Sep 012016
 
     A broad coalition of local and state advocates are calling upon Governor Jerry Brown to issue an Executive Order directing Attorney General Kamala Harris to take jurisdiction and control over the investigations of all allegations arising out of the involvement of any member of a law enforcement agency with the rape victim identified as Celeste Guap.   
     Public safety requires public trust.  We find ourselves in the midst of a crisis in public safety. The very police officers that are charged to protect and serve the public have been exposed as engaging in a conspiracy of sex trafficking. For 8 months, local law enforcement and public officials hid this scandalous behavior from the court-appointed monitor in Oakland and the public, while taking no real action against the officers who violated the public trust.  Even today – 11 months later – there has not been a single prosecution of anyone for any violations of law.  Officers who have resigned voluntarily remain uncharged.  Certainly the list of possible offenses include statutory rape, assault with intent to commit rape, obstruction of justice, interference with a police investigation, perjury, just to name a few.
     We believe the reason for the apparent lack of accountability under the law and to the public trust is that our local officials have a conflict of interest. Every District Attorney’s office, every City Attorney’s office and every County Counsel’s office works closely with local law enforcement on a day-to-day basis.  To ask or expect these law enforcement agencies to diligently investigate and prosecute their partner law enforcement agencies is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.  
    On September 1, 2016, we will issue a call to action to Governor Jerry Brown.  We believe that the alleged conduct of these law enforcement officers involves an abuse of power and a violation of the public trust that is best addressed by a single and independent law enforcement agency rather than each local law enforcement agency. Six different law enforcement agencies have been implicated to date.  What appears to a lack of communication between Oakland officials and other local law enforcement agencies is startling. It clearly suggests that our concerns about the human trafficking of our daughters, sons, sisters and brothers across county lines in the Bay Area are not being taken seriously.
     Let us be clear that we understand that “Celeste Guap” is not the only victim of this type of police abuse, and we are not calling for increased criminalization of minors, women or men identified as sex workers in our communities. We understand and appreciate that minors and women engaged in sex work in our communities are extremely vulnerable to the abuse of power by our law enforcement agencies and that “blaming the victim” is not an appropriate response to our crisis.

     We believe that upon direction by the Governor of California, our Attorney General has the authority to investigate, manage, interpret, prosecute or inquire about any alleged incidents of sexual misconduct by law enforcement officers with “Celeste Guap.” We believe that the Attorney General’s independent investigation of this crisis in our communities is essential to restoring public trust in our law enforcement agencies. We believe that public trust is essential to public safety. We therefore call upon Governor Brown to exercise his authority under Article V, Section 13 of the California Constitution to ensure a comprehensive and independent coordinated investigation of these incidents.

 

SIGNED BY:
Attorney Pamela Y. Price, Political Education Chair, Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) Richmond/Contra Costa Chapter, Member Elect, Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee
Kathleen Sullivan, President, Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) Richmond/Contra Costa Chapter
Jerilyn Stapleton, President, California NOW
Cheryl Branch, President, CALIFIA NOW
Sarai Smith-Mazariegos, Co-Founder, MISSSEY, Founder, S.H.A.D.E. Project
Cat Brooks, Co-Founder, the Oakland Anti-Police Terror Project
Leigh Davenport, the Take Back Oakland Coalition
Freddye Davis, President, NAACP Hayward/South County Chapter
Kimberly Thomas Rapp, Executive Director, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Mike Katz-Lacabe, the Center for Human Rights and Privacy
Nola Brantley, Founder & Former Executive Director, MISSSEY
Ben Steinberg, Community Activist, Richmond California
JOIN US IN RICHMOND – SUPPORT THE CALL TO ACTION

DATE:     Thursday, September 1, 2016

TIME:      11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Richmond Police Department
               1701 Regatta Blvd.

For More Information Contact Pamela Price: 510-877-0024

Mar 232016
 

Documents show all 11 police officers at the scene “forgot” to activate their body cameras

On November 12, 2015, two Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies were captured on surveillance video beating a suspect in San Francisco. The video was provided to the San Francisco Public Defender, which published the video on YouTube on November 13, 2015:

The two deputies shown in the video, Paul Wieber, and Luis Santamaria, wrote up their descriptions of the incident four days after arresting the suspect, later identified as Stanislav Petrov. Other deputies, including Shawn Osborne, William Adams, John Malizia, Joshua Miller, Marc PetriniThomas Sterling, and David Taylor, wrote up their incident reports on the same day.

On November 16, 2015, I filed a request for the arrest report, booking photograph and any body camera video from the arrest. In a response dated November 19, 2015, the Alameda County Sheriff denied my request, stating “Your request is denied per California Government Code sections 6254(f).” On February 15, 2016, I filed a second request for the booking photograph and incident report. In its response dated March 18, 2016, the Alameda County County Sheriff’s Office provided the incident report, but not a booking photograph.

In his write-up, Wieber states that after he tackled Petrov, “Petrov used his arms and shoulders to attempt to push himself up from the ground. I felt my entire body rise and I continued to slide forward. Failing to maintain control of Petrov, I punched him approximately two times in the right side of his face to subdue him.” The video, however, appears to show Petrov in a passive and prone position, with Wieber punching him twice, quickly followed by Santamaria striking Petrov at least five times with a baton.

Other deputies corroborated the story line that Petrov resisted arrest. Matthew Skidgel’s report states “Petrov resisted the efforts put forth by the patrol Deputies to affect his arrest and force was used to overcome his resistance.” Joshua Miller’s report stated that he saw “…Deputies SantaMaria and Wieber fighting with Petrov as he was violently pushing his body from side to side and moving his arms around as though he was trying to hit the officers.” Miller also struck Petrov with his baton. David Taylor’s report noted, “Petrov was bleeding from his head and he complained of pain to his head and hands.” There were no other observations of Petrov’s injuries. More than a week after his arrest, Petrov remained in the hospital and had metal rods and plates inserted into his arms.

Santamaria’s description of the incident closely mirrors that of Wieber, “As Deputy Wieber stood up, Petrov started to get up. Fearing that Petrov was going to assault Deputy Wieber, I removed my collapsible baton. I struck Petrov several times on his upper left arm to gain his compliance.” The description concludes, “As the Deputies arrived I was so fatigued I stepped away and let them secure Petrov. After the encounter I was exhausted and dizzy. I felt as if I were going to vomit from overexerting myself during the struggle with Petrov. As a result of the altercation I sustained an injury to my left exterior bicep.”

Wieber describes his own physical condition using nearly the same language as Santamaria, “I was physically exhausted and began to feel dizzy from over exertion.”

As a result of injuries caused by baton blows and punches, Petrov was transported to San Francisco General Hospital and surgery was performed. In his report, Darrin Shelton stated that Petrov was spitting blood, so he stepped on Petrov’s left shoulder blade to prevent him from spitting blood on any of the deputies. Shelton observed that Petrov had broken fingers on his left hand and head and facial lacerations. Robert Griffith noted, “Petrov appeared to have been bleeding from his head.”

Two of the other officers noted Petrov’s driving skills in their reports. Santamaria stated, “I noticed Petrov displaying driving skills and techniques that area [sic] taught to us in the police academy and during in-service training.” Taylor reported “As I observed the suspect’s vehicle during the pursuit, I was struck by his skillful driving and what I could only speculate was a level of extreme confidence and/or desperation…I believe the suspect was likely a sophisticated threat.”

None of the 11 deputies involved remembered to activate their Vievu body cameras:

I checked with Deputies Miller, Osborne, Griffith, Sterling, Petrini, Shelton, Malizia, Nguyen, Cota, Wieber and SantaMaria. I also checked with Sergeant Adams and Sergeant Taylor. None of these individuals had activated their Vie-Vu cameras during the incident.

Neither Wieber nor Santamaria noted any injuries to Petrov in their incident reports.

On February 12, 2016, the Contra Costa Times reported that the Alameda County District Attorney said that Petrov would not be charged.

Incident reports (Source documents):

Subsequent news coverage:
Document shows Alameda Co. Sheriff’s report on beating, KTVU
Alameda County sheriff’s deputies detail what led to chase, beating, Contra Costa Times
Adachi Accuses Deputies Allegedly Involved In Brutal Suspect Beating Of Cover Up, CBS SF
Deputies in SF beating video say they feared for their safety, SFGate
Public Defender: Deputies Involved in Beating Lied; Must Be Charged, SF Weekly
S.F. Public Defender: Alameda Deputies’ Reports on Violent S.F. Arrest a ‘Legal Fiction’

Edited to add: On May 10, 2016, Luis Santamaria and Paul Wieber were charged with assault under color of authority, battery with serious bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon.

News coverage of the charges:
Alameda County Deputies Face Criminal Charges in Suspect’s Beating, KQED
California deputies charged in beating captured on video, CBS News

Jan 242015
 

From Reuters:

“Reuters interviewed 25 African American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired and 10 of whom are still serving. All but one said that, when off duty and out of uniform, they had been victims of racial profiling, which refers to using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed a crime.

The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.”

Read the story

 

 Posted by at 6:40 pm