the person named in the arrest warrant is present.)

Do I have to answer questions if I have been arrested?
No. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to assert your right to remain silent. Ask for a lawyer right away. Do not say anything else. Repeat to every officer who tries to talk to or question you that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to speak to a lawyer. You should always talk to a lawyer before you decide to answer any questions.

What if I speak to government agents anyway?
Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer. If you find yourself talking, stop. Assert that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to speak to a lawyer.

What if the police stop me on the street?
Ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, consider just walking away. If the police say you are not under arrest, but are not free to go, then you are being detained. The police can pat down the outside of your clothing if they have reason to suspect you might be armed and dangerous. If they search any more than this, say clearly, "I do not consent to a search." They may keep searching anyway. If this happens, do not resist because you can be charged with assault or resisting arrest. You do not have to answer any questions. You do not have to open bags or any closed container. Tell the officers you do not consent to a search of your bags or other property.

What if police or agents stop me in my car?
Keep your hands where the police can see them. If you are driving a vehicle, you must show your license, registration and, in some states, proof of insurance. You do not have to consent to a search. But the police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway. Clearly state that you do not consent. Officers may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them, but no one has to answer any questions.

What if I am treated badly by the police or the FBI?
Write down the officer's badge number, name or other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you can. Call a lawyer as soon as possible.

What if the police or FBI threaten me with a grand jury subpoena if I don't answer their questions?
A grand jury subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify about information you may have. It is common for the FBI to threaten you with a subpoena to get you to talk to them. If they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. You should not volunteer to speak just because you are threatened with a subpoena. You should consult a lawyer.

What if I receive a grand jury subpoena?
Grand jury proceedings are not the same as testifying at an open court trial. You are not allowed to have a lawyer present (although one may wait in the hallway and you may ask to consult with him or her after each question) and you may be asked to answer questions about your activities and associations. Because of the witness's limited rights in this situation, the government has frequently used grand jury subpoenas to gather information about activists and political organizations. It is common for the FBI to threaten activists with a subpoena in order to elicit information about their political views and activities and those of their associates. There are legal grounds for stopping ("quashing") subpoenas, and receiving one does not necessarily mean that you are suspected of a crime. If you do receive a subpoena, call the NLG National Hotline at 888-NLG-ECOL (888-654-3265) or call a criminal defense attorney immediately.
The government regularly uses grand jury subpoena power to investigate and seek evidence related to politically-active individuals and social movements. This practice is aimed at prosecuting activists and, through intimidation and disruption, discouraging continued activism.
Federal grand jury subpoenas are served in person. If you receive one, it is critically important that you retain the services of an attorney, preferably one who understands your goals and, if applicable, understands the nature of your political work, and has experience with these issues. Most lawyers are trained to provide the best legal defense for their client, often at the expense of others. Beware lawyers who summarily advise you to cooperate with grand juries, testify against friends, or cut off contact with your friends and political activists. Cooperation usually leads to others being subpoenaed and investigated. You also run the risk of being charged with perjury, a felony, should you omit any pertinent information or should there be inconsistencies in your testimony.
Frequently prosecutors will offer "use immunity," meaning that the prosecutor is prohibited from using your testimony or any leads from it to bring charges against you. If a subsequent prosecution is brought, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving that all of its evidence was obtained independent of the immunized testimony. You should be aware, however, that they will use anything you say to manipulate associates into sharing more information about you by suggesting that you have betrayed confidences.
In front of a grand jury you can "take the Fifth" (exercise your right to remain silent). However, the prosecutor may impose immunity on you, which strips you of Fifth Amendment protection and subjects you to the possibility of being cited for contempt and jailed if you refuse to answer further. In front of a grand jury you have no Sixth Amendment right to counsel, although you can consult with a lawyer outside the grand jury room after each question.

What if I don't cooperate with the grand jury?
If you receive a grand jury subpoena and elect to not cooperate, you may be held in civil contempt. There is a chance that you may be jailed or imprisoned for the length of the grand jury in an effort to coerce you to cooperate. Regular grand juries sit for a basic term of 18 months, which can be extended up to a total of 24 months. It is lawful to hold you in order to coerce your cooperation, but unlawful to hold you as a means of punishment. In rare instances you may face criminal contempt charges.

What If I Am Not a Citizen and the DHS Contacts Me?The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is now part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and has been renamed and reorganized into: 1. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS); 2. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and 3. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All three bureaus will be referred to as DHS for the purposes of this pamphlet.
* Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may deport you before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge. Never sign anything without reading, understanding and knowing the consequences of signing it.
* Talk to a lawyer. If possible, carry with you the name and telephone number of an immigration lawyer who will take your calls. The immigration laws are hard to understand and there have been many recent changes. DHS will not explain your options to you. As soon as you encounter a DHS agent, call your attorney. If you can't do it right away, keep trying. Always talk to an immigration lawyer before leaving the U.S. Even some legal permanent residents can be barred from returning.
Based on today's laws, regulations and DHS guidelines, non-citizens usually have the following rights, no matter what their immigration status. This information may change, so it is important to contact a lawyer. The following rights apply to non-citizens who are inside the U.S. Non-citizens at the border who are trying to enter the U.S. do not have all the same rights.

Do I have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any DHS questions or signing any DHS papers?
Yes. You have the right to call a lawyer or your family if you are detained, and you have the right to be visited by a lawyer in detention. You have the right to have your attorney with you at any hearing before an immigration judge. You do not have the right to a government-appointed attorney for immigration proceedings, but if you have been arrested, immigration officials must show you a list of free or low cost legal service providers.

Should I carry my green card or other immigration papers with me?
If you have documents authorizing you to stay in the U.S., you must carry them with you. Presenting false or expired papers to DHS may lead to deportation or criminal prosecution. An unexpired green card, I-94, Employment Authorization Card, Border Crossing Card or other papers that prove you are in legal status will satisfy this requirement. If you do not carry these papers with you, you could be charged with a crime. Always keep a copy of your immigration papers with a trusted family member or friend who can fax them to you, if need be. Check with your immigration lawyer about your specific case.

Am I required to talk to government officers about my immigration history?
If you are undocumented, out of status, a legal permanent resident (green card holder), or a citizen, you do not have to answer any questions about your immigration history. (You may want to consider giving your name; see above for more information about this.) If you are not in any of these categories, and you are being questioned by a DHS or FBI agent, then you may create problems with your immigration status if you refuse to provide information requested by the agent. If you have a lawyer, you can tell the agent that your lawyer will answer questions on your behalf. If answering questions could lead the agent to information that connects you with criminal activity, you should consider refusing to talk to the agent at all.

If I am arrested for immigration violations, do I have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge to defend myself against deportation charges?
Yes. In most cases only an immigration judge can order you deported. But if you waive your rights or take "voluntary departure," agreeing to leave the country, you could be deported without a hearing. If you have criminal convictions, were arrested at the border, came to the U.S. through the visa waiver program or have been ordered deported in the past, you could be deported without a hearing. Contact a lawyer immediately to see if there is any relief for you.

Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?
Yes. Non-citizens arrested in the U.S. have the right to call their consulate or to have the police tell the consulate of your arrest. The police must let your consulate visit or speak with you if consular officials decide to do so. Your consulate might help you find a lawyer or offer other help. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.

What happens if I give up my right to a hearing or leave the U.S. before the hearing is over?
You could lose your eligibility for certain immigration benefits, and you could be barred from returning to the U.S. for a number of years. You should always talk to an immigration lawyer before you decide to give up your right to a hearing.

What should I do if I want to contact DHS?
Always talk to a lawyer before contacting DHS, even on the phone. Many DHS officers view "enforcement" as their primary job and will not explain all of your options to you.

What Are My Rights at Airports?
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is illegal for law enforcement to perform any stops, searches, detentions or removals based solely on your race, national origin, religion, sex or ethnicity.

If I am entering the U.S. with valid travel papers can a U.S. customs agent stop and search me?
Yes. Customs agents have the right to stop, detain and search every person and item.

Can my bags or I be searched after going through metal detectors with no problem or after security sees that my bags do not contain a weapon?
Yes. Even if the initial screen of your bags reveals nothing suspicious, the screeners have the authority to conduct a further search of you or your bags.

If I am on an airplane, can an airline employee interrogate me or ask me to get off the plane?
The pilot of an airplane has the right to refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. The pilot's decision must be reasonable and based on observations of you, not stereotypes.

What If I Am Under 18?
Do I have to answer questions?
No. Minors too have the right to remain silent. You cannot be arrested for refusing to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials, except in some states you may have to give your name if you have been detained.

What if I am detained?
If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, in most states you are entitled to counsel (just like an adult) at no cost.

Do I have the right to express political views at school?
Public school students generally have a First Amendment right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings, etc., as long as those activities are not disruptive and do not violate legitimate school rules. You may not be singled out based on your politics, ethnicity or religion.

Can my backpack or locker be searched?
School officials can search students' backpacks and lockers without a warrant if they reasonably suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or carrying drugs or weapons. Do not consent to the police or school officials searching your property, but do not physically resist or you may face criminal charges.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

California Attorney General Office stonewalls Justice for Andy Lopez!

Justice for Andy Lopez Cruz! [link]

"Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez (JCAL) Requests Meeting Next Week with AG Kamala Harris"
2013-02-13 from JCAL:
On February 6th, JCAL wrote a five-page letter, based in law and fact, to AG Kamala Harris requesting she authorize of an independent, impartial investigation into the shooting death of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, CA on Oct. 22nd 2013. Per the 2/6 JCAL letter, “[T]he DA’s [Jill Ravitch] review process has been so wrought with subterfuge, delay and political taint that there is no way that the public has faith that the matter will be adjudicated fairly and impartially under the auspices of DA Ravitch and heroffice.”
As no response of any kind had been received by JCAL as of 2/11, a follow-up letter, dated 2/11 (attached), and email, dated 2/12, were sent to the AG’s Office requesting a personal meeting next week in Sacramento between AG Harris and JCAL Counsel Jon Melrod and well-known JCAL Chicano Activist Miguel Molina.
Per the 2/11 letter, Jonathan Melrod wrote, “We are hopeful that intervention by these distinguished legislators (see letter) and your office will facilitate the creation of an impartial independent investigation into Andy’s death. For reasons set forth in the Feb. 6th letter, we have lost all faith in the Sonoma County DA’s office and do not believe that adjudication of criminal liability on Deputy Gelhaus’ part can be fairly, objectively and withtransparency be ascertained by the SoCo DA’s office.”
According to JCAL activist Miguel Molina, “We’re pretty confident AG Harris will set a meeting with us. With the changing demographics in California, the Chicano population is becoming a powerful political force throughout the State. It would be a terrible breach of her responsibility as the highest elected legal authority in the State to fail to meet with JCAL over this pressing and grave issue of the death our 13-year old Latino youth Andy Lopez. We’ll be in Sacto next week meeting with supportive Legislators and camping out at Ms. HarrisOffice if need be. This issue is not going away until we achieve Justice for Andy and the Latino Community of Santa Rosa.”

Request for Meeting to Discuss my Letter of February 6th re: Independent Investigation of the Oct. 22nd Shooting Death of Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus
February 12, 2014
From "Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez"
Santa Rosa, CA
Jonathan D. Melrod, Esq.
Attorney at Law
415. 806.0154


California Attorney General
Kamala Harris
California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

Dear Attorney General Harris:
On February 6, 2014, I sent a letter to your office requesting your intervention in the investigation of the Oct. 22nd shooting of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, CA. The request is made by the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez(JCAL) pursuant to authority granted your office under Article 5, § 13 of the California Constitution and Government Code §§ 12511-12512. Much to my disappointment and the disappointment of JCAL, I have not yet received a response from your office.
As this matter is of such grave concern to our community, I thought it appropriate to suggest a personal meeting with you next week in Sacramento to discuss your response to our request. The proposed meeting would be with Miguel Molina, a long-time California Chicano community activist and member of JCAL and myself, Counsel for JCAL. We will certainly make ourselves available whenever is convenient for you so as not to disrupt your busy schedule.
Just to keep you up-to-date, we have been in discussions with a number of Legislative policy makers in Sacramento about Andy’s murder and what can be done to win Justice for the Lopez family and honor the short 13-year life of Andy by indicting the Deputy who killed him. We are planning to travel to Sacramento again in the near future, to further discuss these issues with supportive Legislators.
To date, we have been in contact with the offices of Ricardo Lara, Chair of the Latino Caucus in the Legislature, Manuel Perez, Assemblyman from the Imperial Valley, Jose Medina, Assemblyman from Riverside, Norma Torres, Assemblywoman from LA, Louis Alejo, Assemblyman from Santa Cruz and Marc Levine, our Assemblyman from Sonoma. We have suggested to the above-named Legislators, and others we will be meeting with, that they form an ad hoc Sacramento committee to seek Justice for Andy.
We are hopeful that intervention by these distinguished legislators and your office will facilitate the creation of an impartial, independent investigation into Andy’s death. For reasons set forth in my Feb. 6th letter, we have lost all faith in the Sonoma County DA’s office and do not believe that adjudication of criminal liability on Deputy Gelhaus’ part can be fairly, objectively and with transparency be ascertained by the SoCo DA’s office.
We look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible regarding a meeting in Sacramento.
[signed] Jonathan Melrod, Esq. on behalf of the JCAL

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez begins "Spring Justice Offensive" with legal actions!

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

"JCAL Initiates First Prong of Spring Justice Offensive Legal Actions Target DA Jill Ravitch, SoCo Sheriffs’ Harassment & Demand that CA Attorney General Harris Disqualify SoCo DA’s Office"
2014-02-06 from "Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez (JCAL)":
For more info contact:
* Jon Melrod [jonathan4536@sbcglobal.net] [415 806-0154]
* Mary Moore [justice3@sonic.net] [707 874 2248]
At its prior meeting, the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez endorsed an aggressive Spring Justice Campaign consisting of legal actions, marches, protests, attendance at governmental meetings, filing of complaints for police harassment, defense of arrested activists Louie Godoy and Ramon Cairo and most importantly pursuit of the demand that Deputy Erick Gelhaus be indicted for the murder of Andy Lopez on Oct. 22nd - all to take place this spring in Santa Rosa culminating in a statewide march in Santa Rosa on the occasion of what would have been Andy’s 14th birthday on May 31st.
Phase one of the Spring Justice Campaign is being launched this week with the following three actions:
1) Attached letter from JCAL Attorney Spokesperson Jonathan Melrod, Esq. demanding an immediate and transparent investigation by DA Ravitch and Sheriff Freitas into the behavior of Deputies Delaney and Lupton for harassment and threats of retaliation against Attorney Melrod for his zealous legal representation inCourt of JCAL activists arrested on bogus charges. Such verbal harassment by the Deputies, literally on the Courthouse steps, constitutes a violation ofConstitutional protections of the unfettered right to counsel and free speech and is both inappropriate and improper for SoCo Sheriffs Deputies acting asCourt Bailiffs.

2) Public Documents Request by the Law Firm of Arnoldo Casillas demanding all documents and “notes” (referred to by Deputy Delaney in his verbal threats) relating to Attorney Melrod.

3) Open Letter from JCAL to California Attorney General Kamal Harris (copy attached) requested she disqualify the SoCo DA’s office from adjudicating criminal liability of Deputy Gelhaus in the shooting death of Andy Lopez on Oct. 22nd. Grounds listed are continuing conflict of interest and the intercenine warfare in the DA’s office between ADA Victoria Shanahan and DA Jill Ravitch over the upcoming election, which has turned the Lopez case into a political football.

4) Complaint filed by Arnoldo Casillas, Esq. (Lopez family attorney) and Jonathan Melrod, Esq. (JCAL attorney) with the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors alleging harassment, intimidation, false imprisonment and Constitution violations offree speech and assembly against members of Andy’s Youth on January 9, 2014.

"Request for Independent Investigation of the Oct. 22nd Shooting Death of Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus"
2014-02-06 letter from "Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez" c/o Jonathan D. Melrod, Esq., Attorney at Law to California Attorney General Kamala Harris at the California Department of Justice:

Dear Attorney General Harris:
Grounds for Intervention by the CA Attorney General -
Pursuant to authority granted your office under Article 5, § 13 of the California Constitution and Government Code §§ 12511-12512, I write on behalf of the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez (JCAL) to urge you, as the highest law enforcement representative in the State of California, to immediately authorize an independent investigation into the shooting death of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, CA on Oct. 22nd 2013.
Moreover, JCAL specifically requests your assistance in seeking the immediate appointment of a special prosecutor pursuant to the National Prosecution Standards to impartially and transparently adjudicate the issue of criminal liability with regard to Deputy Gelhaus’ Oct. 22nd shooting of Andy Lopez.

-3.5 Special Prosecutors (National Prosecution Standards) -
Where an actual or potential conflict of interest exists that would prevent the prosecutor’s office from investigating or prosecuting a criminal matter, the prosecutor’s office should appoint, or seek the appointment of a “special prosecutor,” or refer the matter to the appropriate governmental authority as required by law. Under those circumstances where a special prosecutor is appointed:
a. The special prosecutor should be a member of the state bar in good standing, with appropriate experience in the subject matter of the appointment, and should be perceived as having sufficient detachment from the prosecutor’s office so as not to be influenced by any actual or potential conflict.

Facts behind the Oct. 22nd Shooting -
Succinctly, the undisputed facts are that on Tuesday October 22, 2013, at around 3 pm in the afternoon, Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus shot and killed 13-year old Andy Lopez as Andy walked on Moorland Ave. on his way to return a toy air-soft gun to a friend. In response to a shout from Deputy Gelhaus, Andy innocently turned to face the source of the vocal command. Without further notice, Officer Gelhaus discharged his service weapon at Andy - the first bullet piercing Andy’s heart killing him instantly. Within seconds, Officer Gelhaus pumped at least multiple additional rounds into Andy’s flailing body as the youth dropped to the ground where he lay prostrate. As Andy lay bleeding, Officer Gelhaus handcuffed him before even attempting CPR.

JCAL Request that DA Ravitch Recuse Herself on 11/5/2013 -
On November 5, 2013, I, along with three other members of JCAL, met with District Attorney Jill Ravitch regarding the ongoing investigation into Andy’s death. At that time, we expressed our deep concern that District Attorney Ravitch could not conduct an impartial investigation into the Officer Involved Fatal Incident involving Andy due to a conflict of interest based on Ms. Ravitch intimate relationship with the Sonoma County Sheriffs’ Department, particularly as Sonoma County Sheriff Freitas is her campaign fund raising manager.
Ms. Ravitch refused to recuse herself, citing support from your Office, on the grounds that she could fairly and impartially adjudicate the matter of Deputy Gelhaus’ criminal liability. While we were not satisfied by her response, we felt that we had little recourse as you, the top law enforcement officer in the State of California, had supported her decision. (We also expressed our deep concern with the investigation process per the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chiefs Protocol on the Law Enforcement Employee Involved Fatal Incidents on the grounds that we did not believe that one law enforcement agency – the Santa Rosa Police Department – could or would impartially investigate a brother officer - in the Sonoma County Sheriffs’ Office - accused of extreme criminal malfeasance.)

Recent Developments in the SoCo DA’s Office Necessitating Disqualification of the DA’s Office from the Lopez Matter -
The situation in the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office has recently devolved into vicious internecine warfare between various factions competing in the June 3d primary election for Sonoma County District Attorney. A public glimpse of the dysfunction and factional fighting in the DA’s Office can be ascertained from a quick review of the recent Press Democrat reports on the subject.)
DA Ravitch has refused to release to the public the Final Report recently completed by the Santa Rosa Police Department regarding whether Deputy Gelhaus violated any criminal laws in the manner and execution of his shooting of Andy. Her opponent, Assistant District Attorney Victoria Shanahan, shot back in the Press Democrat that DA Ravitch is hiding the report from public view.
DA Ravitch asserted in a recent Press Release that her Office might require more that the 90-day period outlined in the Protocol to properly investigate Deputy Gelhaus’ criminal liability. Victoria Shanahan responded in the Press Democrat that DA Ravitch is reneging on her campaign pledge to expedite investigations of officer involved shootings – an issue she publically campaigned on to win office. Further, Ms. Shanahan asserts that DA Ravitch is trying to stonewall the making of her decision regarding criminal liability of Officer Gelhaus until after the June 3d primary election. (JCAL fears that this allegation has a strong ring of truth.)
Further, each announced candidate for DA shares conflict of interest issues with the Sonoma County Sheriffs Office. Sheriff Freitas is a prominent figure in Jill Ravitch reelection campaign and she is a vociferous supporter of his reelection campaign, both are prominently pictured on their respective websites pledging loyalty to the other. Further, Victoria Shanahan’s husband is a Deputy in the Sonoma County Sheriffs Department, making it totally impossible for her to adjudicate the Andy Lopez case impartially if she were to be elected.
Intriguingly, ADA Shanahan has adopted and is espousing the very same arguments that JCAL has long advanced regarding the untenable position being taken by DA Ravitch. ADA Shanahan made the following points in the Press Democrat recently,
1) Shanahan “thinks Ravitch should have recused herself from handling the (Andy Lopez) case in the first place because of her ‘political entanglements’ with Sheriff Steve Freitas.”
2) Shanahan “believes Ravitch also should have recognized that the Lopez shooting was a different type of case that needed to be investigated by the District Attorney's Office instead of law enforcement departments engaged in investigations of one another.”
3) Shanahan says that if criminal liability is not clear, she would “convene a criminal grand jury process that would be open to the public….” If criminal liability is not found, she said she would release “the ultimate report to the civil grand jury and make a complete copy of the findings available to the public.”
At this juncture, the case of 13-year old Andy Lopez has unfortunately become a political football being kicked back and forth between opposing electoral camps in the DA’s Office. No fair, impartial or thorough investigation can result from such a morass of political infighting.

Intervention by the CA AG’s Office is Essential for the rendering of an impartial, transparent review of Deputy Gelhaus’ Criminal Liability for the Shooting of Andy Lopez -
For all of the reasons set forth above, we in JCAL believe it is imperative for the State of California District Attorney to invoke the above-cited provisions of the California Constitution, the cited sections of the Government Code, and the relevant provisions of the National Prosecution Standards to promptly intervene in the Andy Lopez matter to prevent an irrepreperable miscarriage of justice.
Moreover, the DA’s review process and adjudication of the criminal liability of Deputy Gelhaus has been so wrought with subterfuge, delay and political taint that there is no way that the public has faith that the matter will be adjudicated fairly and impartially under the auspices of DA Ravitch and her office.
Failure by the State and the CA Office of the District Attorney to take action at this time will inevitably result in continued mistrust and public accusations of a whitewash. For all of the above, JCAL unequivocally requests intervention in a prompt and forthright manner.
[signed] Jonathan Melrod, Esq. on behalf of the JCAL

"Unethical & Provocative Behavior by Sonoma County Deputy Delaney: Demand for Investigation and Immediate Remedial Action" 
2014-01-30 from the Law Office of Jonathan D. Melrod, Esq. (CA Bar #136441) to Jill Ravitch, District Attorney of Sonoma County; Steve Freitas, Sonoma County Sheriff; Lorenzo Duenes, Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff;
Via hand delivery 2/3/14 to: DA Jill Ravitch; Supervisor David Rabbit; Supervisor Susan Gorin; Supervisor Shirlee Zane; Supervisor Mike McGuire; Supervisor Efren Carrillo.
Via USPS 2/3/14 to:Sheriff Steve Freitas; Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenes.

Dear District Attorney Ravitch and Messrs. Freitas and Duenes:
This letter is to officially inform you on the record of unbecoming and unprofessional conduct engaged in by deputies under your supervision at approximately 9 a.m. on January 29, 2014 outside the Sonoma County Courthouse located at 600 Administration Drive. Further, the verbal conduct engaged in by the Deputies (named below) on the day in question, contravenes ethical rules governing Administrative Procedure by the Sonoma County Sheriffs Department, as well as - a most sacrosanct hallmark of our judicial system – the right to unfettered representation by Counsel.
Involved in the January 29th incident were Deputy Sheriff Delaney, Deputy Sheriff Lupton and another Deputy whose name I am not privy to. As an Attorney involved in the representation of Jose Louis Godoy, I had appeared with Mr. Godoy in Courtroom #9 on the morning of January 29th. Following Mr. Godoy’s appearance at his arraignment, a verbal altercation ensued with Deputies Lupton and Delaney in the hall outside Courtroom #9. As I walked to the elevator, Deputies Delaney and Lupton, as well as the third Deputy, squeezed into the elevator and proceeded to glare at me in an intimidating manner – definitely not appropriate for a Bailiff/Deputy assigned to Court duty.
After exiting the building, I walked with a group of people about 100 yards from the exit. I had lost my iPhone while in the courthouse and asked an individual to call my telephone number to see if the phone had been retrieved. The woman security officer who answered my telephone number instructed me to return to the security area to retrieve my phone.
When I reached the exit where Deputies Delaney, Lupton and the third officer were standing, they physically blocked my entrance to the building. I pointed to the security officer inside and explained that she had my phone and that I was merely attempting to retrieve it. Rather than letting me pass through the doors, the three officers positioned themselves between the door and me, instructing me that I was not permitted to enter.
After a rather heated back-and-forth conversation regarding my need to enter the building to retrieve my phone, one of the Deputies, belatedly and begrudgingly, pointed around the corner and said that I could enter “that way”. I explained that it would have been appropriate and professional if they had simply informed me of that procedure from the outset of our conversation rather than playing a game of hide-and-seek by blocking my physical entrance into the building.
After recovering my phone, I began to walk toward the parking lot. En route, the three deputies again formed a scrum to verbally engage me. Officer Delaney remarked that, as an “officer of the court”, I should do a better job of “controlling” my clients’ behavior in the Courthouse. I responded that it might be a lot easier to influence my clients’ behavior if he and his fellow deputies would behave in a manner appropriate to their role as Bailiffs of the Court and would restrain themselves from harassing and intimidating my clients in a provocative manner.
Officer Delaney then looked directly at me, with Officer Lupton to his left and the third Deputy to his right, and said in a threatening manner, “We know your name and who you are and we have plenty of notes on you.” (If Deputy Delaney was wearing his lapel cam the conversation will be recorded for your review.)
As you can imagine, I was both shocked and appalled that a Deputy/Bailiff would attempt to intimidate an “officer of the court” in such a threatening fashion.
I query - did Officer Delaney mean that he would retaliate against me in some manner if I continue to zealously represent my clients? Did Deputy Delaney mean that I am under surveillance? Bottom line - what did Officer Delaney mean by such a statement? Is he, or is the Sonoma County Sheriffs Department compiling “notes” on me on a continuing basis?
I need answers and an explanation in writing from each of you - DA Ravitch - and you - Sheriff Freitas. I would also like to know if your offices condone this type of behavior by one of your Deputies. I expect a full investigation and explanation of exactly what was meant by Deputy Delaney when he remarked that he has “plenty of notes” on me. Further, I expect that Officer Delaney will be reprimanded and instructed on the proper behavior to be followed by a Deputy in the halls of a California Superior Courthouse.
Please respond with all due promptness to the address above.
[signed] Jonathan Melrod, Esq.

Cc: Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
- Supervisor David Rabbit
- Supervisor Susan Gorin
- Supervisor Shirlee Zane
- Supervisor Mike McGuire
- Supervisor Efren Carrillo